Tag Archives | political prisoners
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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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Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

Body of revered Tibetan lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche cremated in remote high-security prison facility

July 16, 2015

  • The body of revered Tibetan lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was cremated today (July 16) amid high security at a remote detention facility where he died in his 13th year of a life sentence. His ashes are being taken back to his home county and monastery by his sisters and other relatives, according to his relatives in exile, where prayer ceremonies are expected to be held.
  • When the authorities refused to allow the body to be returned to his family for traditional prayer ceremonies, it was negotiated for some members of his family to visit the body late last night. They were taken to a high-security detention facility in an isolated area several kilometers from Chengdu – not Chuandong Prison where they had thought he was being held. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s body, still in prison uniform, was in a bed in a cell. According to the same sources, his mouth and nails were stained black, and details of the circumstances of his death are still not clear.
  • Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s family had urged the authorities not to rush a cremation, citing a provision in Chinese law that allows families to appeal against hasty cremations of prisoners. In an appeal letter they have written to the authorities, translated in full into English below, one of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s sisters said: “2. The body of the deceased cannot be taken home. We suspect the cause of death has some connection to the Prison. Please tell us clearly, which legal article states that the body of the deceased cannot be returned home.”
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Sisters of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche temporarily detained; sit-in outside prison where revered lama died

July 15, 2015

  • The two sisters of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, the revered Tibetan lama who died on July 12, were detained for some hours today (July 15) in the prison where their brother had died yesterday after they refused to sign a document purportedly about his health condition.
  • Around a hundred Tibetans gathered outside Chuandong Prison in Chengdu, Sichuan, yesterday (July 14) to hold a peaceful sit-in calling upon the Chinese authorities to release the body of the popular monk to his family and monastery after some Tibetans were refused permission to see the body.
  • The exile Tibetan administration in Dharamsala, India, released images of Tibetans who had been wounded when police opened fire at Tibetans anguished at Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death in his home county, Nyagchuka in Sichuan (the Tibetan area of Kham): http://tibet.net/2015/07/grievous-photos-emerge-of-tibetans-injured-in-chinese-firing/
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Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

Death in prison of revered Tibetan religious leader: armed forces deployed as Tibetans express their grief

July 13, 2015

  • An influential and much-loved Tibetan lama, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, died on July 12 in his 13th year of a life sentence in prison. Armed security forces have been deployed as hundreds of Tibetans gathered today to call for his body to be returned to his monastery and community in the home area of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who was one of the most high-profile Tibetan political prisoners.
  • Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died in prison without his family being allowed access except for one visit in 13 years, despite requests for his release on medical parole being made by a number of Western governments. His relatives said that in 2013, they became aware that he was suffering from a heart condition, frequent unconsciousness and uncontrollable shaking of parts of his body. It is not known whether Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who was 64, had received any medical treatment in prison.
  • In distress at the news of his death, hundreds of Tibetans, both monks and laypeople, have been gathering today in his home area of Nyagchuka (the Tibetan area of Kham), calling for answers from the authorities about the circumstances of his death and the release of his body for traditional prayers. In response the Chinese authorities have deployed armed troops, set up police checkpoints, blocked major roads, and cut communications in the area, according to Tibetan sources in exile.
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‘The teeth of the storm’: new report documents dangers for free expression of Tibetans and resilience of a new generation

June 14, 2015

A new report by ICT documents how tightening oppression in Tibet, including a new emphasis on ‘counter-terror’ measures, has created a more dangerous political environment for Tibetans in expressing their views.

The report, ‘The teeth of the storm: Lack of freedom of expression and cultural resilience in Tibet’ details how a new generation of Tibetans is paying a high price with their lives for peaceful expression of views in a political climate in which almost any expression of Tibetan identity or culture can be termed ‘criminal.’

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “Chinese Party leaders describe Tibet as the ‘teeth of the storm’ in a ‘struggle of the ideological realm’. There are increasing dangers for Tibetans as a result of the deepening oppression, but at the same time young generation singers, artists and writers are leading a remarkable cultural resurgence, producing new songs, literature, poetry to define their identity and as a means of countering the Chinese state.”

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Call for Medical Parole for Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, on the 13th anniversary of his imprisonment

April 7, 2015

As we mark the 13th anniversary of the arrest and detention of Tibetan Buddhist leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche on April 7, 2015, a US Congressman, Jim McGovern, has asked the State Department to raise the case of his medical parole citing news reports of his ill health.

