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Human Rights Update 1997

The risk of returning to Tibet

The flight across the Himalayas to escape the repressions of Chinese-occupation in Tibet is not the only risk Tibetan refugees face. Those who, after spending some time living abroad, choose to return to their homeland, may find themselves accused of illicit “espionage activities for western forces and the Dalai clique”. Such was the case for Ngawang Choephel, serving 18 years in Drapchi today for entering Tibet to do research on Tibetan music. One of his prison mates has a similar story: Ngawang Jungney is presently serving a nine year sentence in Drapchi for “being a spy for the Tibetan Government-in-Exile” …

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Destruction of Tibet’s forests

Tibet is China’s largest source of timber, with 7.6 million hectares of forests. Forest production accounts for 14 percent of the region’s gross domestic product. Tsawa Pashoe, Zogon, Markham, Chamdo, Kongpo, Dromo, Nangchen, and Bathang are only some of the mentioned areas in Tibet where major deforestation has been reported by recently arrived Tibetan refugees in India. Sonam Tashi from Derge village in Kham says that the Chinese are cutting down trees as fast as they can build the roads to transport them to China. Sonam reports that Kongpo, a lush forest area in south-east Tibet (425 km east of …

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Profile: The sacrifices of a man and his family

Namgyal Tashi is currently serving 8 years in prison. He has made an extraordinary number of sacrifices for the cause of Tibet. Namgyal Tashi spent his days painstakingly printing independence posters using wooden blocks and hand-crafting Tibetan flags for distribution. His family has also made more than their share of sacrifices. Namgyal Tashi’s son has also spent time in prison for independence activities and his daughter, a nun, continues to serve her staggering 18 year prison term. Namgyal’s wife died soon after her husband and son were taken away to prison by Chinese Public Security officials. Namgyal Tashi, aged 65 …

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