Success Stories

Released – Phuntsog Nyidron

Phuntsog NyidronPhunstog Nyidron, a Tibetan Buddhist nun, had been in prison for more than 12 years. On October 14, 1989, shortly after hearing of the announcement that the Dalai Lama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Phuntsog and five other nuns from the Michungri Nunnery held a peaceful demonstration in Lhasa to protest the Chinese occupation of Tibet. They were all arrested and jailed. Phuntsog was 20 years old and severely beaten at the time of arrest.

On February 26, 2004, Phuntsog Nyidron was freed. Her release came one year before the end of her 16-year prison term. Phuntsog’s release marked a major victory: she was the last of a group of nuns known as the “Drapchi 14” to be released, a group of 14 nuns who received sentence extensions while in prison for recording a tape of freedom songs and smuggling it out of prison. On March 15, 2006, two years after her release from Drapchi Prison, Phunstog Nyidron arrived in the United States and was released to the care of the International Campaign for Tibet.


Released – Ngawang Sangdrol

Ngawang SangdrolNgawang Sangdrol, a Tibetan Buddhist nun, was detained in 1992 at age 15. She was detained and imprisoned for peacefully demonstrating against the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Her prison term spiked from an initial 3-years to a combined sentence of 23 years – a result of several sentence extensions within prison. She suffered from chronic headaches and stomach problems.

After intense pressure from people and governments around the world, she was released in October, 2002, 9 years before the end of her 21-year sentence. In April, 2003, she was released to the United States for medical treatment. She is now living in Washington, DC working as Human Rights Analyst of ICT.

For more information about Ngwang Sandrol’s remarkable story and how ICT obtained her release, please view the award winning television documentary Tibet: Beyond Fear.


Released – Takna Jigme Sangpo

Takna Jigme SangpoTakna Jigme Sangpo was detained in 1983 at age 57. Sangpo, an elderly former school teacher, was serving a 28-year sentence for “spreading and inciting counterrevolutionary propaganda,” the longest term in a Chinese prison as a political prisoner. He had been harshly treated for demonstrations and hunger strikes within prison. His combined sentence, including 13 years previously served, was 41 years. After his release on medical parole in 2002, Sangpo has spoken at various forums on the issue of Tibet and human rights in China.


Released – Ngawang Choephel

Ngawang ChoephelNgawang Choephel is a Tibetan Fulbright Scholar and graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont. He traveled to his native Tibet to make a documentary film about traditional Tibetan performing arts in 1995. After two months, he was arrested and detained. He was sentenced in 1997 to 18 years imprisonment for “espionage” and “counter-revolutionary activities.” He suffered from symptoms of hepatitis, bronchitis and pulmonary infection. Ngawang is currently living in New York City, pursuing his preservation of Tibetan culture through the arts.