TCHRD urges UN rights commissioner to defend imprisoned Tibetan activist

Jigme Gyatso's arrest warrant issued by the Public Security Bureau in Gannan Prefecture in Gansu Province. Obtained by TCHRD in February 2012.

Jigme Gyatso’s arrest warrant issued by the Public Security Bureau in Gannan Prefecture in Gansu Province. Obtained by TCHRD in February 2012.

In his first speech as the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein declared “courage is the first human virtue… The courageous individual is he or she who has nothing to wield but common sense, reason and the law, and is prepared to forfeit future, family, friends and even life in defence of others, or to end injustice.”

On the same day that High Commissioner Al Hussein opened the 27th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva with these strong words, Radio Free Asia reported that Jigme Gyatso (aka Jigme Guri) of Labrang Monastery in Gannan (Tib: Kanlho) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province had been sentenced to five years in prison for “splittist activities.” This is the first news of Jigme Gyatso since the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) obtained a copy of Jigme Gyatso’s arrest warrant in February 2012. The arrest warrant was issued almost five months after Jigme Gyatso was arrested from his hotel room by 40 police officers.

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Torture, Tibet and the PLA Brawl

Photo Credit:Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit:Wikimedia Commons

On 24 August, 40 Chinese paramilitary trainees were hospitalized in what is being described as a brawl between the drill instructors and their high school aged trainees. Social media in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was divided over whether to blame the incident on the drill instructors or the trainees. Regardless of who is blamed for the brawl it demonstrated that even trainees and other members of the security organizations are treated brutally by security organizations. A similar incident of abuse of trainees went viral in December 2013. In that case, a video showed eight People’s Armed Police officers beating five trainees.

By the standards of how Tibetans and other ethnic minorities are treated, these events are relatively minor. Less than two weeks before the brawl, Chinese paramilitary forces fired live ammunition into a crowd of Tibetans protesting the detention of a respected village leader. Five Tibetans died after being shot, detained, denied medical care, and tortured. [Read more...]

TCHRD calls on new UN rights commissioner to make Tibet a priority

UNHCHR

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein replaced Navi Pillay as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) would like to welcome Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to the position of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which he assumed on Monday, 1 September.

High Commissioner Al Hussein comes to office when expectations for what the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) can do are high and the threat to human rights is growing. As High Commissioner Al Hussein’s predecessor, Ms. Navi Pillay, is the most powerful single voice advocating for human rights in the world and she was willing to confront politically powerful States, including China, over their human rights policies. [Read more...]

TCHRD calls for internalization of democratic culture on Tibetan Democracy Day

International Day of Democracy falls on 15 September, less than two weeks after Tibetan Democracy Day

International Day of Democracy falls on 15 September, less than two weeks after Tibetan Democracy Day (Photo: UN)

Today marks the 54th anniversary of the Tibetan Democracy Day. On this important occasion, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) would like to extend greetings to the Tibetan people living in and out of Tibet. Fifty-four years ago, on 2 September 1960, under the leadership of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the first Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies (CTPD) took their oaths of office in Dharamsala, India. This ushered in, for the first time in our history, a system of political governance based on the principles of liberal democracy. The CTPD is now known as the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.

In the decades since the first CTPD was sworn in, Tibetan democracy in exile has evolved. The exile Tibetan leadership and public became progressively more active and took many important decisions. In 1963, a constitution for future Tibet was adopted. This constitution established the rules for how the Tibetan government-in-exile would function. It was followed by the adoption of the ‘Charter for Tibetans in exile’ in 1991, which paved the way for more direct representation in the exile Tibetan government. This led to the direct election of Kalon Tripa (head of the exile Tibetan administration) in 2001, a profusion of non-governmental organizations, including TCHRD, and most significantly, the devolution of the Dalai Lama’s political authority to an elected leadership in March 2011. [Read more...]

Prominent Tibetan religious figure found in emaciated condition in prison

Tulku PhurbuTsering Rinpoche, also known as Pangri-na Rinpoche

Tulku PhurbuTsering Rinpoche, also known as Pangri-na Rinpoche

Trulku Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche (also known as Pangri-na Rinpoche), a highly revered reincarnated lama from Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, has been found recently in serious condition at a prison near Chengdu city, according to information given to TCHRD by a source from inside Tibet.

The source who provided this information to TCHRD said he saw Rinpoche by chance early this month while visiting another prisoner at Mianyang Prison, located about two hours from Chengdu city. “At first I couldn’t recognize him as he had become so weak, almost emaciated,” said the source. “It looks like he is not being treated well in prison.”

The source further told TCHRD that local Tibetans have expressed deep concern and anxiety over Rinpoche’s deteriorating health, which they believe is caused by the severe condition he is subjected to in prison. [Read more...]

