On 21 April 2016, the second talk in the TCHRD’s United States Tibet Talk Series was at the International Campaign for Tibet’s office in Washington D.C. The first talk in the series was hosted with the Nanda Center for International Law at the University of Denver on 17 February.
The most recent conference, “Tibetan Political Prisoners: Rights and Responses” was a panel discussion with ICT’s Andrea Worden and Sophie Richardson from Human Rights Watch and moderated by TCHRD’s John Gaudette.
A Tibetan man committed suicide after local police detained him in Markham (Ch: Mangkang) County in Chamdo (Ch: Changdu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region.
Media reports quoting Tibetan sources reported the suicide death of Mr Tashi, 30, on 11 March 2016 at Tsangshul Detention Centre in Markham County. Tashi had been detained on an unknown date before 10 March 2016, which was the 57th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day.
Exile Tibetan sources were also quoted as saying that police officers subjected Tashi to severe beatings and torture in detention. Unable to bear the brutal torture, he killed himself on 11 March.
A Tibetan man was released last Sunday in critical condition after he spent eight years in prison for participating in a peaceful protest in 2008 in Kardze County in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.
Ngodup Phuntsok aka Ngoe-ga, 61, was released and reached his home on the night of 20 March 2016 with crippled back and legs. Unable to walk, he was brought home two days after his actual release date of 18 March. Chinese authorities gave no explanation for extending Ngodup’s release date.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) condemns the illegal and incommunicado detention of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s relatives and calls for immediate investigation into the death of Rinpoche in Chuangdong Prison near Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Information received by TCHRD confirms the arbitrary detention of Rinpoche’s sister Dolkar Lhamo, age 52, and niece Nyima Lhamo, age 25, at an undisclosed location after they submitted a petition calling for an investigation into circumstances leading to Rinpoche’s death. Both women were detained on 17 July from a restaurant in Chengdu by police officers from Lithang County, located in Tibetan province of Kham. They have not been heard or seen since then.
TCHRD believes that both relatives have been detained in connection with their sustained campaign to call for the release of Rinpoche’s remains and for calling on the Chinese authorities to launch an impartial investigation into the death of Rinpoche in prison. The petition has been widely shared and circulated by exile Tibetan organisations and submitted by TCHRD to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and relevant Special Procedures division including Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief; Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; and Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly.
Rinpoche’s relatives did not deserve arbitrary detention and the psychological and physical harm associated with it; they submitted a petition calling for an impartial investigation into the death of Rinpoche. Submitting petitions to challenge the arbitrary use of power by government agencies does not break any law, therefore, the officers who detained them must be made accountable for their unlawful actions.
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death was the result of a series of human rights violations. Even after his death, the government of People’s Republic of China (PRC) still has human rights obligations that it is legally obliged to follow. After ignoring its legal obligations and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s rights to be protected from arbitrary detention, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and arbitrary or extrajudicial killings, the PRC should investigate Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death and make the results of the investigation public.
A prominent Tibetan reincarnate lama and philanthropist Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died at the age of 65 while serving life imprisonment at a prison near Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, People’s Republic of China.
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was a highly-respected religious leader in Lithang County, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Kham. He was renowned for his active involvement in the restoration of Tibetan culture and religion, social welfare activities and his outspoken criticisms against Chinese policies. On 5 December 2002, Rinpoche and his nephew Lobsang Dhondup were sentenced to death with two years’ reprieve and death sentence respectively for masterminding a series of bomb blast incidents at Tianfu Square in Chengdu. Lobsang Dhondup was executed but Rinpoche’s suspended death sentence was commuted to life due to international pressure.
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche had been held in detention for over thirteen years since his conviction in December 2002 for a crime he never committed.
According to reliable sources inside Tibet, on 2 July 2015 three officials from the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of Lithang County had come to meet Rinpoche’s sisters Donkar Lhamo and Sonam Dekyi asking them to leave with them for Chengdu to discuss the issue of Tenzin Delek.
