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February 24, 2021 - Updated on March 24, 2021

China: Key Tibetan news source dies from ill-treatment whilst in detention

Kunchok Jinpa, a key news source from the autonomous Chinese region of Tibet, has died of ill-treatment after having spent almost eight years in detention. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the international community to increase pressure on the Chinese regime to release all detained press freedom defenders.

Tour guide Kunchok Jinpa, 51, who was a key news source on Tibet for foreign media until his arrests in 2013, passed away on 6th February 2021 in Lhasa as a consequence of ill-treatment suffered whilst in detention. He was serving a 21-year prison sentence for “leaking state secrets” after he provided information on protests in his native region of Driru, in eastern Tibet.


The Chinese regime should be held fully accountable for the death of Kunchok Jinpa, who was detained, submitted to ill-treatment, and likely tortured for the simple act of sharing information to the media”, says Cédric Alviani, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia Bureau head, who urges the international community “to increase pressure on Beijing to release all detained press freedom defenders.”


In 2017, Liu Xiaobo, Nobel peace laureate and winner of the RSF Press Freedom Prize, and Yang Tongyandissident blogger, also died from ill-treatment whilst detained.


China ranks 177th out of 180 in the 2020 RSF World Press Freedom Index and is the world’s largest captor of journalists with at least 121 detained, often in life-threatening conditions.