Remembering the fearless ‘ghost’ Tenzin Choedrak (1981-2014)

Tenzin Choedak

Tenzin Choedak

Tenzin Choedrak, a Tibetan social activist died two days after his release from prison at the age of 34. He was serving a 15-year prison term for acting as a ringleader of the March 2008 protests in Lhasa, Tibet [1].

When he was returned to his family, Choedrak had dislocated jawbones and damaged kidneys. He was physically emaciated and vomiting blood because of a brain injury. All the bones in his feet were broken. This suggests that he may have been subjected to the falaka, or foot whipping, torture technique. The falaka involves beating the sole’s of the victim’s feet with a heavy cable or whatever else is available. It causes extreme pain up the victim’s body and the feet to swell. The technique was used in the PRC, the Middle East, and Romania.[2] [Read more…]

Former Tibetan social activist serving 15 years’ sentence dead after less than 6 years in prison

Former social activist Tenzin Choedak died while still serving his prison sentence in Lhasa.

Former social activist Tenzin Choedak died while still serving his prison sentence in Lhasa.

According to reliable information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a Tibetan political prisoner serving a 15-year prison sentence died yesterday afternoon on 5 December. He was less than six years into his prison term in Chushur Prison near Lhasa city. His death confirms criticisms from human rights groups that torture and inhumane treatment is common in Chinese prisons in Tibet.

Tenzin Choedak, also known as Tenchoe, died just two days after he was released to his family by prison authorities. He died at Mentsekhang, the traditional Tibetan medical institute in Lhasa city, hours after his family admitted him there. Tenzin Choedak had previously worked for a European NGO affiliated to the Red Cross.

[Read more…]

Diru Crackdown: Senior Tibetan Buddhist scholar beaten to death in police custody

Senior Buddhist master and scholar Ngawang Jampel

Senior Buddhist master and scholar Ngawang Jampel

China’s relentless crackdown in Diru (Ch: Biru) County in the name of Xi Jinping’s ‘mass line’ policy has claimed another Tibetan life, even as sources from Tibet continue to report on increasing number of arbitrary arrests and secret detention.

According to information received by TCHRD, a senior Tibetan Buddhist scholar known for his keen intelligence and mediation skills died while being detained in police custody. Ngawang Jampel aka Ngawang Jamyang, 45, was among the three monks from Tarmoe Monastery who were detained on 23 November 2013 while on a vacation in Lhasa. The second monk has now been identified as Kelsang Choklang (see photo) while the identity of the third monk remains unknown as he continues to be secretly detained. Kelsang Choklang’s whereabouts remain unknown.

Ngawang Jampel’s graduation certificate (see photo) shows his name in English as Ngawang Jampel but his Tibetan name is being spelled as Ngawang Jamyang.

A source with contacts in Diru told TCHRD that on 17 December 2013, less than a month after his secret detention, Buddhist scholar and master Ngawang Jampel died following which the police lost no time in handing over the body to Ngawang Jampel’s family. “It was clear that Ngawang Jampel was beaten to death while in secret detention. He was a healthy, robust man when he left his monastery to visit Lhasa,” said the source. [Read more…]

Official Chinese notification puts Nagchu Tibetans under secret surveillance

police stations

Locations of ‘convenience police stations’ in old Tibetan neighbourhood of Lhasa City as mentioned in the notification.

Days after the violent crackdown on local Tibetans in Diru County in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture, Chinese authorities in Lhasa City have issued a notification to various ‘convenience police posts’ in Lhasa and Nagchu to monitor the movement and activities of Nagchu Tibetans.

Human Rights Watch had earlier reported that by July 2012, 676 permanent “convenience police-posts” (Ch.: bian minjing wu zhan) had been set up in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). These are manned by police officers who are on duty around-the-clock.

According to the notification, police officers would use secret codes when relaying information in real time about the movement and activities of Tibetans visiting Lhasa from Nagchu. The notification mentions that police officers would use secret codes for Diru (Ch: Biru) County, Drachen (Ch: Bachen) County and Sog (Ch: Suo) County, all located in the eastern part of Nagchu Prefecture, when relaying information about individuals from these areas. For instance, the secret code for Diru County is “A”. It appears that each county in Nagchu Prefecture has been assigned a secret code for police surveillance. [Read more…]

China detains Tibetan singer for ‘politically subversive’ song

Singer Kelsang Yarphel, about 37, detained for singing "politically subversive" song at a musical concert.

Singer Kelsang Yarphel, about 37, detained for singing “politically subversive” song at a musical concert.

