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…]

A year after arrest, monk sentenced to 6 years in prison over self-immolation

Undated photo of Gedun Gyatso (Top left) and four other monks arrested last year in Bora.

Undated photo of Gedun Gyatso (Top left) and four other monks arrested last year in Bora.

A Tibetan monk has been sentenced to six years in prison over self-immolation protest, more than a year after his arrest in Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe) County in Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province.

According to reliable information received by TCHRD, Gedun Gyatso, 47,  a monk from Bora Monastery was sentenced to prison on “intentional homicide” charges by the Sangchu County People’s Court. The sentence was passed on 10 December 2013. [See photo of the announcement by the County court on Gedun Gyatso’s sentencing]  [Read more…]

Pressure mounts on Labrang Monastery after expulsion order

Chinese authorities in Gansu Province last year issued an order to expel monks who had come from Tibetan areas outside Gansu to pursue their religious studies in monasteries (including the famed Labrang Tashikyil Monastery) located in the province.

This was revealed by Samten Jigme (name changed), a former Labrang monk, in his testimony to TCHRD. Samten Jigme fled Tibet and arrived in India this month.

The order is now being implemented at Rongwo Monastery in Rebkong (Ch: Tongren) County in Malho (Ch: Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, according to Samten Jigme. (For more on Rongwo, please see here, here, and here)
[Read more…]

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…]

Six Tibetans sentenced up to 12 yrs over self-immolation

A Chinese court has given heavy prison terms to six Tibetans “for their roles in an October self-immolation case,” reported the Chinese government-owned news agency Xinhua on 31 January.

On 23 October 2012, a Tibetan farmer, Dorjee Rinchen, 58,  died after setting his body on fire in protest against Chinese rule at Gyugya market on the main street of Sangchu county, which was located near a Chinese military camp. After the self-immolation protest, his body was taken to his home village Zayu in Sangchu. This was done to protect him from getting into the hands of Chinese officers. His family members were able to conduct necessary rites and rituals after his death. Security officers even tried to stop the Labrang monks from going to Dorjee Rinchen’s home for prayers. [Read more…]

China intensifies ban on religious gatherings after third self-immolation

Chinese authorities have intensified the ban on holding religious rituals for those who die of self-immolation protests as another Tibetan, third in this month alone, set his body on fire in Bora township in Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe) County, Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province.

On 22 January, at around noon, Kunchok Kyap aka Kunbey set his body on fire in protest at the courtyard of Bora Monastery. He is believed to have died. Kyap set himself on fire when the monks at the monastery were holding their daily prayer session. In their absence, Chinese security forces took away his body to an undisclosed location.

Sources tell TCHRD that Chinese security forces who arrived at Bora after the self-immolation consist of Sangchu County Public Security Bureau officers and and a Special Police force team.

Local Tibetans from three major villages in the area including Kyap’s village, Bogtsa Gyangring (or Gyara), Datue and Chewo villages marched to the local government office and called on the authorities to release Kunchok Kyap’s body. The local officials also warned them that not a single monk or a person was allowed to go to Kyap’s home to offer prayers and condolences to his family members. [Read more…]

TCHRD calls for release of Jigme Gyatso on medical grounds

Jigme Gyatso, a 48-year-old Tibetan political prisoner from Amdo Kersul, who is serving 17 years’ prison sentence is learnt to be seriously ill following years of torture and ill-treatment in the prison since 1996, according to information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) from reliable sources.

The Centre expresses its deepest concern at the continued imprisonment of seriously ill Jigme Gyatso and urges the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to order his immediate release on compassionate health grounds. Jigme Gyatso is currently serving his sentence in Chushul Prison (Ch: Quhui), on the outskirt of Lhasa city. [Read more…]

Fresh protests in Amdo Labrang

According to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a fresh demonstration erupted this morning at around 10 AM (Beijing Time) in Labrang, Sangchu County, Kanlho “TAP” Gansu Province in the eastern part of the Tibetan area as a follow-up to yesterday’s demonstration staged by monks of Tashikyil Monastery which was later joined by thousands of Tibetans in the area.

Thousands of people including monks from Labrang Tashikyil Monastery staged a peaceful demonstration at the county government’s headquarters. The demonstration was started by monks of Labrang Tashikyil Monastery and was later joined by common citizens at a place known as Choeten Karpo (White Stupa) where people offered Sangsol Prayer (incense burning ritual). After the prayer session, people raised “pro-independence” and “Long live the Dalai Lama'” slogans while heading towards the Sangchu County Government headquarters. The People Armed Police (PAP) fired tear gas and live ammunition into the air to disperse the demonstrators. The latest report indicates that there are cases of demonstrators being arrested and beaten by PAP forces and PSB officials from the area, although the number could not be ascertained at the moment.

Communication lines in the area are known to have been cut off since this morning with little information coming out from the area. Yesterday, the police started to fire live ammunition in the air and started beating demonstrators when they neared the Sangchu County Public Security Bureau headquarters. So far there is no information on people having been arrested or detained at the moment. This is for the first time that such large scale demonstration took place in the area.

TCHRD expresses it deepest concern about the safety of the peaceful demonstrators and at the same time expresses its deepest fear and anxiety that hundreds of Tibetans who will suffer for airing their grievance and peaceful exercise of the freedom of expression, opinion and assembly. TCHRD condemns in strongest terms the Chinese security agencies use of brute force on the peaceful Tibetan demonstrators. TCHRD while welcoming the timely statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the current situation in Tibet, it appeals the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently send a UN fact finding mission to Tibet for first hand assessment of the situation