In a letter to the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Sarah Sewall, dated April 1, 2015, Representative Jim McGovern, says, “I respectfully request that you and others at the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in China make his release on Medical Parole a priority so that he might have the opportunity for medical treatment outside Tibet and China as soon as possible.”

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Two Kirti monks sentenced after solo protests calling for Dalai Lama’s return

November 13, 2014

  • Two young Kirti monks from Ngaba, eastern Tibet, have been sentenced to three and two years in prison for solo peaceful protests, according to monks in exile. Both were severely tortured on detention. Both monks demonstrated on the main street of the county town of Ngaba near the monastery, known among Tibetans as ‘Heroes (or Martyrs) Road’ because it has been the site of a number of self-immolations and protests.
  • On November 7 (2014), Kirti monk Losang Tenpa, 19, was sentenced to two years imprisonment following his peaceful protest on April 26. Another Kirti monk, 20-year old Losang Gyatso, was sentenced to three years following a similar solo protest in April in which he called for freedom and for the Dalai Lama to be allowed to return to Tibet.
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China: Obama Should Publicly Call for Individuals’ Releases

October 30, 2014

Nine Organizations Urge Tough Approach to Deteriorating Rights Environment

(New York, October 30, 2014) — In a letter released today, nine leading non-governmental organizations urge President Obama to take up the Chinese government’s crackdown on civil society as a barrier to bilateral relations on his upcoming visit to China. President Obama will meet with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on November 12.

The letter urges President Obama to publicly call for the releases of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia; Uighur economist and advocate of interethnic dialogue Ilham Tohti; human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who is not free despite having been released from prison; and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist leader whose health is reportedly deteriorating after a decade in prison.

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Popular religious teacher Khenpo Kartse sentenced

October 22, 2014

Tibetan sources have reported that popular religious teacher Khenpo Kartse, who has been held in detention since December 2013, has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Radio Free Asia cited a Tibetan source as saying that his trial was held two to three months ago at a court in Chamdo (Chinese: Changdu), in the Tibet Autonomous Region. An image of Khenpo Kartse (Khenpo means abbot and Kartse is the shortened form of his name, Karma Tsewang) in a blue prison shirt over a jacket and in handcuffs, thought to be taken just after his detention, has circulated on Chinese social media (Radio Free Asia, October 17, 2014).[1] Khenpo Kartse’s Chinese lawyer has not been allowed access to him for some time.

Khenpo Kartse’s detention caused widespread distress, with hundreds of Tibetans gathering peacefully to protest his arrest at a prayer ceremony, and a rare silent vigil on his behalf outside a prison earlier this year. In a further demonstration of the strength of local feeling about the lama’s arrest, officials from his home area of Nangchen travelled to Chamdo (Chinese: Changdu) where the Khenpo is being held, to express their concerns about the innocence of Khenpo Kartse, but to no avail, according to Tibetan sources in exile in contact with people in the region.[2]

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Tibetans gather to pray for imprisoned Tibetan religious teacher

  • Images have emerged from Tibet of a gathering of Tibetans in Nyagchuka, the Tibetan area of Kham, to pray for a respected Tibetan lama, Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche, who is in his 12th year of a life sentence in prison.
  • News of the prayer ceremony follows other initiatives by local people, including the rebuilding of his residence in a monastery, and a major religious ceremony for his long life in June, which was blocked by the authorities.
  • Protests against Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche’s sentencing and prayer vigils for him have continued for years after his arrest, with Tibetans defying intense security crackdowns to express their distress. The risks that Tibetans in Kham continue to take during a time of crackdown in Tibet are indicative of the influence and popularity of Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche – among both the Tibetan community and many Chinese Buddhists – and what he represents. Before his detention in 2002 on trumped-up bombing charges, Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche founded schools for nomad children, set up elderly people’s homes, worked with local officials to protect forests and was well-known for his efforts to preserve Tibetan culture.
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China breaches the rule of law by sentencing Ilham Tohti

September 23, 2014

Washington, DC – With the decision to sentence Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti to life in prison, Beijing sends an extremist and negative message both to moderate non-Chinese who are trying to find a space within the People’s Republic of China, and to China’s foreign partners, including the United States and the European Union, which have objected to his incarceration.

Ilham Tohti was fully exercising his right to freedom of expression when sharing his views on the marginalization of Uyghurs, including on matters concerning their language and culture.

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