TCHRD hosts seminar on Nepal, China and Tibet at JNU

Mr Jayadeva Ranade speaking at the seminar flanked by Dr Rajesh Kharat, John Gaudette and Tsering Tsomo

Mr Jayadeva Ranade speaking at the seminar flanked by Dr Rajesh Kharat, John Gaudette and Tsering Tsomo

On 22 and 23 August, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), working with the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Tibetan Students Forum, hosted a seminar on the Nepal-Tibet Relations and the Sino-Tibet Conflict. The two-day seminar gave the 100 attendees an opportunity to hear from and discuss with Indian and Tibetan government officials, academics, and students.

According to Tsering Tsomo, the executive director of TCHRD, the idea behind this seminar was to bring together students, academics, and practitioners to draw attention to some of the important, but frequently overlooked, issues regarding the Tibetan community. “The aim for the two-day seminar was to better understand and improve the situation for Tibetans in Nepal as well as to hear from emerging Tibetan scholars and their perspectives on the Sino-Tibetan conflict.” [Read more...]

Leaked internal document shows China used machine guns to kill Tibetans in March 2008 protest

Image 1 of the internal document prepared by the criminal and medical department of the Lhasa Public Security Bureau

Image 1 of the secret document prepared by the criminal and medical department of the Lhasa Public Security Bureau

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) presents an analysis of a secret Chinese document on Tibetans killed by Chinese security forces during the March 2008 protests in Lhasa. The document, obtained recently by TCHRD, was written in Chinese by the Lhasa Public Security Bureau (PSB) based on the autopsy reports prepared on 21 March 2008 by the medical department of Lhasa PSB.

TCHRD has obtained exclusive information that provides irrefutable evidence that Chinese security forces used disproportionate force including live ammunition and machine guns to kill Tibetans during the March 2008 protests in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. The document obtained by TCHRD contains the list of the names of Tibetans killed by Chinese security forces and whose dead bodies were kept at Lhasa’s Xishan mortuary. The official document also consists of autopsy reports of four Tibetans. Li Wan Zhan (李文展) and Wang Zhi Xue (王志学), both heads of criminal and medical examination department of the Lhasa Public Security Bureau performed the autopsy. [Read more...]

TCHRD condemns Chinese police shooting of unarmed Tibetans in Kardze

Wangdak, the leader of Denma Shugpa Village was detained at midnight on 11 August 2014

Wangdak, the leader of Denma Shugpa Village was detained at midnight on 11 August 2014

Despite strict restriction on communication, information is coming out of Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province that Chinese paramilitary forces opened fire on unarmed Tibetan protesters on 12 August 2014. At least ten Tibetans were injured.  The injured Tibetans suffered gunshot wounds to their heads and torsos. Photographs of the injuries appeared on social media sites shortly after the shooting.

The Tibetans were protesting the detention of Wangdak, 45, a widely respected village leader, the night before. Local police officers detained Wangdak at midnight from his home in Denma Shugpa Village in Loshu (Ch: Luoxu) Township in Sershul (Ch: Shiqu) County, Kardze TAP.

Wangdak had advocated for Tibetans to be allowed to observe the Denma Horse Festival. According to a reliable source with contacts in Tibet, Wangdak argued that banning the observance of the festival was a violation of the religious freedom of Tibetans because the festival was part of Tibetan cultural and religious practice. Wangdak is also the chairman of the Denma Horse Festival Committee. [Read more...]

Former political prisoner smuggles list of fellow prisoners on escape from Tibet

Gonpo Trinley's laogai prison release order issued by Deyang Prison near Chengdu city, Sichuan Province.

Gonpo Trinley’s laogai prison release order issued by Deyang Prison near Chengdu city, Sichuan Province.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has received a list of 45 Tibetans from Sichuan Province who were arrested between 2008 and 2009. All of the prisoners on the list were held in Deyang(德阳) Prison, located in Huang Xu Town in Deyang City, Sichuan Province. The list is the latest evidence from Tibet of the harsh measures the Chinese imposed in Tibet during and after the 2008 Tibetan Uprising.

Ten out of 45 are still serving their sentence with two Tibetans serving life sentence. Pema Yeshi, a layman from Nyagri County in Kardze Prefecture initially got death sentence with two years’ reprieve, which was later commuted to life. The list shows 18 former and current prisoners who were not listed in TCHRD Political Prisoners Database. [Read more...]

TCHRD releases memoir of former Tibetan political prisoner

Cover of the memoir "Raising the Tibetan National Flag in Rebkong". Inside cover shows a photo of the author.

Cover of the memoir “Raising the Tibetan National Flag in Rebkong”. Inside cover shows a photo of the author.

TCHRD is pleased to announce the launch of a memoir of a former Tibetan political prisoner in Tibetan titled “Raising the Tibetan National Flag in Rebkong”.

The memoir, authored by Tenzin Nyima, is a personal account of his peaceful protest against the Chinese government by raising the banned Tibetan National Flag in his hometown of Rebkong in Tibetan province of Amdo and the subsequent arrest and torture he suffered at the hands of Chinese security forces.

Unable to bear the constant harassment of Chinese police after his release from prison, Tenzin Nyima escaped into exile in India. [Read more...]