Tibetan monk sentenced to 12 years for ‘inciting separatism’

Tsangyang Gyatso

Tsangyang Gyatso

A senior Tibetan monk who was the chief chant master/presiding priest (Tib: umze) at his monastery has been given 12 years sentence in Sog (Ch: Suo) County in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region.

Tsangyang Gyatso, the former umze of Drilda Monastery, located at Trido Township in Sog County, was sentenced early this month on charges that he “contacted outsiders” and “incited other monks to protest against the Chinese government”, according to information received by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

“We learned today [27 October] from our source that it’s been 26 days since Tsangyang Gyatso was sentenced, a source with contacts in Tibet told TCHRD. [Read more...]

Two Tibetan men released after serving prison for 2008 protests

Local Tibetans welcome Woeden in his hometown after his release.

Local Tibetans welcome Woeden in his hometown after his release.

Two Tibetan men, Woeden and Lobsang Gyatso, were released after serving prison for their participation in 2008 uprising in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, according to information received by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

In March 2008, a series of protests rocked many parts of the Tibetan plateau with a large chunk of protests concentrated in Ngaba area. Among them was A’khyam Township located in the lower part of Ngaba County (Tib: Ngamey), where local Tibetans staged a major protest on 22 March 2008.

Woeden and Lobsang Gyatso, both of whom belonged to A’khyam Township, took part in the protest and were detained the same day by local police. Both men were sentenced on 24 June 2008 by the Intermediate People’s Court in Barkham, capital of Ngaba Prefecture, and imprisoned at Mianyang Prison, located in Wujia Township in Mianyang Prefecture near Chengdu.  [Read more...]

Tibetan activist writer released after four years in prison

“I hate lies and intrigues. The purpose of my life is to secure truth and justice”

– Gyitsang Takmig

Activist writer Gyitsang Takmig in his prison uniform in an undated photo. [Credit: Tibet Times]

Activist writer Gyitsang Takmig in his prison uniform in an undated photo. [Credit: Tibet Times]

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) welcomes the release of Tibetan activist writer Kelsang Tsultrim aka Gyitsang Takmig who was unjustly sentenced to four years in prison for engaging in ‘separatist’ activities in 2011.

TCHRD believes that the activist writer was punished for his peaceful resistance to destructive Chinese policies. His prison sentence represents yet another attempt at silencing individual Tibetans who speak truth to power and demand accountability from the Chinese government over its policy failure in Tibet. [Read more...]

Tibetan businessman detained incommunicado after staging lone protest in Kardze

Passang Wangdu has been detained incommunicado following his lone protest.

Passang Wangchuk has been detained incommunicado following his lone protest.

A Tibetan businessman has been detained incommunicado for staging a lone protest in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) County in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Sichuan Province), according to information received by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

Passang Wanghuk aka Ngodrug, was arrested on 4 October 2014 following his protest against the Chinese government at the main market in Kardze County.

“In front of a huge assembled crowd at the main market in Kardze [County], Passang Wangchuk staged a protest against the Chinese government at around 10.50 am Saturday, 4 October 2014,” a source told TCHRD.

Passang Wangchuk was holding a white banner, emblazoned with slogans demanding human rights, freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. [Read more...]

TCHRD highlights Tibetan human rights issues at UN

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Tsering Tsomo addresses a protest rally in front the UN to focus attention on the recent self-immolation of Lhamo Tashi.

The director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), Ms. Tsering Tsomo, attended the 27th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) at the United Nations in Geneva from 14 to 24 September 2014, to draw the Council’s attention to the pressing human rights issues inside Tibet. On the sidelines of the session, Ms. Tsomo met and briefed various UN Special Procedures mandate holders, diplomats and NGO representatives on the current situation in Tibet and strongly appealed for their support.

In addition to delivering an oral statement (a video of the statement is available here starting at 49:27) on behalf of the Society for Threatened Peoples at the HRC session, Ms. Tsomo held an hour-long briefing for assistants to seven UN Special Procedure mandate holders. On 23 September 2014, Ms. Tsomo met with assistants to Special Rapporteur on religious freedom or belief; Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion; Special Rapporteur on Torture; Special Rapporteur on right to education; Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

[Read more...]

Two Tibetans receive harsh prison sentences for online anti-fur campaign

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Two Tibetans in Tibet Autonomous Region were sentenced to five and seven years in prison for pictures they shared on WeChat

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) translated a copy (below) of the verdict of Jamyang Wangtso, a 32-year old monk and Namgyal Wangchuk, a 43-year old monk, both from Wuran Village. The verdict was translated from a Chinese government website and can be accessed here.

Due to the difficulty of getting information out of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), not much is known about the circumstance of Jamyang Wangtso and Namgyal Wangchuk’s case beyond what is in the verdict. They received long prison sentences for adding text to a photo that they shared with 15 people on WeChat, a popular instant messaging service. The photo was of two people wearing fur chupas. The additional text was designed to shame the people in the photos.

The number of Tibetans wearing animal fur chupas has greatly decreased since 2006 when Tibetans burned fur clothing to protect the endangered wildlife in Tibet after the Dalai Lama issued a public call against using animal fur and skin. The pictures were shared with other WeChat groups and sparked the “2. 02 Incident.” There is no record in either English or Chinese of what happened during the “2.02 Incident.” [Read more...]

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.

[Read more...]

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

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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...]