Tag Archives | political prisoners

Message of courage and truth from Tibetan scholar monk who was tortured and imprisoned

January 30, 2017

A remarkable statement of courage and resilience by a respected scholar monk recently released from prison is circulating online.

Labrang Jigme, a monk from Labrang in Amdo, endured torture and nearly died following several periods in prison; he was released in October after serving nearly five years and immediately hospitalized. A popular writer and intellectual, he is the only known Tibetan to record on video in Tibet an account of his own imprisonment and views on Chinese policies against the Dalai Lama in which he gave his full identity.

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ICT calls for the immediate release of Tashi Wangchuk

January 19, 2017

Tashi Wangchuk, an advocate for Tibetan language education reportedly indicted on charges of separatism earlier this month, should be released immediately and all charges against him should be dismissed. Mr. Wangchuk is currently awaiting trial in Yulshul (Chinese: Yushu) Prefecture in the Kham region of eastern Tibet (in Qinghai province). He has been detained since January 27, 2016, following the release of a New York Times video (“A Tibetan’s Journey for Justice”) profiling his attempts to request additional Tibetan language classes at schools in the Yulshul region. Chinese authorities have charged him with inciting separatism but have provided no evidence in support.

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Tibetans sentenced to long prison terms for involvement in Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday celebration

December 15, 2016

Nine Tibetans have been handed sentences ranging from five to 14 years in prison for their involvement in celebrations for the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday last year. Several of the Tibetans sentenced on December 6 in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) have been imprisoned and tortured before, linked to the protests and self-immolations that have occurred in the area since 2008. Three senior Kirti monks, including a scholar close to the completion of his Geshe degree and the manager of the medical college at the monastery, received the longest sentences of between 12 and 14 years each. Tibetans had been held incommunicado for months without family or friends knowing their whereabouts, according to two Kirti monks in Dharamsala, India.

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Respected scholar monk Labrang Jigme released from prison

October 27, 2016

A respected scholar monk known as Labrang Jigme returned home yesterday after being released two months after his five-year prison sentence expired.

Jigme Guri, a monk at Labrang monastery in Amdo, who had been previously imprisoned and severely tortured in 2008 and 2010, is well-known as a writer and intellectual who is the only known Tibetan to record on video in Tibet an account of his own imprisonment and views on Chinese policies against the Dalai Lama in which he gave his full identity. He gained tremendous popularity among Tibetans particularly for his writings and determination to bear witness. Tibetan writer Woeser writes: “Because of this, Tibetan people everywhere recognized him as a hero of their people, naming him ‘Labrang Jigme’.” His release from prison yesterday was greeted with great relief; there have been serious fears for his welfare as he was believed to have been hospitalized while in prison.

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Gangkye Drubpa Kyab

Two Tibetans, including well-known writer, detained just after release from prison

September 23, 2016

Two Tibetans, including a prominent writer, who had just been released after serving several years in prison have been detained again in the last few days, according to sources. Both Tibetans, writer Gangkye Drubpa Kyab – who wrote a book on the protests in Tibet in 2008 – and 35-year old Samdrub, are from Serthar (Chinese: Seda) in Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Kham, eastern Tibet) in Sichuan.

Prominent Tibetan writer Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, a teacher by profession, was released from prison and allowed to return home on September 16 (2016), a year before the end of his five and a half- year prison sentence. The next day, he was detained again and is back in detention, according to former political prisoner and monk Golok Jigme, who is based in Switzerland, and other Tibetan sources. Golog Jigme also reported that Samdrub was detained again on Sunday (September 18), less than a month after his release from prison after serving five years.

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Imprisoned Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk faces false ‘separatism’ charges

September 19, 2016

A Tibetan man imprisoned for his advocacy for Tibetan language depicted in a New York Times video interview still faces criminal charges, according to his lawyer, and police are pushing for a trial.

Tashi Wangchuk, 31, has been detained by police in his home area of Jyegudo (Chinese: Yushu) in Qinghai since January 27 (2016) following an interview with the New York Times on Tibetan culture and language, published as an article and video in November, 2015. He faces charges of ‘separatism’, although he has not advocated Tibetan independence, and has said that Tibet should have greater regional autonomy, especially in the issue of language, under Chinese governance. His lawyer, Liang Xiaojun said: “All he wants is to try to preserve Tibetan culture.”[1]

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NGOs Urge US Government to Press China on Human Rights

Early next week in Beijing, the U.S. and China will hold its 8th Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the last of the Obama Administration

June 2, 2016

Earlier today, in advance of the Obama Administration’s final U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue (S&ED) which will convene in Beijing June 6-8, the International Campaign for Tibet, along with nine other advocacy NGOs, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, calling on the Administration to press China publicly on a wide range of human rights issues.

