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Long-Imprisoned Tibetan Dissident Arrives in US for Medical Treatment - 2003-03-28


A U.S. based pro-Tibet group says a Tibetan political activist, who spent several years in prison, has arrived in the United States for medical treatment. The president of the Dui Hua Foundation, John Kamm, told VOA that Ngawang Sangdrol, who is also a nun, arrived in Washington late Friday. Mr. Kamm says Ngawang Sangdrol will seek treatment for severe headaches, which Chinese doctors were not able to cure. Mr. Kamm, who is based in the U.S. state of California, said he visited Ngawang Sangdrol in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, last month and was briefed on her situation. Mr. Kamm says he then went to Beijing, where he met with Chinese officials and U.S. Ambassador Clark Randt to discuss the possibility of Ngawang Sangdrol traveling to the United States for medical treatment. Ngawang Sangdrol was imprisoned as a teenager more than a decade ago for pro-independence activities. She was granted parole last October, nine years before the end of her 21-year sentence. Ngawang Sangrol was the longest-held woman Tibetan political prisoner in China. The nun's case was one of many the U.S. State Department had raised with China in a continuing human rights dialogue. While jailed for pro-independence protests, her sentence was extended for recording songs that were smuggled out of the prison, embarrassing the Chinese government. Many Tibetans, particularly nuns and monks, remain strongly loyal to exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and stage protests from time to time.

Some information for this report provided by AP.

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