Monk released after 6 years of incarceration for ‘leaking state secrets’

Ngagchung of Larung Gar Buddhist Institute of Sertha

Ngagchung of Larung Gar Buddhist Institute of Sertha

A Tibetan monk was released recently after completing a six-year sentence for sharing information about human rights abuses perpetrated by Chinese security forces during the height of 2008 Tibetan uprising in Serthar (Ch: Seda) County, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, according to information received by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

Ngagchung, who was a monk at Larung Gar Buddhist Institute prior to his imprisonment, was released on 8 July 2014 after the completion of his 6-year sentence. He is said to be in poor health and suffers from damaged vision.

No other details are available on the current status and condition of Ngagchung as local authorities in Serthar County have blocked all communication lines including phone and Internet. [Read more...]

Senior Buddhist scholar arrested as repression escalates in restive Tibetan county

Senior Tibetan Buddhist scholar Tenzin Lhundrup arrested and disappeared in May 2014.

Senior Tibetan Buddhist scholar Tenzin Lhundrup arrested and disappeared in May 2014.

A senior Tibetan monk who is an accomplished Buddhist scholar was arbitrarily arrested and disappeared in May 2014 while he was giving a lecture on the “status of Tibetan language and nationality” (Tib. mi rigs dang skad yig ki gnas bab skor) to villagers of Shagchu (Ch: Xiaqu) Town[i] in the restive Diru (Ch: Biru) County in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), in the traditional Tibetan province of Kham.

According to a reliable source, the Chinese police arrested the senior Buddhist scholar Tenzin Lhundrup on Wednesday, the Dalai Lama’s ‘soul day’, from Gom Gonsar Monastery at Lenchu Township in Diru County. It is still unknown on which Wednesday in May he was arrested. The source told TCHRD that at the time of his arrest, the senior Buddhist scholar was giving a lecture on the status of Tibetan language and nationality to the residents of Shagchu Town on the latter’s invitation.

The source added that on every Wednesday, which is celebrated in many parts of Tibet as Lhakar or the ‘soul day’ of the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Lhundrup used to give Buddhist teachings to the local Tibetans, help arbitrate disputes, and advocate vegetarianism. He is known also for zealously advocating the need to preserve Tibetan identity. All of these initiatives had earned him much respect and admiration from the local Tibetans.

Tenzin Lhundrup had been under the radar of Chinese security forces ever since he spearheaded the local opposition to Chinese mining activities at the sacred Naglha Dzamba Mountain in the area last year.[ii] “He regularly gave speeches to the local Tibetans to protect the sacred mountain from Chinese miners, and once he publicly offered scarves to the members of a local committee set up to protect the mountain as mark of respect and appreciation for their resistance against mining,” said the source. [Read more...]

TCHRD releases two new publications on ‘village democracy’ and UN human rights instruments

Cover of the special report on 'village democracy' in Tibetan

Cover of the special report on ‘village democracy’ in Tibetan

Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) proclaims that ‘all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of law.’ Although the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has signed many UN treaties and conventions, it has consistently failed to implement and abide by them, and has resorted to its domestic laws and regulations to violate the basic and legitimate rights of its citizens.

As a member of the United Nations, the PRC is under legal obligation to educate its citizens, and implement within its territorial boundary, the laws, conventions and treaties of the UN. Instead of raising popular awareness about international human rights law, more emphasis is put on repressive domestic laws promoted and propagated under forced education campaigns such as ‘legal education’ or ‘patriotic education’.

To counter this, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), Dharamsala, has come out with two new publications titled “Nyamdrel Gyaltsog Ki Trim Yig Khag” (‘A Collection of United Nations’ Conventions) and “Sota Chen Ki Mangtso” (‘Monitored Democracy’). [Read more...]