A well-known Tibetan singer was detained last month in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, on suspected charges of singing a “politically-subversive” song at a music concert.

According to information received by TCHRD, Kelsang Yarphel, about 37, was detained at around 14 July 2013 in Lhasa and taken to a detention centre in Chengdu city in Sichuan Province where he remains now.

Sources from Tibet said that in October and November 2012, Kelsang Yarphel and some other Tibetan musicians and singers organised a music concert called Khawei Metok. At the concert, Kelsang Yarphel performed a song titled Bhodpa Tso (Fellow Tibetans) whose lyrics were deemed ‘politically subversive’ by the Chinese authorities. The DVDs made out of the songs performed at the concert were distributed distributed widely in Tibetan areas in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. A month later, the Chinese authorities enforced a ban on the sale and distribution of the DVD many of which were confiscated. [Read more…]

Freedom at last? : Released from 25 years’ imprisonment, former longest-serving Tibetan political prisoner under surveillance

Lobsang Tenzin

Lobsang Tenzin

Tibet’s longest-serving known political prisoner, Lobsang Tenzin, was released last month after completing his 18-yr term in Chushul Prison in the outskirts of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in Tibet Autonomous Region.


Lobsang Tenzin was the longest-serving political prisoner among a new generation of Tibetans born after the 10 March Tibetan uprising in 1959. Lobsang Tenzin was arrested on 5 March 1988 during a demonstration against Chinese rule in Lhasa. He was then about 24 and a student of Tibet University (Lhasa). [Read more…]

Monk hospitalized, another has lost mental stability on release from prison

Soepa, 35, has become mentally unstable after enduring severe torture during five years' of imprisonment in the notorious Chushul Prison

Soepa, 35, has become mentally unstable after enduring severe torture during five years’ of imprisonment in the notorious Chushul Prison

Two Tibetan monks have been released after they completed their five-year prison terms in Chushul (Ch: Qushui) Prison located in the outskirts of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in Tibet Autonomous Region.

Lobsang Ngodup, 34, and Soepa, 35, were released on 10 March 2013, which was also the 54th anniversary of Tibetan national uprising day, reported Tibet Express, the exile Tibetan language newspaper last week citing local Tibetan sources.

After his release, Lobsang Ngodup is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Siling (Ch: Xining), capital of Qinghai Province. Soepa is said to have lost his mental balance, the exile newspaper reported, adding he has been behaving strangely since his release. Curiously, no injuries are visible on his body but the state of Soepa’s mental health indicates that he had endured severe torture at the hands of prison authorities in Chushul. [Read more…]

China launches crackdown on personal cellphones in Lhasa

After setting satellites dishes and broadcast equipment on fire, Chinese authorities in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, have now begun implementing a campaign to search personal cellphones owned by Tibetans, particularly those in monastic institutions.
According to information received by TCHRD, the crackdown on personal cellphones was launched on 10 March 2013, which is also the 54th anniversary of Tibetan uprising day in Lhasa. On 7 March this year, sources said a group of special team dealing with cellphone security arrived in Lhasa. Everyone in the special team from Beijing is expert on cellphone technology.

Tibetans ordered to celebrate festival or face punishment

As Tibetans in Tibet mourn the loss of lives in self-immolation protests by observing a quiet Losar (Tibetan New Year), the Chinese authorities are ordering Tibetans to celebrate the festival by announcing huge rewards, and punishments for those who disobey the order.

According to information received by TCHRD, days prior to Losar, which began 11 February, Chinese officials in Tsolho (Ch: Hainan) Prefecture, Qinghai Province, were seen visiting Tibetan villages in the area, ordering the Tibetans to celebrate the New Year.

Officials announced that villagers would be rewarded handsomely if they celebrate the New Year.  They warned that those Tibetans who did not celebrate would be deprived of financial help for farming and animal husbandry. [Read more…]

Detentions reported after Lhasa immolations

An unspecified number of Tibetans have been detained following the twin self-immolation protests in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.

Two Tibetan men, both believed to be young, staged a joint self-immolation protest near Jhokhang Temple at Barkhor (Chinese: Parkor) Street in Lhasa. Dorjee Tsetan died while Dhargye is hospitalized with burn injuries.

Chukey, the owner of the restaurant where Dhargye used to work as a cashier, was arrested along with his wife and family, according to sources. Our sources also identified some of the detained Tibetans as Dolma Kyab, Nyurgyog, Khambey, Tamdrin Kyab and Sangdrak; all of them belong to Ngaba Prefecture. [Read more…]