Harsh sentences meted out to three Tibetan businessmen and a poet

Sonam Dharwang

Sonam Dharwang

Three Tibetan businessmen and a young poet have been given harsh prison terms in Diru (Ch: Biru) County in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Perfecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

The three businessmen identified as Sonam Dharwang, Lhanam and Tsering Lhadup, were each sentenced to eight years, while poet Tenzin Kalsang received seven years of imprisonment in May 2015, according to information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

The businessmen are natives of Kado Village in Choenyi (or Lhenchu) Township in Diru Country in the eastern Tibetan province of Kham. They were charged of ‘inciting quarrels among the public’ and ‘opposing the government’.

There is no information on where the four sentenced Tibetans are held and in what condition. The details of their trials and sentencing are not immediately available.

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‘The Art of Passive Resistance’: Second book penned by underground Tibetan writer released

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The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) released yesterday the second book written by underground Tibetan writer Dhi Lhaden, the courageous former monk and intellectual based in Amdo, Tibet.

Originally composed in Tibetan and titled Tungol Trimtug (‘Resistance Through Cooperation With Law’), it has been translated into English with a new title ‘The Art of Passive Resistance’. This is Lhaden’s second book, translated and published by TCHRD.

In this book, Dhi Lhaden explores themes such as the rule of law, freedom, peace, equality, non-violence, and looks to public figures known for their approach of peaceful resistance such as the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and George Washington.

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TCHRD calls on businesses to refrain from contributing to human rights abuses in Tibet

code of conductOn 29 June the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) will release a code of conduct for businesses operating in Tibet. The code of conduct highlights the major human rights issues in Tibet and their human rights obligations. In 35 articles divided into eight categories, the code of conduct outlines how businesses can avoid contributing to or participating in human rights abuses in Tibet.

The code of conduct does not make any new demands or place extra requirements on businesses operating in Tibet. Instead, the code of conduct draws upon existing legal standards and standards accepted and endorsed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Since their release in 2011, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights defined businesses’ human rights obligations. The Guiding Principles have been endorsed by the PRC. The code of conduct also draws heavily on the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Imports and Exports (CCCMC) Guidelines for Chinese businesses operating outside of the PRC. Even though the CCCMC Guidelines are not official government standards, they have been endorsed by the PRC and held as an example of the PRC’s commitment to corporate social responsibility.

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Crackdown widens as Chinese government detains husband of dead Tibetan self-immolator

Mother of two, Sangyal Tso, died of self-immolation protest.

Mother of two, Sangyal Tso, died of self-immolation protest.

Chinese authorities have arbitrarily detained husband of Sangyal Tso, the mother of two who died of self-immolation late last month in Dokhog (Ch: Daogao) Township in Chone (Ch: Zhuoni) County, Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo.

According to information received by TCHRD, on 10 June 2015 police detained Tadrin Wangyal, husband of Sangay Tso, along with a monk named Trinley Gyatso, a resident of Gyache village in Nyinpa Township, Chone County. The security officers who carried out the detentions gave no reasons but local Tibetan residents speculate that they have been arrested on account of the police’s suspicion that they were connected to Sangay Tso’s self-immolation.

With the detention of Tadrin Wangyal and Trinley Gyatso, the number of known Tibetans detained following Sangyal Tso’ self-immolation has grown to five including three other monks who, as TCHRD reported earlier, were detained following the self-immolation. The three monks are Tenzin Soepa, a nephew of Sangyal Tso, and two other monks, Samten Gyatso and Lobsang Tenzin. All five of them are being held at a detention center in Chone County.

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China’s white paper on human rights is significant for its omissions

Photo credit: eureporter.co

Photo credit: eureporter.co

On 8 June 2015, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) released a white paper on its human rights record. Consistent with the previous 11 white papers on human rights, the most recent white paper attempts to hide the PRC’s human rights violations. Previous White Papers have argued that the PRC deserves exceptions from universally accepted human rights. This exception is claimed by adding “Chinese characteristics” to universally accepted values. Most often, Chinese characteristics involve emphasizing the rights of communities at the expense of the individual. Because human rights are needed to protect the most vulnerable, excusing the suffering of a few individuals for the “greater good” cannot be justified.