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New Report Highlights High Rate of detentions of Tibetans by Chinese Government’s Suppression Campaign

May 24, 2016

The New York-based Human Rights Watch has published a new report on May 22, 2016 that says the “Chinese government’s campaign to suppress peaceful dissent in Tibetan areas has continued to produce a high rate of detentions, prosecutions, and convictions since the outbreak of widespread unrest eight years ago.”

The 86-page report, “Relentless: Detention and Prosecution of Tibetans under China’s ‘Stability Maintenance’ Campaign,” shows how changing patterns of unrest and politicized detentions, prosecutions, and convictions from 2013-2015 correlate with the latest phase of the government’s “stability maintenance” campaign – a policy that has resulted in unprecedented surveillance and control in Tibetan villages and towns.

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Golog Jigme

Written Statement of Venerable Golog Jigme to the Congressional–Executive Commission on China Hearing

April 15, 2016

“China’s Pervasive Use of Torture”
I would like to first thank the CECC, particularly Chairman Smith and Co-Chairman Rubio, for holding this important hearing today, and for inviting me to participate. As a survivor of torture inflicted by Chinese public security officers, and now as a human rights advocate living in exile in Switzerland, I believe that it is essential for the U.S. and other governments, as well as the UN and other entities, to understand what actually happens inside Chinese detention facilities from someone who has experienced it, and to understand the human rights situation in Tibet today. Not only behind bars, but beyond the prison walls, my Tibetan brothers and sisters are suffering. I urge the CECC and the U.S. Congress to continue to pay attention to the situation inside Tibet. For the future of Tibet, it is very important to break the “lockdown” that the Chinese government has imposed around the Tibetan people. As human beings, we Tibetans have the right to peacefully express our views without fear of being arrested or tortured. We have the right to freedom of movement and to freedom of religion, and China should be held accountable for denying us these basic freedoms, and subjecting us to arbitrary detention and torture when we try to exercise these basic human rights. It is my profound hope that the CECC and Congress will continue to pay attention to the suffering of Tibetans.

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Popular Tibetan blogger asserts his innocence in letter from prison

April 4, 2016

The popular Tibetan blogger and intellectual Druklo, more widely known by his pen name Shokjang, has written an eloquent and remarkable letter from detention appealing against his three-year prison sentence. The letter, which is translated in full below into English after it was circulated on Chinese social media, was handwritten in Tibetan and addressed to the Qinghai Higher People’s Court.

There was widespread dismay when Shokjang was detained by security police on March 19, 2015, and sentenced to three years in prison, with numerous netizens expressing their sadness, and Shokjang’s innocence. An intellectual, blogger and writer, Shokjang is known for his reflective and thought-provoking articles on issues of contemporary concern such as ethnic policy and settlement of nomads.[1]

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11 Members of Congress Urge Secretary Kerry to Raise Cases of Tibetan Political Prisoners with Chinese Government

April 1, 2016

On March 31, 2016, as President Barack Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Washington, D.C., 11 Members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Kerry urging him to raise the cases of three Tibetan political prisoners — Khenpo Karma Tsewang (also known as Khenpo Kartse), Lobsang Kunchok, and Thabkhe Gyatso—with the Chinese government.

The letter urged the United States “to raise their cases with the Chinese government, make every effort to obtain information about their whereabouts and health status, press for necessary medical treatment, and prioritize their release.”

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Golog Jigme

Golog Jigme, leading human rights defender, briefs European Parliament, high-level officials in Brussels

March 18, 2016

Brussels – Tibetan Buddhist monk and former political prisoner Golog Jigme testified to the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights this week about his torture and imprisonment in Tibet and the need for the EU to challenge China’s oppressive policies.

During a visit to Brussels co-organized by the Office of Tibet in Belgium and the International Campaign for Tibet, Golog Jigme also met high-level representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAS), and other senior officials including the President of the Flemish Parliament, members of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Tibet Interest Group of the European Parliament.

