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 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 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…]

Anti-corruption crackdown in Tibet must focus on human rights abuses

Zhou Yongkang, China's former security czar used the prevailing anti-terror mood or 'war on terror' to engage in widespread and systematic abuse of human rights in Tibet [Photo: siweiluozi.net]

Zhou Yongkang, China’s former security czar used the prevailing anti-terror mood or ‘war on terror’ to engage in widespread and systematic abuse of human rights in Tibet
[Photo: siweiluozi.net]

As part of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, investigators are being sent to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) for disciplinary purposes. They will investigate not only official corruption, the focus of the campaign, but also officials who do not follow the central government’s policy of systematically violating human rights in Tibet. Since Xi Jinping was appointed President of the PRC, he has paired reform and repression. The repression has often been disproportionately harsher and longer lasting than the promised reforms, especially in Tibetan areas. The anti-corruption campaign is not an exception to this rule. However, if the goal of the anti-corruption campaign is to address the causes of social unrest, it is doomed to fail unless the government stops supporting the wanton violation of human rights in Tibet.

On Monday, discipline investigators were sent into the Tibet Autonomous Region [1] to investigate corruption. This is part of an escalation and expansion of the crackdown on systemic corruption within the Chinese Communist Party. After months of speculation [2], the PRC officially began [3] investigating Zhou Yongkang for corruption. Zhou Yongkang is a former member of the standing committee and the highest-ranking official to be openly investigated for a criminal offense since the Cultural Revolution. [4] Earlier this summer, the investigation of two executives of a State owned oil company [5]was also announced. [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…]

‘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…]

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…]

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…]

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) during 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…]