FIRST-CUT SCREENING OF ‘THROUGH FLESH AND BONES’ : TCHRD Observes International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

DVD cover of 'Through Flesh and Bones: Stories of Torture and Survival in Tibet'

DVD cover of ‘Through Flesh and Bones: Stories of Torture and Survival in Tibet’

Today, 26 June 2014, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) joins the international community in commemorating the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. On this day, we honor and support those who have suffered unjust, cruel and degrading forms of physical and mental torture.  We also express our deep concern over the use of torture against persons exercising their basic rights and freedoms.

We at TCHRD reaffirm our commitment to fulfilling the goal of the UN General Assembly Resolution 52/149 passed 12 December 1997, which proclaimed 26 June as ‘the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.’ That goal is the total eradication of torture and the effective implementation of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which entered into force on 26 June 1987.

As declared by the United Nations, torture is a crime under international law. It is a crime against humanity, ‘one of the vilest acts perpetrated by human beings on their fellow human beings,’ because torture aims to annihilate the victim’s personality, denying him or her the inherent dignity of human being. Torture strikes at the core of the physical and psychological integrity of a human being. Furthermore, the practice of torture often triggers heightened levels of human rights violations such as disappearances, extra judicial killings and genocide. [Read more...]

Tibetan writers Jangtse Donkho and Buddha released from prison

“The greatest mental suffering of Tibetans is not that there is no place to complain about their sufferings but that they are not allowed to complain.”

~ Nyen

Jangtse Donkho

Jangtse Donkho aka Nyen

Two Tibetan writers, Jangtse Donkho (pen name: Nyen/“The Wrathful”) and Buddha were released earlier today on 20 June 2014 after serving four years in Mianyang Prison in Sichuan Province.

Jangtse Donkho was arrested on 21 June 2011 from his home in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) County and accused of writing a “reactionary” essay entitled ‘What Human Rights Do We Have Over Our Bodies?’ which commented on the Chinese government’s bloody suppression of the 2008 Uprising. The essay was published in the Shar Dungri (Eastern Snow Mountain) literary journal, which was later banned. Jangtse Donkho was 33 at the time of his arrest. Before his arrest, he was working as a researcher at Kyungchu (Ch: Qiongxi) town, Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province. Donkho wrote the book Rolang (Eng: ‘Zombie’) and along with Buddha, edited a few more journals including Du Rab Kyi Nga (Eng: ‘Consciousness of the Century’).

Buddha is a writer, poet, and medical doctor whose work is regarded as influential in Tibetan society. He was detained on 26 June 2011 at the hospital where he worked in Ngaba County town. He was 34 at the time. [Read more...]

TCHRD welcomes Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen’s release from prison

Dhondup Wangchen

Dhondup Wangchen

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) is pleased to learn that Dhondup Wangchen, the courageous filmmaker of Jigdral (“Leaving Fear Behind”) has been released after serving 6 years in prison.

Dhondup Wangchen was released 5 June 2014 from a prison in Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province.

TCHRD hopes for Dhondup Wangchen’s safe return and swift reunion with his wife, Lhamo Tso, and his four children.

Dhondup Wangchen was detained by the Chinese authorities in March 2008 for shooting the 25-minute documentary film called Jigdral. The documentary is based on 35 hours of footages and 108 interviews that Dhondup Wangchen and his assistant, Golog Jigme, conducted over five months in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The film features candid conversations with ordinary Tibetans – monks, nuns, herders, students – in Tibetan areas in Qinghai Province who expressed their views on a wide range of issues such as the Dalai Lama, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and human rights conditions in Tibet. [Read more...]

‘For the values of democracy and equality’: Remembering Tiananmen Heroes

“For the values of democracy and equality, many great men and women gave up their lives. On this earth beneath the vast sky, although freedom and democracy belong to the entire humanity, they will never belong to those who oppress by practicing dictatorship.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                       ~ Tashi Rabten aka Theurang

Tiananmen protest on 4 June 1989  [Photo: theviewspaper.net]

Tiananmen protest on 4 June 1989
[Photo: theviewspaper.net]

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the 4 June 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protest in Beijing, which saw the participation of over a million Chinese students, workers and professionals. Deng Xiaoping, then the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, ordered 200,000 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers in armored tanks to suppress the non-violent protest. In the wake of the bloody crackdown, hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens died, and thousands of them injured brutally. Many also disappeared. The Tiananmen massacre revealed the true nature of the CCP and the PLA to the world: that they do not protect or work for the liberation of the Chinese people – that authoritarian regime survival is more important than human lives. [Read more...]

