Asia

Niece of leading Tibetan priest flees China

  • In this Wednesday, July 27, 2016 photo, Nyima Lhamo, 26, wipes a tear as she talks about her uncle Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a prominent Tibetan religious leader who died in prison last year, during an interview with the Associated Press in Dharmsala, India. She arrived in the northern hill town of Dharmsala via Nepal Sunday after two weeks on the road with the help of smugglers who she paid $9,700 for the trip, leaving her aging mother and a six-year-old daughter, whom she may never see again. “It was necessary as the story of my uncle had to be told to the world. We don’t trust what China is telling us and demand a thorough investigation into his death,” she said, speaking through two translators. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

    In this Wednesday, July 27, 2016 photo, Nyima Lhamo, 26, wipes a tear as she talks about her uncle Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a prominent Tibetan religious leader who died in prison last year, during an interview with the Associated Press in Dharmsala, India. She arrived in the northern hill town of Dharmsala via Nepal Sunday after two weeks on the road with the help of smugglers who she paid $9,700 for the trip, leaving her aging mother and a six-year-old daughter, whom she may never see again. “It was necessary as the story of my uncle had to be told to the world. We don’t trust what China is telling us and demand a thorough investigation into his death,” she said, speaking through two translators. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Wednesday, July 27, 2016 photo, Nyima Lhamo, 26, speaks about her uncle Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a prominent Tibetan religious leader who died in prison last year, during an interview with the Associated Press in Dharmsala, India. The price of Lhamo’s escape was 65000 yuans (approximately 9700 USD), which she had to pay to an intermediary, but on a more personal level she had to leave her aging mother and a six-year-old daughter, whom she may never see again. “It was necessary as the story of my uncle had to be told to the world. We don’t trust what China is telling us and demand a thorough investigation into his death,” she told the Associated Press speaking through two translators. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

    In this Wednesday, July 27, 2016 photo, Nyima Lhamo, 26, speaks about her uncle Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a prominent Tibetan religious leader who died in prison last year, during an interview with the Associated Press in Dharmsala, India. The price of Lhamo’s escape was 65000 yuans (approximately 9700 USD), which she had to pay to an intermediary, but on a more personal level she had to leave her aging mother and a six-year-old daughter, whom she may never see again. “It was necessary as the story of my uncle had to be told to the world. We don’t trust what China is telling us and demand a thorough investigation into his death,” she told the Associated Press speaking through two translators. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Wednesday, July 27, 2016 photo, Nyima Lhamo, 26, poses for a photograph after an interview with the Associated Press in Dharmsala, India, where she narrated the story of her escape from Tibet. Lhamo, the niece of a prominent Tibetan religious leader, fled China and arrived in exile in northern India to reveal what her family says is the truth about his death. Her uncle Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died in prison on July 13, 2015, after attempts by several human rights groups to secure him medical parole failed. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

    In this Wednesday, July 27, 2016 photo, Nyima Lhamo, 26, poses for a photograph after an interview with the Associated Press in Dharmsala, India, where she narrated the story of her escape from Tibet. Lhamo, the niece of a prominent Tibetan religious leader, fled China and arrived in exile in northern India to reveal what her family says is the truth about his death. Her uncle Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died in prison on July 13, 2015, after attempts by several human rights groups to secure him medical parole failed. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)  (The Associated Press)

The niece of a prominent Tibetan religious leader has fled China and arrived in exile in northern India to reveal what his family says is the truth about his death.

Nyima Lhamo told the Associated Press late Wednesday that his family believes Tenzin Tulku Delek's death in a Chinese prison last year was not from a heart attack as Chinese officials said, but the result of torture.

Nyima says her uncle told her mother during prison visits that he was beaten and starved. After his death his family was allowed only a few minutes with the body but other monks told them that his nails were black and he had a deep hollow behind his head.

Nyima arrived in the northern hill town of Dharmsala via Nepal on Sunday.