On the 28th anniversary of the Chinese government’s arbitrary detention and subsequent enforced disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama Jetsun Tenzin Gedhun Yeshi Trinley Phuntsok Pal Sangpo, widely recognised by his lay name Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) reiterates its call to the Chinese government to immediately and unconditionally release the Panchen Lama, his family members, and all the Tibetan political prisoners. TCHRD emphasises that without ensuring the Tibetan people’s fundamental human rights, including freedom of belief and religion, Chinese authorities can never hope to win the hearts and minds of Tibetans, let alone earn any legitimacy for its repressive policies and campaigns in Tibet.
On 3 May, Gonpo Kyi shared a video condemning the unjust verdict against her brother, Dorje Tashi, stating that leaders do not follow the law while the masses are subject to punitive measures. Despite peaceful protests, such as wearing a shirt with slogan and holding a copy of the verdict, authorities detained and physically abused her. In response, Gonpo Kyi stated that she would continue to protest until justice was served. Her brother’s case has been marred with allegations of false conviction and judicial irregularities, and despite numerous appeals, he remains behind bars for false loan fraud charges. The Chinese authorities’ repeated detention and intimidation of peaceful protesters like Gonpo Kyi violate fundamental human rights.
A Tibetan teacher detained on 10 April for expressing joy at seeing the recent video of His Holiness the Dalai Lama interacting with a young Indian boy on social media has been released from detention but placed under house arrest, and his employment has been terminated. He was held incommunicado for two weeks.
Earlier this year, Chinese authorities enforced the “Model 2 education system” in Tibetan primary schools in Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, replacing all Tibetan medium education systems with Chinese medium. Under this system, all subjects except the Tibetan language are taught in Chinese, which critics argue is a means to destroy the Tibetan language and culture. The plan to introduce this system in the spring of 2020 was temporarily abandoned when Chinese authorities faced widespread criticism. Tibetan writer and public intellectual Thupten Lodoe (Sabuchey), 34, was among the prominent critics of the policy,
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has published its annual report on the human rights situation in Tibet, revealing it to be the worst in recent years. The Chinese government’s COVID-19 measures have caused great distress for Tibetans, with the report highlighting the expansion of involuntary mass DNA collection, online surveillance, and CCTV cameras as social control mechanisms to suppress dissent and tighten state control. Exiled Tibetan activists and dissidents with relatives in Tibet are particularly vulnerable to the PRC’s campaign of transnational repression. The report calls for concrete action to prevent and punish human rights violations and urges the international community to hold China accountable for its treatment of Tibetans.
Information received by TCHRD confirmed that Gephel, a Tibetan student from Muge Township in Zungchu (Ch: Songpan) County, Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo, was detained on the evening of 24 January from his home for displaying Buddhist flags instead of Chinese flag as the backdrop on the stage during ‘Losar’ New Year celebration show.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) welcomes the letter sent to China by four UN human rights experts urging Chinese authorities to clarify how the recent developments in Tibet regarding oppressive laws, policies and practices on education, language and religion are compatible with China’s obligations under the international human rights laws and standards.
Information obtained by at least two sources in Lhasa confirmed that on the morning of 19 December, around 10:30 am local time, Gonpo Kyi stood outside the Lhasa Intermediate People’s Court holding a placard with a slogan in Chinese: “Dorji Tashi is innocent.” In less than 5 minutes, security personnel swooped down on her even as she continued shouting slogans for her brother’s innocence. She was eventually taken behind the court building following which her condition and whereabouts remain unknown.
TCHRD calls on the Chinese authorities to put an immediate end to the zero-Covid policy in all its forms and hold government officials responsible for the avoidable death of Nangchen Tashi’s grandson. A thorough and impartial investigation must be launched into this tragedy so that similar violations and unnecessary loss of life can be prevented in the future.
On this Human Rights Day, we call on the Chinese government to immediately put an end to its inhumane and brutal ‘zero-Covid’ policy, release all persons detained for criticizing the government mismanagement of Covid measures, adopt a human rights approach to Covid control and prevention, and fulfill its treaty obligations by ensuring that the most basic of human rights such as dignity, freedom, and justice are accessible to all.
The news about Goyon’s release comes close on the heels of another major development: sentencing of six former Tibetan political prisoners, writers and public intellectuals on the trumped-up charges of “inciting separatism” and “endangering state security” in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.