Plight of Tibetan ‘substitute teachers’ in Rebkong County

Tibetan 'substitute teachers' petition local government authorities on 30 April 2014. (Photo: Tibet Times)

Tibetan ‘substitute teachers’ petition local government authorities on 30 April 2014. (Photo: Tibet Times)

In the People’s Republic of China, a ‘substitute teacher’ is someone who is employed to teach in a primary or middle school but is not on the official payroll and in the vast majority of cases are “high school graduates who did not go to a university or college.[i]

In contrast, their public teacher counterparts or ‘formal teachers’[ii] are expected to have “at least a three year college education” to work as a primary school teacher, while middle school public teachers “should have four years of university education”.[iii] Furthermore, unlike their substitute teacher colleagues, public teachers are on the official payroll.

In regards to rural Tibetan regions, substitute teachers have played a fundamental role in increasing the availability of education. However, despite playing a crucial role in providing education to some of the most disadvantaged regions in Tibet, they have never been granted the same degree of benefits as their public teacher counterparts. [Read more...]

Former abbot subjected to secret detention shortly after release from prison

Lodoe Rabsel, former abbot of Karma Monastery

Lodoe Rabsel, former abbot of Karma Monastery

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) is deeply distressed to learn that Lodoe Rabsel, the former abbot of the historic Karma Monastery, was subjected to secret detention for more than a week soon after he was released on completion of his two years and 6 months prison term.

According to information received by TCHRD, Lodoe Rabsel was released on 5 May 2014 from the high-security Powo Tramo Prison (also known as Bomi Prison) located in Pome (Ch: Bomi) County in Nyingtri (Ch: Nyingchi/Linzhi) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

Upon release, authorities banned the senior monk from wearing his monastic robes, joining his monastery or resuming his religious practice. Before his imprisonment, he served as the abbot of Karma Monastery in Karma (Ch: Gama) Township in Chamdo County, Chamdo( Ch: Changdu) Prefecture, TAR. Karma Monastery, founded by the 1st Karmapa Duesum Khenpa in the 12th century, is the original monastery of the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. [Read more...]

China expands new measures to directly control Tibetan monasteries

Tsultrim Kalsang, 25, one of the brightest students and an exceptional scholar at Nyatso Zilkar Monastery was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment.

Tsultrim Kalsang, 25, one of the brightest students and an exceptional scholar at Nyatso Zilkar Monastery was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Chinese authorities in Yulshul (Ch: Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, in the Tibetan province of Kham has begun implementing new repressive measures introduced in late 2011 to directly control and manage Buddhist religious institutions in Tibet.

A source with contacts in Tibet told TCHRD that in recent months Chinese officials have been visiting Kyegudo and giving orders to Tibetan monasteries particularly those located in Trindu (Ch: Chenduo) County to replace all the monastic staff and management committee members with government and party appointees by 7 June 2014.

At Nyatso Zilkar Monastery located at Dzatoe (Ch: Zaduo) Township in Trindu County, a government appointed Monastery Management Committee (MMC) has already replaced the previous Democratic Management Committee (DMC) whose term of five years had not expired. The replacement took place earlier this month although TCHRD is unable to immediately confirm the exact date due to extreme restrictions on communication channels. The authorities accused the previous management committee of failing to maintain stability since numerous protests including self-immolation had occurred at the monastery in recent years notably in 2012 when Nyatso Zilkar monks were arbitrarily detained, beaten up, and sentenced including Tsultrim Kalsang, 25, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison. [Read more...]