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.

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Writer among two sentenced to harsh prison terms of 10 to 13 years in Diru County

Tibetan writer Tsultrim Gyaltsen, also known as Shokdril, and his friend Yulgyal, from Diru County, Eastern Tibet, have been sentenced to thirteen and ten years of prison respectively, according to a source from inside Tibet.

They were believed to have been sentenced on 28 October 2013.

On 27 September 2013, in defiance of the Chinese government, Tibetans, including those from Mowa and Monkhyim villages, Diru County, not only refused to fly the Chinese national flags, but also threw them in the Gyalmo Ngulchu (Salween/Nu) river.

Since then, Tibetans in the area have been protesting against the Chinese government policies.

On 28 September 2013, more than a thousand Tibetans gathered and launched hunger strikes throughout the night in front of the offices of the People’s Government in Diru County.  [Read more...]

China sentences two Tibetan village leaders to 10 years’ imprisonment in Diru County

Trigyal, resident of Mokhyim Village was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Trigyal, resident of Mokhyim Village was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Chinese authorities have sentenced in secret two Tibetan village leaders to 10 years in prison in the restive Diru (Ch; Biru) County in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), in the Tibetan province of Kham.

Both men Ngangtak, 54, and Rigsal, 31 were sentenced on 14 January 2014 for allegedly failing to fulfill their duties as villager leaders and in the case of Ngangtak, for instigating fellow villagers against the Chinese authorities. They were village leaders in Mokhyim Village in Diru County. Ngangtak was accused of holding of a secret political meeting with 17 others at his home last year.

A source with contacts in Tibet told TCHRD that both men were detained and disappeared on 24 November 2013. Their whereabouts and condition continue to remain unknown to their family and friends. The exact charges for which they were sentenced are not known. Family members of both men were not informed about the detention and subsequent sentencing. News of their sentencing became known through unnamed sources in Diru County Public Security Bureau (PSB) office.

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Tibetan father of two sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2009

An undated photo of Rigzin Tsering who was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2009

An undated photo of Rigzin Tsering who was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2009

Chinese authorities had sentenced three Tibetans including a father of two to varied prison terms five years ago in Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe) County in Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, according sources inside Tibet.

The sentences were passed in 2009 in the aftermath of the 2008 uprising in Tibet, but due to the security clampdown and tightened control over information, their fate has remained unknown till today.

Rigzin Tsering, 40, had been sentenced to 12 years in prison, while Nyingchak Gyal, 44, and Tashi Tsering, 33, had been sentenced to five and seven years in prison respectively.

Rigzin Tsering, who hails from Rongtsa Village in Sangchu County, was arrested in April 2008 by the Chinese security forces. He was immediately taken to Sangchu County town, where he disappeared for almost a year.

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison on 24 April 2009. He is being locked up in a prison in Tian Shui (天水市) city in Gansu Province. [Read more...]

Repression escalates in Tibet’s Diru County: Tibetan youth beaten to death, 2 others given heavy sentences and another disappeared

Dorje Dragtsel has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Dorje Dragtsel has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

A Tibetan youth has died in police custody soon after his arrest in Diru (Ch: Biru) County in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

Konchok Dakpa, a youth from Chamram Village in Diru Township was held incommunicado for weeks since his arrest in December 2013. On 20 January 2014, his body was returned to his family who were given strict orders not to discuss the death with others. Sources with contacts in Diru said Konchok Dakpa was severely beaten and tortured during his secret detention, indicating that his death was the direct result of police torture. Local Tibetans believe that he was most likely punished for his participation in May 2013 protest against Chinese mining at the sacred Naglha Dzamba Mountain. [Read more...]

Writer among nine Tibetans sentenced to prison in Diru

Tibetan nomad Topden aka Do Ghang Gah has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Tibetan nomad Topden aka Dro Ghang Gah has been sentenced to five years in prison.

China’s ongoing crackdown in enforcing the government’s ‘mass line’ policy has resulted in the sentencing of nine Tibetans in Shagchu (Ch: Xiaqu) town in Diru (Ch: Biru) County, Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). All three identified so far have been charged of maintaining contacts with “Dalai clique” and for “engaging in activities to split the nation.”

Among the nine sentenced to varying terms is Topden, a nomad and a writer who writes under the pseudonym Dro Ghang Gah. Topden, 30, was arrested on 28 October 2013 and sentenced to five years in prison on 30 November 2013, according to information received by TCHRD. He hails from Village No. 4 in Shagchu town and has a wife, Dakar, and three young children. [Read more...]

Wonpo Monastery: China sentences three monks up to 4 years in prison

Sonam Gonpo

Sonam Gonpo, 22 , sentenced to four years in prison on unknown charges.

Three Tibetan monks detained last year from Wonpo Monastery have been sentenced to prison, with two monks receiving four years each and another receiving one year in prison. Wonpo Monastery is located in Wonpo Village in Dzamey Township of Dzachuka area in Sershul (Ch: Shiqu) County, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.

According to information received by TCHRD, three monks from Wonpo Monastery: Choedar, Sonam Gonpo and Sonam Choedar were sentenced to prison this month. They were detained incommunicado since their arrests in late 2012.

On 9 September 2013, Choedar, 47, was sentenced to one year in prison, less than a year after his detention in mid-October 2012. Choedar was detained along with two other monks:  Kyapey, 27, and Lobsang Mithrug, 25, both of whom have been released, but they have been deprived of political rights for three years. Their release was granted after family and relatives of both monks provided guarantee letters pledging not to indulge in ‘political activities’. [Read more...]

Tibetan singer secretly sentenced to five years in prison amid major crackdown in Rebkong

Tibetan singer Shawo Tashi sentenced to five years in prison

Tibetan singer Shawo Tashi sentenced to five years in prison

A Tibetan singer has been secretly sentenced to five years in prison following his arbitrary detention in November 2012 in Dowa Township in Rebkong (Ch: Tongren) County in Malho (Ch: Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province.

Shawo Tashi, 40, was charged with “distributing photographs of self-immolation protesters; writing last notes left by self-immolation protesters on these photographs; participating in protest against Chinese government and singing patriotic Tibetan songs”, according to information received by TCHRD.

Sources with contacts in Rebkong cannot immediately confirm the exact date of sentencing, however, they believe he is now being imprisoned at a prison in Siling (Ch: Xining) city, capital of Qinghai Province. [Read more...]

‘Tears of the Past’: Imprisoned Tibetan writer Gangkye Drupa Kyab in translation

Tibetan writer, teacher, and father of two, Gangkye Drupa Kyab

Imprisoned Tibetan writer, poet, teacher, and father of two, Gangkye Drupa Kyab

Gangkye Drupa Kyab is a writer, poet, teacher and a father of two who was sentenced early this month to five years and six months in prison for alleged political activities.

Gangkye Drupa Kyab was first detained on the night of 15 February 2012 by a group of about 20 Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers from his home in Serta (Ch: Seda) County. His house was raided and his wife, Wangchuk Lhamo, was given no explanation despite repeated appeals at the time of detention. Since then, for 17 months, his whereabouts remained unknown to family and friends until his sentencing on 1 August 2013.

Choenyi Woeser, an exile Tibetan journalist and a childhood friend of Drupa Kyab told TCHRD that local Tibetans consider Drupa Kyab a highly conscientious individual and teacher, having a great love and respect for Tibetan culture and language. [Read more...]