TCHRD commemorates 25th birthday of Tibet’s disappeared Panchen Lama

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the XIth Panchen Lama of Tibet

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the XIth Panchen Lama of Tibet

Today marks the 25th birthday of the XIth Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, one of the most important spiritual leaders of Tibet, who disappeared when he was 6 years old.[i] This is the 19th year in succession when Tibetans have to commemorate the birthday of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima in his absence.

On 14 May 1995, His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognised Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, a son of nomadic parents, as the reincarnate Panchen Lama. A day later, the boy and his parents were disappeared from their home in Lhari County in Nagchu Prefecture in Central Tibet.[ii]  The Chinese government initially denied allegations that he had been disappeared by Chinese government agents. A few months after the disappearance, Chinese government appointed Gyaltsen Norbu as its own Panchen Lama. [Read more...]

12 Years Too Many: Release Tenzin Delek Rinpoche on medical parole

Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) observes with deep concern the 12th anniversary of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s arbitrary arrest on 7 April 2002 which eventually led to life imprisonment.

Popularly known as A-Nga Tashi, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is a highly-respected lama in Lithang County, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Kham. Rinpoche is renowned for his active involvement in the restoration of Tibetan culture and religion, social welfare activities and his bold statements about repressive Chinese policies in Tibet. On 5 December 2002, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and his nephew Lobsang Dhondup were sentenced to death with two years’ reprieve and death sentence respectively. Lobsang Dhondup was executed but Rinpoche’s suspended death sentence was commuted to life due to international pressure. [Read more...]

China sentences two Tibetan village leaders to 10 years’ imprisonment in Diru County

Trigyal, resident of Mokhyim Village was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Trigyal, resident of Mokhyim Village was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Chinese authorities have sentenced in secret two Tibetan village leaders to 10 years in prison in the restive Diru (Ch; Biru) County in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), in the Tibetan province of Kham.

Both men Ngangtak, 54, and Rigsal, 31 were sentenced on 14 January 2014 for allegedly failing to fulfill their duties as villager leaders and in the case of Ngangtak, for instigating fellow villagers against the Chinese authorities. They were village leaders in Mokhyim Village in Diru County. Ngangtak was accused of holding of a secret political meeting with 17 others at his home last year.

A source with contacts in Tibet told TCHRD that both men were detained and disappeared on 24 November 2013. Their whereabouts and condition continue to remain unknown to their family and friends. The exact charges for which they were sentenced are not known. Family members of both men were not informed about the detention and subsequent sentencing. News of their sentencing became known through unnamed sources in Diru County Public Security Bureau (PSB) office.

[Read more...]

Roar of the Snow Lion: Tibetan writer Tashi Rabten released after 4 years in prison

Tashi Rabten aka Theurang

Tashi Rabten aka Theurang

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) welcomes the release of writer Tashi Rabten, also known as Theurang, who served four years at Mianyang Prison in Sichuan Province. He was sentenced on charges of “inciting activities to split the nation” by the Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Intermediate People’s Court on 2 June 2011.

Tashi Rabten was a student at the Northwest Nationalities University in Lanzhou, Gansu Province. He went missing on 26 July 2009, when the university closed for summer vacation. His whereabouts remained unknown until 6 April 2010 when he was traced to a detention center in Ngaba’s Barkham County.

The sentencing of Tashi Rabten violated, among others, article 19 of the United Nation’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which calls for the protection of freedom of expression. China signed the ICCPR in 1998 and since then it has dragged its feet on ratifying the covenant despite numerous recommendations from UN member states during China’s first and second Universal Periodic Review in 2009 and 2013 respectively.  [Read more...]

Goshul Lobsang tortured with pain-inducing injections, leaves a defiant note after untimely death

Goshul Lobsang at his home a few weeks before his death

Goshul Lobsang at his home a few weeks before his death

New information received by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) indicates that Goshul Lobsang, who recently died of torture injuries, might have received injections designed to cause and exacerbate his pain while he was being tortured in detention. The use of torture methods to increase pain is consistent with other Chinese torture tactics. For example, the Chinese adopted Soviet torture techniques to inflict pain faster.[i]

A source who hails from the same village as Goshul Lobsang told TCHRD that Goshul Lobsang was arrested on 29 June 2010[ii] by Machu County Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers. For about 5 months he was subjected to severe torture including pain-inducing injections, and deprived of sleep and food by the interrogation officers in Machu County.

