Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok
Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok

TCHRD received confirmed information that Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, the Founder Abbot of Serthar Buddhist Institute died in the evening of 6 January 2004 in a hospital in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province. Khenpo was 72 years old. It is reported that he died in the military hospital “363” where he was earlier receiving medical treatment.

As per earlier information received by TCHRD, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok was to undergo heart surgery at the same hospital at 10 AM (China time) on 29 December 2003.

It has also been reported that Chinese “work team” officials, stationed at the Institute since 2000, left the Institute in the morning of 7 January 2004.

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TCHRD received confirmed information that Nyima Tsering, 65, a teacher, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment term by Gyantse Intermediate People’s Court in June 2003 on charges of “inciting the masses”.

Nyima Tsering and his accomplice, Sonam, 28, a shopkeeper, were arrested in December 2002 on alleged charges of distributing pro-independence pamphlets. Gyantse County Public Security Bureau (“PSB”) officials arrested both the men from their home when information last reached TCHRD in January 2003. In June 2003, Gyantse Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Nyima Tsering to five years’ imprisonment term and Sonam to six months’ detention. Both the men were then transferred to Shigatse Prefecture Detention Centre popularly known as Nyari Detention Centre. After few months’ detention, Sonam was released and Nyima Tsering was transferred to Drapchi Prison in Lhasa.

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TCHRD has learned through reliable sources the demise of Nyima Drakpa, 29, in his home on 1 October 2003. Nyima Drakpa, who was serving nine years’ imprisonment sentence, was released in early September 2003 on medical parole. At the time of his release from the prison, Drakpa was reportedly in severe health complications. Drakpa was arrested in May 2000 and subsequently sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment on charges of “endangering state security” and “incitement against the masses”.

In late 1999, Drakpa pasted pro-independence posters on the gates of a Memorial Garden in Tawu County, Kardze Tibet Autonomous Prefecture (“TAP”), Sichuan. The posters contained slogans such as “Free Tibet”, “Tibetans in Tibet have no freedom”, “Tibet is not a part of China”, was signed at the end with his name. The County Public Security Bureau (“PSB”) officials started investigations the very next day and detained another person with the same name from Drakpa’s monastery, Nyitso Monastery.

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According to confirmed information received from Tibet, the Chinese authorities closed down Kirti Monastic School (Tib translit: kirti’ nang bstan slob gling) on 29 July 2003 and it’s patron, Soepa Nagur, (Tib : bzod pa sna sgur) dissappeared since 31 July 2003.

The students who are all monks and fall in the age group of 7-20 years old are concerned about their studies. Many have gone back to their respective homes while some have joined Kirti Monastery to pursue their studies in Buddhist philosophy.

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Luzi Tashi Phuntsok, who was serving seven years’ imprisonment sentence in Yakra Phuk Prison (Tib translit:  gyag ra phuk), was released on 28 July 2003, according to reliable information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD). On 30 July, Tashi reportedly arrived at Jamyang Choekhorling Monastery in Nyakchuka County, Karze “Tibet Autonomous Prefecture” (“TAP”), Sichuan Province.

Tashi was arbitrarily arrested on 17 April 2002 from his monastery and detained in Nyakchuka County Public Security Bureau (PSB) Detention Centre for a day. Later, he was transferred to Yakra Phuk Prison. In the end of November 2002, Karze People’s Intermediate Court sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment on alleged charges of   colluding with Trulku Tenzin Delek, a respected Buddhist teacher in eastern Tibet. On 2 December 2002, Karze Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Trulku Tenzin Delek to death with a suspension of two years for allegedly “causing bomb explosions”. Another Tibetan, Lobsang Dhondup, was executed on 26 January 2002 for the same charges.

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According to reliable information received from Tibet, Lobsang Dhargyal suddenly died Monday morning on 19 November 2002 in a Manufacturing Unit for Hydro-Electricity Power Plant, a “reform through labour” camp located in Siling Village, Machen County (Ch:Maqin xian), Golog “Tibet Autonomous Prefecture”, Qinghai Province. He was serving almost 19 years’ prison term including his earlier two and a half years’ imprisonment.

Although TCHRD is yet to receive detail information, it is almost certain that Lobsang Dhargyal’s sudden demise is due to torture and maltreatment in the forced labour camp. He is believed to have suffered brain haemorrhage at the time of death. More updates on his death shall follow upon receiving further information.

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For many years human rights monitors have reported on China’s denial of political and civil freedoms rather than focusing on economic issues. In return, China often defends its stance on civil and political issues by claiming that its citizens are more interested in economic security than in personal freedoms. With China’s ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and…

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Today the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) was denied accreditation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) at the 4th PrepCom meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

China once again used a no-action motion to block discussion on accreditation. 90 countries voted for China’s no-action motion, 37 countries against and 10 countries abstained. Interestingly, about 50 countries were absent at the time of voting. Pakistan and Cuba spoke in favour of China’s no-action motion, while the USA and Spain (on behalf of the EU) defended TCHRD.

China’s objection to TCHRD’s application was outlined in a letter addressed to the Secretary General Kofi Annan dated 14 May 2002. The Chinese Permanent Representative to the UN alleged in this letter that members of TCHRD were “separatists” and that “we value and support…participation of those NGOs which have made positive and concrete contributions in close cooperation with China.”

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China has once again objected to the accreditation of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) to a world conference. TCHRD has applied for accreditation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg in August-September, 2002. The application will be considered by the preparatory committee for the WSSD which is meeting in Bali, Indonesia, from May 27-June 7, 2002.

In a letter dated 14 May 2002 entitled “No accreditation of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy” addressed to the UN Secretary General, the Chinese Permanent Representative to the UN, has alleged that members of the TCHRD are mainly “separatists” who support the independence of Tibet. However in fact, TCHRD is an organisation solely concerned with the human rights situation in Tibet, and hence does not take any political stand on the issue of Tibet.

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Tanak Jigme Sangpo, Tibet’s longest serving political prisoner, was reportedly released on medical parole on March 31, 2002, after serving more than three decades in prison.

The 76-year-old Tanak Jigme Sangpo was first reportedly arrested in 1960 while teaching at the Lhasa Primary School on charges of “corrupting the minds of children with reactionary ideas.” In 1964 he received a second sentence, where he served three years in Sangyip Prison for making comments regarding Chinese repression of Tibetans.

Tanak Jigme was again sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment in Sangyip Prison for ‘counter-revolutionary’ propaganda in 1970. He had been caught attempting to send a document reporting Chinese atrocities to His Holiness the Dalai Lama via his niece, who was trying to flee Tibet. At the age of 53 Tanak Jigme was released from prison in 1979 and transferred to the ‘reform-through-labour’ Unit No 1 in Nyethang, 60 km west of Lhasa.

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The Tibetan Centre of Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) today screened for the first time a 10-minute documentary showing the massive destruction of Serthar Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Sichuan Province in Tibet. The documentary was made from film footage smuggled out from Tibet by ex-residents of the Institute.

Serthar Institute, also known as Larung Gar, is located in Karze “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture”, Sichuan Province. Until last year it was Tibet’s largest Buddhist Institute. Serthar’s non-sectarian academic teachings by Khenpo (abbot) Jigme Phuntsok attracted Buddhist scholars from all around the world, including mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Korea. It was also home to a large number of Tibetan monks, nuns and lay-people. Total population before the current crackdown was well over 8,000.

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