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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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As reports emerged of massive protests staged by Chinese public against the government’s zero-Covid policy, sources in Tibet informed TCHRD about the discriminatory treatment and arbitrary detention of local Tibetans in the last three months in both Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas.

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Information received by TCHRD confirms the detention of four known Tibetans, among them an elderly woman, for merely engaging in the Tibetan Buddhist practice of making financial offerings to Tibetan spiritual teachers or Lamas (‘The Superior One’ or ‘The Venerable One’).

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The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) represented by the executive director Ms Tsering Tsomo and senior program officer Ms Tenzin Dawa attended working sessions of the 51st Human Rights Council session including plenary meetings, negotiations of resolutions, side events, delivering oral statements, participating in informal meetings with partner NGOs, and exploring advocacy initiatives at the UN in Geneva.

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China’s strict enforcement of its zero-Covid policy in central parts of Tibet has so far forced five Tibetans to commit suicide. Five people who died of suicide on 23, 24 and 25 September were from Lhasa Comprehensive Protective Tariff Zone no. 2(West Lhasa), the Bayi community (southwest Norbulingka), Lanting apartment (near Tibet University), and Gakyiling neighbourhood 3 (east of Lhasa).

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