Another source told TCHRD that police officers used sharp-pointed objects such as toothpicks to repeatedly pierce and penetrate into the tops of his finger nails and cuticles.  This stabbing, applied with force and consistency, resulted in severe bleeding, swelling and pain making Goshul Lobsang unable to temporarily use his hands.  [Read more...]

TCHRD announces vacancy for the post of Research Associate

vacancy logoThe Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) announces a vacancy for the post of Research Associate. The Centre invites applicants who are passionate and dedicated towards the cause of Tibet and Tibetan people’s struggle for human rights and democracy.

Click on the link for more details TCHRD Job Vacancy Announcement

Tibetan political prisoner on ‘medical parole’ dies of torture injuries

Goshul Lobsang at his home soon after his release on 'medical parole'

Goshul Lobsang at his home soon after his release on ‘medical parole’

A Tibetan political prisoner released on ‘medical parole’ before the completion of his sentence has died after succumbing to torture injuries he suffered at the hands of prison authorities.

Goshul Lobsang, 42, died on 19 March 2014 at his home at Bhelban (Ch: Awancang) Township in Machu (Ch: Maqu) County in Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province.

“The Chinese police and prison authorities brutally tortured him in detention and in prison. He suffered death-threatening injuries as a result. Since the authorities feared that he might die in prison, they decided to release him on medical parole, before he was to complete his full sentence. He was released on 27 October 2013,” said a source with contacts in Tibet. [Read more...]

Tibetan father of two sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2009

An undated photo of Rigzin Tsering who was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2009

An undated photo of Rigzin Tsering who was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2009

Chinese authorities had sentenced three Tibetans including a father of two to varied prison terms five years ago in Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe) County in Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, according sources inside Tibet.

The sentences were passed in 2009 in the aftermath of the 2008 uprising in Tibet, but due to the security clampdown and tightened control over information, their fate has remained unknown till today.

Rigzin Tsering, 40, had been sentenced to 12 years in prison, while Nyingchak Gyal, 44, and Tashi Tsering, 33, had been sentenced to five and seven years in prison respectively.

Rigzin Tsering, who hails from Rongtsa Village in Sangchu County, was arrested in April 2008 by the Chinese security forces. He was immediately taken to Sangchu County town, where he disappeared for almost a year.

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison on 24 April 2009. He is being locked up in a prison in Tian Shui (天水市) city in Gansu Province. [Read more...]

Joint Statement of World Organisation Against Torture and TCHRD on China

Created in 1985, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is today the main coalition of international non-governmental organisations (NGO) fighting against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is the main coalition of international non-governmental organisations fighting against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Speaking for itself and TCHRD, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) read a joint statement (below) duirng the 25th session of the Human Rights Council condemning the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) failure to sign the optional protocols to the Convention Against Torture and to prevent arbitrary detention, torture, and the killing of prisoners.  The statement specifically focused on the gap between the PRC’s rhetoric and its practice. Despite the many well-documented cases, the PRC continues to deny that there is any torture, arbitrary detention, or persecution of human rights defenders.

The joint statement also mentioned the death of Cao Shunli, a human rights defender who died on 14 March 2014 after she was denied medical care while in imprisoned by the PRC. Other NGOs also tried to discuss Cao Shunli’s death and Chinese Human Rights Defenders tried to hold a minute of silence to honor Cao Shunli, who submitted documents on the PRC’s human rights progress to the Human Rights Council before her abduction in September 2013. The PRC was able to delay the session and block the minute of silence. [Read more...]

Questions abound as UNHRC adopts report on China’s Second UPR

Students for a Free Tibet activists unfurl a banner during China's second UPR in Geneva in October 2013 (EPA/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT)

Students for a Free Tibet activists unfurl a banner during China’s second UPR in Geneva in October 2013 (EPA/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT)

On 20 March 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted the Report of the Working Group on the Universal Period Review on People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) system allows every State’s human rights record to be reviewed and discussed by other States. The State under review receives recommendations from other States that it either accepts or reject. The UPR is a unique opportunity to hold States publically accountable for their human rights record. States, like China, that want to be seen as protecting human rights put a lot of emphasis on their UPR review.

“China’s strategy during the UPR was to try and equate laws that are not enforced and empty promises with progress on human rights,” said Ms. Tsering Tsomo, the executive director of TCHRD. “The deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet and the recent death of Cao Shunli on 14 March demonstrate that China’s laws and promises have failed to improve people’s lives and protect human dignity, which is the purpose of the human rights system.” [Read more...]