A Tibetan woman set herself on fire and died immediately after in Dokhog (Ch: Daogao) Township in Chone (Ch: Zhuoni) County, Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo.
Sangyal Tso, 36, a mother of two, staged the self-immolation protest at around 4 am (local time) on 27 May, in front of a Chinese government office, which is located near Choephel Shing Tashi Choekorling Monastery in Dokhog Township.
Since the incident occurred early morning, no confirmed information is available on the exact slogans Sangyal Tso shouted during her self-immolation protest. She died instantly after the protest and the police took her body to Tsoe (Ch: Hezuo) city, capital of Kanlho Prefecture.
Police also arrived at the home of Sangyal Tso’s parents who were interrogated and restrictions were placed on their movement. Sources say moments before her self-immolation, Sangyal Tso had communicated on WeChat voice messaging service at about 3.30 am, following which her parents contacted friends and relatives to find out about their daughter’s whereabouts but in vain.
A Tibetan monk who was recently released after completing a seven-year prison term is in critical condition following injuries suffered during detention and lack of medical care in prison.
Palden Thinley, 26, was released from Deyang prison on the afternoon of 17 May 2015 in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in the Tibetan province of Kham, according to information received by Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).
On the day of his release, prison authorities handed over Palden Thinley to County Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers in Kardze apparently to prevent local Tibetans from giving him a hero’s welcome. At around 3 am on 18 May 2015, the Kardze County PSB handed over Thinley to Dhato Township PSB, who in turn secretly summoned his family at night to pick him up.
Chinese authorities have detained yet another Tibetan writer who is also a monk in Ngaba area in present-day Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in Tibetan province of Amdo.
Lomik, 27, was detained around 11. 30 pm on 12 April 2015. Lomik’s detention followed the detention of another well-known Tibetan writer Shok-jang on 16 March 2015. Like Shokjang, Lomik is being held at an undisclosed location.
Today marks the 13th anniversary of Tulku Tenzin Delek’s arbitrary and unjust arrest on 7 April 2002. His arrest eventually led to life imprisonment. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is a revered Tibetan Buddhist lama from Lithang, Kardze, Kham, in present-day Sichuan Province. He is known for his campaigns to restore Tibetan culture and religion, social welfare activities and his criticism of repressive Chinese policies in Tibet. On 5 December 2002, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and his nephew were respectively sentenced to death with two years’ reprieve and death sentence. They were accused of being involved in a series of bomb attacks in Chengdu on 3 April 2003. Lobsang Dhondup was executed but Rinpoche’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment due to pressure from the world community.
“I hate lies and intrigues. The purpose of my life is to secure truth and justice”
– Gyitsang Takmig
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) welcomes the release of Tibetan activist writer Kelsang Tsultrim aka Gyitsang Takmig who was unjustly sentenced to four years in prison for engaging in ‘separatist’ activities in 2011.
TCHRD believes that the activist writer was punished for his peaceful resistance to destructive Chinese policies. His prison sentence represents yet another attempt at silencing individual Tibetans who speak truth to power and demand accountability from the Chinese government over its policy failure in Tibet.
The director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), Ms. Tsering Tsomo, attended the 27th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) at the United Nations in Geneva from 14 to 24 September 2014, to draw the Council’s attention to the pressing human rights issues inside Tibet. On the sidelines of the session, Ms. Tsomo met and briefed various UN Special Procedures mandate holders, diplomats and NGO representatives on the current situation in Tibet and strongly appealed for their support.
In addition to delivering an oral statement (a video of the statement is available here starting at 49:27) on behalf of the Society for Threatened Peoples at the HRC session, Ms. Tsomo held an hour-long briefing for assistants to seven UN Special Procedure mandate holders. On 23 September 2014, Ms. Tsomo met with assistants to Special Rapporteur on religious freedom or belief; Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion; Special Rapporteur on Torture; Special Rapporteur on right to education; Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.