TIBETAN POLITICAL PRISONERS

handcuffs 2px 1 1Arrests and prison sentences

The Chinese government routinely detain, torture and imprison Tibetans who speak out against the Communist Party regime and its oppressive policies in Tibet. There are currently over 600 Tibetan political prisoners in Tibet, as verified by the US Congressional - Executive Commission on China political prisoner database.

In December 2012, the Chinese Supreme Court announced new charges of “intentional homicide” for those suspected of aiding or abetting self-immolation protests. To date, at least ten Tibetans have been charged with “intentional homicide”. On 31 January 2013, Lobsang Kunchok received a death sentence suspended for two years. Others have been given sentences ranging from seven to 15 years.

The introduction of “intentional homicide” charges came as Chinese authorities began to enforce collective punishments for families, villages and monasteries connected to self-immolations. These punishments included the loss of welfare aid for families, the withdrawal of development funding for villages and the threat of closure for monasteries. The use of collective punishment is contrary to international human rights law.

Since January 2013, prison sentences meted out for “political crimes” have also hardened. For example: Tibetans who have simply participated in peaceful street protests or reported on such protests have received sentences of up to four years; Lolo, a singer, was jailed for six years having released an album with ‘political’ lyrics; and, Yarphel, a monk, was imprisoned for 15 months for taking part in a funeral procession for his deceased nephew who had self-immolated.

The rights to freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly are guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The UDHR was adopted by the United Nations in 1948 and all of its subsequent member states including the People’s Republic of China. In 1998, China signed the ICCPR but has yet to ratify it. In addition, Article 35 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China guarantees citizens “freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration”.


Political prisoners released

There are also concerns for nine Tibetan political prisoners recently released from prison. All nine were released in very poor health, most likely as a result of maltreatment, torture and hard labour whilst in prison, as well as poor prison conditions. The Chinese authorities are known to release prisoners in ill-health to ensure they do not die in prison. Once released, former prisoners and their families are often subject to continued surveillance and harassment from the authorities, with many living under virtual house arrest.



POLITICAL PRISONER CASES

Free the Panchen Lama

On 17 May 1995, just three days after he was named as the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama and three weeks after his sixth birthday, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima disappeared along with his family. He was abducted by agencies of the Chinese government becoming the world's youngest political prisoner. To date there has been no independent verification of his well-being or whereabouts.

 

Free Tashi Wangchuk

Tashi Wangchuk, an advocate of Tibetan language education, has been charged with “inciting separatism” after his peaceful work was featured by The New York Times.

 

 

     

Free Druklo (Shokjang)

Tibetan writer and blogger, Shokjang, was sentenced to three years' imprisonment on 17 February. It is believed he was charged with “inciting separatism” after writing articles critical of Chinese government policies in Tibet.

 

Free Lobsang Jamyang

In 2016, Tibetan writer was jailed by the authorities in Tibet after writing articles critical of China's policies. Lomik has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison on charges of "leaking state secrets" and "engaging in separatist activities".

 

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Mother of two self-immolates in Chone

04 February 2018
Mother of two self-immolates in Chone

[5 June 2015] Sangye Tso (pictured right, also referred to as Sangyal Tso) set herself ablaze around 4am local time on 27 May in front of a government office located within Tashi...

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04 February 2018

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04 February 2018

[19 June 2015] On 18 June, the UK Parliament held its first debate on Tibet since the General Election. Though many issues were raised and questions asked of the government, the...

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04 February 2018

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04 February 2018
The Dalai Lama to headline Glastonbury!

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04 February 2018
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04 February 2018

On the eve of the 6th anniversary of the Urumqi massacre, Uyghurs and human rights activists in the UK are calling upon the Chinese government to investigate the events of...

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04 February 2018
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Tenzin Delek Rinpoche dies in Chinese prison

04 February 2018
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche dies in Chinese prison

On 12 July 2015, the Chinese authorities announced the highly revered Tibetan leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died in prison. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche had been imprisoned on false charges and was...