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TCHRD participates in conference on Responsibility to Protect

R2P logoLast week the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) participated in a conference on the Responsibility to Protect in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The two-day conference evaluated the Responsibility to Protect ten years after it was adopted as part of the 2005 World Outcome Document.

The 2005 World Outcome Document said that the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) rests on three pillars. First, each State has primary obligation to prevent the four atrocity crimes—genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. Second, the international community has a responsibility to assist States in preventing atrocity crimes. Third, if a State is manifestly failing to prevent or stop atrocity crimes the international community may intervene to prevent or stop atrocity crimes, including using force as a last resort. [Read more…]

TCHRD calls Tibet a blot on China’s international standing on visit to Basque Country

Basque Parliament

At TCHRD’s presentation before the HHRR (Human Rights) Commission of the Basque Parliament. Left, Basque parliament member Andoni Iturbe; middle, President of HHRR Commission and member of Basque parliament Maribel Vaquero; and right, TCHRD executive director Tsering Tsomo

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) exposed major human rights violations committed by Chinese government in Tibet and the repressive policies that facilitate these violations during recent meetings and interactions with politicians, diplomats, academics, media and the general public in Basque Autonomous Region (Basque Country), Spain.

During a weeklong visit to Donostia/San Sebastian in Gipuzkoa Province, Basque Country, TCHRD executive director Tsering Tsomo drew attention to the repressive state of affairs in Tibet where the Chinese authorities continue to adopt a hardline approach denying basic human rights and freedoms that are taken for granted in many other countries. In her various public and private meetings, Tsomo strongly condemned China’s use of force, violence and fear to extract absolute loyalty and obedience from Tibetans to its repressive rule, and called Tibet a human rights black hole, a major blot on China’s international standing and reputation. [Read more…]

TCHRD condemns arbitrary detention of Tibetan writer Shok-jang

File photo: Shok-jang

File photo: Shok-jang

Early this month, exile Tibetan media organizations reported the detention of Tibetan writer Shok-jang aka Druk-lo in March this year. Shokjang’s detention was later confirmed when a Tibetan blogger named Jangda from Amdo shared a post on WeChat calling on the release of his writer friend: “My friend [Shok-jang] has not committed crime, bring him back.” According to information received by TCHRD, Shok-jang was arrested on 16 March 2015, days after the 56th anniversary of the 10 March Tibetan National Uprising Day of 1959. [Read more…]

TCHRD highlights human rights violations in Tibet at ongoing UNHRC session

TCHRD’s senior researcher John Gaudette along with Professor Heiner Bielefeld, Derek Brett, and Dr Ojot Miru Ojulu at the side event organised by IFOR in Geneva.

Every year the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has three regular sessions. The session in March is usually the most important. The March session is attended by top government officials and more NGOs than the other sessions. To accommodate the large number of officials and participants, the March session is one week longer than the other regular sessions.

This year the March session began on 2 March and will last until 27 March. Given the ongoing and serious human rights violations in Tibet, TCHRD took the opportunity to send two senior researchers to the UNHRC to discuss the situation in Tibet. On Friday 13 March, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) organized a side event on religious repression in East Asia. John Gaudette, a senior researcher at TCHRD, participated in the event as a panelist. The other panelists included the UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom and Belief Professor Heiner Bielefeld and Derek Brett, IFOR’s representative to the UN in Geneva. The event was moderated by Dr Ojot Miru Ojulu from the Lutheran World Federation. [Read more…]

Tibetan mother dies in self-immolation protest: Body quickly cremated for fear of seizure by police

Norchug died of self-immolation protest in Ngaba County

Norchug died of self-immolation protest in Ngaba County

A mother of three died of self-immolation protest and was cremated in rush for fear of the body’s seizure by local Chinese police in Tibet.

Norchug, 47, set herself alight in protest and died on the evening of 5 March which coincided with Chotrul Duechen (Butter Lamp Festival), one of the four Tibetan Buddhist festivals commemorating the events in the life of the Buddha, a source with contacts in Tibet informed TCHRD.

“Norchug staged the peaceful protest of self-immolation against repressive policies of the Chinese government and to call for religious and political freedoms for Tibetan people,” the source told TCHRD. [Read more…]