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Human Rights Update 1997

Songs of freedom

Already having served nine months imprisonment for Tibetan independence activities, Sonam Gonpo was arrested again in 1996 after Chinese authorities suspected he and his musical group of propagating independence messages. Sonam Gonpo, commonly known as Sogon, was born in Tsenyi township under Ngapa prefecture now incorporated into the Chinese province of Sichuan. He studied in Ngapa County Middle School from 1983 to 1986 and for three more years in the Higher Middle School. In October 1989, Sogon became involved in a pro-independence movement and distributed leaflets during a protest reading “Long live the Tibetan Independence” and “Tibetans should hold their …

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Profile: He barely escaped execution

In April 1995, Lodroe Gyatso was awaiting his execution as a result of staging a one-man independence demonstration while in Drapchi prison. The former dance artist was saved by his fellow prisoners who were able to smuggle the news of his impending death to the international community. Lodroe Gyatso is a 37-year-old dance artist and three-times weight-lifting champion in Sok District in Nagchu county, 326 km from Lhasa. He belongs to the “TAR” Tsaronk-shang village number 3. His father, Jigme, died at the age of 87, his mother, Sonam Yeshi, is currently living in Sok District, and he has a …

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Population transfer

The influx of Chinese population into Tibet is now so great and the impact, worse. Chinese language has almost replaced our mother tongue in various places. In a place like Pae, about 300 km from Lhasa, one can not differentiate between a Chinese and a Tibetan. When I enter a restaurant there are people in Tibetan traditional costume but who speak only Chinese. The Chinese have replaced the Tibetans to such an extent that in Tibet’s remote outskirts Chinese now come to trade for hides, an occupation traditionally carried out by Tibetans. Chinese have also started to pick herbal plants, …

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