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Profile: Tibet’s longest imprisoned political prisoners

Tibetans suspected of opposing policies of the PRC have frequently been detained as political prisoners for extraordinarily lengthy periods. Many remain in detention today, having spent the best part of their lives behind bars. We shall be profiling some of these prisoners of conscience in future Human Rights Updates, beginning in this Update with Tibet’s longest imprisoned political prisoner, Tanak Jigme Sangpo. Born 1926, Tanak Jigme Sangpo was reportedly first arrested in 1960 while teaching at Lhasa Primary School and charged with “corrupting the minds of children with reactionary ideas”. In 1964 he was sentenced to three years imprisonment in …

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Discrimination in school

The following information was provided by Jamyang Dargyal who had studied in this school for three years. Bayan County Nationality School in Amdo (Chinese: Qinghai) is a day-cum-boarding school primarily for ethnic minorities. The school admits Tibetans and Chinese Muslims. In the early 1980’s the school fees and expenses were taken on by the government and a monthly stipend of 24 yaun per student was provided. Most of the boarders in the school were Tibetan while Chinese Muslims and other Chinese stayed with their parents all of whom lived nearby. Since the Tibetan parents lived far from the school, their …

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The words of Ngawang Choephel

Last month the People’s Republic of China (PRC) officially acknowledged the detention of Ngawang Choephel, a Tibetan musician and scholar arrested by Chinese authorities in August 1995 while travelling in Tibet. Ngawang was undertaking some preliminary research for the creation of a documentary on the traditional folk music and performing arts of Tibet. According to Mr. Shao Wenguang of the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC, Ngawang Choephel is suspected of gathering “sensitive intelligence” and engaging in “illegal separatist activities” with the funding of certain unnamed Americans and at the instigation of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. It appears that Ngawang is thereby …

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