Beliefnet
Beijing--(AP) One of Tibet's Buddhist "singing nuns," a group of women punished for recording pro-independence songs in prison, has been released after serving 10 years on subversion charges, a foreign monitoring group said Thursday.

Ngawang Choezom was freed June 21 from Drapchi Prison in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, according to the London-based Tibet Information Network. An official of the prison, contacted by telephone, said he didn't know whether Ngawang Choezom had been an inmate there. The official would give only his surname, Zhang.

Ngawang Choezom was detained in 1992 at age 22 for protesting Chinese rule in Tibet and sentenced to five years in prison, the Information Network said. In 1993, she and 13 other imprisoned nuns were punished after they secretly recorded songs about Tibetan independence, the group said. Ngawang Choezom's sentence was increased to 11 years.

After protests at the prison in 1998, Ngawang Choezom was "severely beaten during interrogations and then placed ... in solitary confinement," the Tibet Information Network said. The group said she was released nine months before the end of her sentence, though the reason was unclear. Three other "singing nuns" were freed earlier this year.

Chinese troops entered Tibet in 1951, and the government in Beijing claims the region has been part of Chinese territory for centuries. The Dalai Lama, Tibet's supreme leader, fled to India after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

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