Human Rights in Tibet News: Monthly Update – August 2018

UN Expert Observes China’s Racial Discrimination against Tibetans

The UN Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination has expressed its concern over the “broad definitions of terrorism and vague references to extremism and unclear definition of separatism in Chinese legislation” potentially being used to “criminalize peaceful civic and religious expression and facilitate profiling” of Tibetans, Uighurs, and other ethnic and ethno-religious minorities. In its recently released observation report the committee noted that China continues practices of racial discrimination in Tibet. Read more here.

Restrictions and Heavy Police Presence forces Tibetan Pilgrim to cut-short Pilgrimage

A Tibetan pilgrim on his maiden visit to Lhasa was shocked by the restrictions and heavy police presence in Lhasa. On his arrival he was forced to hand over his personal ID to get temporary permit for stay in Lhasa and had to go through several frisk and search checkpoints. Shocked by this and suffocated by the ever-present battalions of armed Chinese police patrolling the streets, he cut short his pilgrimage and returned home in Qinghai province. Read more here.

Tibetan Language Advocate Tashi Wangchuk’s Appeal Dismissed, Sentence Upheld

Tashi Wangchuk, the Tibetan language advocate from Kyegundo County in the Kham region of Tibet, appealed against his sentencing but the appeal was rejected on August 13. Tashi Wangchuk was sentenced to five years in May 2018 on allege charges of “inciting separatism” after his attempts to promote the teaching of Tibetan in schools in Tibet. His appeal against this was dismissed and is now due to remain in prison until 2021. Read more here.

After 10 Years in Prison Tibetan Political Prisoner Released with Restrictions

Gonpo Tsetan from Utsu Chugrur village in Bhelpan, Machu county was arrested in 2008 for leading protests in March 2008 against the illegal occupation of Tibet. He was arrested and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment where he was subjected to severe interrogation and torture. He was released 2 years early but with restrictions. Read more here.

No State Benefits for Couple Holding His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Photo in Tibet

The State benefits of a needy couple Tsering and Lhamo, residents of Tsosang village in Lithang county’s Shungpa township of Western China’s Sichuan province, has been cut-off for holding the picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Chinese officials made an unannounced visit to the couple’s home during which they saw the photo. The next day, couple found themselves ineligible for government subsidies. The frequent visits and abrupt entries by the officials into their homes have caused great anxiety amongst the Tibetans. Read more here.

Tibetan Released after Six Years Imprisonment on Charges of “separatism”

Namkha Jam, 56, was released on August 10, after serving 6 years imprisonment in Chinese prison in Qinghai province on account of sharing information on self-immolation protests with outside contacts. He had worked as a teacher for 30 years in Rebgong and was arrested in 2012. Along with him three other Tibetans were sentenced- Yangkyab Gyal for a six-year term, Chagthar, for a four-year term, and Gonpo, for a three-year term. Read more here.

Tibetan Businessman Detained by China Still Missing After Five Months

Tenzin Choephel, a native of Nagchu prefecture in so-called Tibet Autonomous Region, was taken into custody in March, 2018 at Gongkar airport on a return flight from Chengdu, capital of western China’s Sichuan province. He has been missing since then. Relatives fear that he may be tortured in detention. The reasons for arbitary arrest and disapperance of Choephel remain unknown. Read more here.

Tibetan Protest Singer Freed After Serving More Than Three Years in Prison

Gonpo Tenzin, 32 and a native of Shachu village in the Septra township of Driru county in so-called Tibet Autonomous Region was freed on August 2 after serving three-and-a-half year term. He was jailed for singing songs describing the plight of Tibetans living under Beijing’s rule. Read more here. 

China Tears Down Tibetan Homes, Businesses

Authorities in Qinghai province have demolished restaurants, shops, and guesthouses owned by Tibetans for tourists near scenic Qinghai Lake, resulting in severe financial hardship for those affected. The destruction began in early July and follows similar campaigns undertaken in the Tsolho (in Chinese, Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture over recent years in the name of protecting the environment around the lake. Read more here.

Illegal in Tibet: Middle Way, Mother Tongue, and Welfare Groups

Recent report and official circular issued earlier this year labeled any expressions that support Middle Way, protect Tibetan’s mother tongue or engagements of Kyidug (Tibetan Welfare Group) as “underground forces” and “illegal”. The Chinese authorities in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) issued a circular earlier in February that ordered Tibetans to spy on each other and report on “underground forces”. Read more here.

Committee Seeks Additional Information from China on Racial Discrimination

The UN experts’ body working towards the elimination of racial discrimination worldwide has asked for additional information from the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) after reviewing the PRC’s national report to the 96th session of the body. The PRC delegation has appeared before the Committee on 10 and 13 August 2018. Read more here.

(As received from Media Coordinator, Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama)

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