Bangri Chongtrul Rinpoche is a community leader serving a 19-year prison term for “attempting to split the country and destroy national unity.” He was born in what is now Nangchen County, Kyegudo Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province.
In 1996, he and his wife Nyima Choedron founded Gyatso orphanage in Lhasa, designed to help some of the city’s most deprived children. At its peak, the orphanage was home to 60 children and received some funding from overseas charities. The orphans were given education in Tibetan language, Chinese language, English language and mathematics. Bangri Rinpoche and Nyima Choedron ran the orphanage and were well respected for their service to the community.
The orphanage itself was declared an “illegal organization” and closed, leaving the children, aged between two months and 12 years, without a home.