15/07/2020

China: Hold police accountable for excessive use of force against Tibetan protester

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Lobsang Tsultrim's holding Dalai Lama's photo during the protest with a closeup inset photo of the monk
Lobsang Tsultrim’s holding Dalai Lama’s photo during the protest with a closeup inset photo of the monk

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) strongly condemns the excessive force used against a peaceful Tibetan protester by local Chinese police in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) County in Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo.

A Tibetan monk named Lobsang Tsultrim, age unknown, was hospitalised after police subjected him to severe beatings early this week. Tsultrim, a monk from the local Kirti Monastery, was severely beaten while being detained for staging a solo protest at around 1 pm local time on 17 October in Ngaba County town. He is believed to be in critical condition.

The monk staged the solo protest in front of the Tibetan Middle School carrying a portrait of Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and shouted slogans such as, “ Freedom for Tibet” and “Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama”. He was later taken to an unknown hospital for treatment. The monk’s family and relatives have not been informed about his whereabouts or condition.

Some sources indicated that the reason for the monk’s protest was because of the heavy monitoring on the winter teaching and debates held at the local Kirti Monastery. Local authorities deployed a large number of security forces in and around the monastery. The 20-day winter teaching coincided with the opening of a new residence honouring Kirti Rinpoche, the exiled Tibetan abbot. Chinese security forces closely monitored both events.

In recent years, a growing number of monastic and lay Tibetans have staged peaceful solo protests against Chinese government with majority of the monks belonging to Kirti Monastery. All known solo protesters have been arbitrarily detained and held in incommunicado detention or imprisoned without due process of law.

TCHRD condemns the inhumane treatment of Lobsang Tsultrim and disproportionate force used to detain him. Chinese authorities must investigate the police officers responsible for beating and injuring Tsultrim who was unarmed save for carrying a portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The responsible officers must be punished and held accountable for breaking the law and endangering the life of a citizen for exercising his right to freedom of expression. The right to freedom of expression is a basic right guaranteed to all in the Chinese Constitution and enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. TCHRD calls on the Chinese authorities to disclose the whereabouts and condition of Lobsang Tsultrim and allow his family members to meet with him. Local authorities must refrain from taking him into custody without charge or subject him to incommunicado detention.