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8th Tibet Lobby Day brings focus on Tibet in Washington, DC

March 4, 2016

Over 100 Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters from all across the United States gathered in Washington, D.C. on February 29 and March 1 to raise the awareness of Members of Congress and staffers to the situation in Tibet and to call for stronger US support. The participants met with Members of Congress and staffers reaching more than 120 offices.

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Popular, courageous Tibetan blogger sentenced to three years in prison

February 19, 2016

The popular Tibetan blogger Druklo, known more widely by his pen name Shokjang, has been sentenced to three years in prison after being ‘disappeared’ nearly a year ago, according to Tibetan sources in exile.

Druklo (pen name: Shokjang) an intellectual, blogger and writer, is known for his reflective and thought-provoking articles on issues of contemporary concern such as ethnic policy and settlement of nomads. There was widespread dismay when he was detained by security police in Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren) on March 19 (2015), with numerous netizens expressing their sadness.

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UN-Committee against Torture underlines urgency of situation in Tibet

November 18, 2015

ICT: “Torture widespread and endemic in Tibet – China must end torture in Tibet” – Replies by China not acceptable

Geneva, November 18, 2015. The United Nations’ Committee against Torture concluded its sessions on China today, with the Chinese delegation having to reply to numerous questions raised by Committee members this week in Geneva. Committee members had reiterated their concerns with regard to the lack of judicial independence and the harassment of lawyers in China, and they criticized the lack of response from the Chinese government with regard to investigations into deaths in custody and allegations of torture, also with regard to Tibet. “The Chinese delegation largely denied the existence of issues related to torture, and even appeared to apply different standards with regards to what constitutes torture according to international law. This is inacceptable”, said Head of the UN Advocacy Team at the International Campaign for Tibet, Kai Müller today in Geneva.

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Tibetan writer released from prison after ten years

October 13, 2015

Tibetan writer Dolma Kyab was released from prison on October 8 after serving ten years and six months for ‘endangering national security’ for an unpublished book.

Dolma Kyab, who is 39, was released from Chushur (Chinese: Qushui) Prison in Lhasa on Thursday and taken back to his home town in the Tibetan area of Amdo, where he was welcomed by family and friends and draped with khatags (white blessing scarves).

Dolma Kyab, a well educated young Tibetan who did post-graduate study in Beijing and is highly respected among his peers, was arrested on March 9, 2005 in Lhasa, where he was teaching history at a middle school. He was tried in secret, and is believed to have been sentenced because of the ideas expressed on Tibet in his unpublished manuscript, written in Chinese and entitled ‘The Restless Himalayas’. A group of well-known Tibetan and Chinese writers wrote a letter calling for his release, but he served his full ten and a half year sentence prior to his release last week.

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Runggye Adak

Tibetan nomad Runggye Adak released after eight years in prison for bold protest

July 31, 2015

Runggye Adak, one of Tibet’s most well-known political prisoners, was released today (July 31) after serving his eight year prison sentence after he made a bold statement of support for the Dalai Lama in front of an audience of thousands at a horse festival in 2007.

According to reports from Tibetan exiles in contact with the region, Runggye Adak was taken straight to his home today by the authorities. Officials may have done this without informing his family in order to prevent any public celebrations of his release.

According to other sources, the Lithang Horse Festival in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi), Sichuan, has been cancelled this year as a crackdown in the area deepens following the death of revered religious leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche on July 12.

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Fears for the safety of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s sister and niece detained after his cremation: home area ‘like a military zone’

July 23, 2015

  • There are fears for the safety of the sister of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Dolkar Lhamo, and her daughter, who are still being held by police following his cremation at a remote detention facility in his 13th year of imprisonment. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a revered religious teacher convicted on false ‘bombing’ charges, was one of the most prominent Tibetan political prisoners, and a number of governments urged the Chinese authorities to grant him medical parole.
  • Police acting on orders of higher authorities have seized the ashes of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche from Tibetan lamas who were carrying them back to his home monastery in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) after his cremation at a high-security detention facility where he apparently died.
  • There is a deepening crackdown in Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s home area, with the deployment of increased numbers of troops.
  • The hardline position being taken by the Communist Party authorities is evident in a state media article published in China Daily on July 20 (2015) entitled ‘Separatist leader’s death not worthy of lament’. After a week’s delay, the Chinese authorities announced that the cause of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death was ‘sudden cardiac death’, according to a statement issued by Xinhua on July 18, 2015.
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