MP says ‘China has Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s blood on its hands’

04 February 2018
MP says ‘China has Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s blood on its hands’

[Tibet Society press release: 13 July 2015] Tibet Society is greatly saddened and outraged by the news of the death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche who died in a Chinese prison on...

Tibetans protest over death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

04 February 2018
Tibetans protest over death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

On 13 July, following the death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, over a thousand Tibetans gathered in Nyagchuka (Chinese: Yajiang) county, Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) prefecture, Kham (now incorporated into China’s Sichuan...

Lack of official information on Rinpoche’s death

04 February 2018
Lack of official information on Rinpoche’s death

Though Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death has been confirmed by Chinese officials, the exact date of the death and the circumstances are still not clear. Associated Press reported on 13 July...

Rinpoche denied visits from family

04 February 2018

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was last seen by his family during a prison visit in November 2013. This was one of only seven prison visits allowed durng his 13 years in...

Self-immolation in Tibet following Dalai Lama’s birthday

04 February 2018

[14 July 2015] On 9 July, a Tibetan monk self-immolated in a public square in eastern Tibet. Sonam Topgyal was quickly apprehended by local authorities and is believed to be in...

Update on protests in Tibet; at least 15 injured

04 February 2018
Update on protests in Tibet; at least 15 injured

Latest reports indicate at least 15 Tibetans were injured as Chinese security forces violently dispersed protesters calling for the release of the body of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. The protests took...

UK & US government statements on death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

04 February 2018

The UK government issued a statement late on 13 July via a Foreign Office spokesperson saying, “We are saddened by reports that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche has died in detention in China....

Chinese authorities cremate Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s body

04 February 2018

The Chinese authorities have cremated the body of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche against the wishes of his family. Some members of his family were allowed to attend the cremation, which was...

Sisters of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche temporarily detained

04 February 2018

According to International Campaign for Tibet, two sisters of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, were detained by the Chinese authorities after they refused to sign a document about his health condition. The...

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s ashes confiscated

04 February 2018

Following the cremation of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche on 16 July, the authorities handed over the ashes to his family. A group of four Tibetans then began the journey back to...

Sister and niece of Tulku detained

04 February 2018

The sister of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Dolkar Lhamo and her daughter, Nyima Lhamo, were detained by the Chinese authorities on 17 July in Chengdu, Sichuan province. Dolkar Lhamo, 52, had...

State media say Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death was due to heart attack

04 February 2018

A week after Tenzin Delek’s death the Chinese authorities announced that he had died from a heart attack. According to a statement issued on 18 July by the state-run news...

Sister and niece of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche released

04 February 2018
Sister and niece of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche released

The sister and niece of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche were released after two weeks of detention on July 31. Dolkar Lhamo, 52, sister of Tenzin Delek, and her daughter Nyima, 25,...

Tibetan nomad Runggye Adak released after eight year prison sentence

04 February 2018
Tibetan nomad Runggye Adak released after eight year prison sentence

Runggye Adak, one of Tibet’s most well-known political prisoners, was released from Mianyang prison on 30 July 2015 after serving an eight-year prison sentence for publicly calling for Tibetan freedom...

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04 February 2018
Chinese President calls for “anti-separatism battle” in Tibet

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for greater efforts to fight “anti-separatist” activities in Tibet as preparations are being made for the upcoming 50th anniversary of the founding of the...

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04 February 2018
Mother of five self-immolates after house demolition

A Tibetan mother of five has died following a self-immolation protest in Tibet. The protest came shortly after Chinese authorities forcibly demolished a nearby property belonging to a Tibetan. It...

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04 February 2018
Spate of arrests in Tibet as China celebrates 50th anniversary of TAR

As the Chinese government celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibetans continued to demonstrate against decades of repressive policies and the lack of human...

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04 February 2018
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Tibetans continue to publicly protest against China’s repressive policies despite tightened security and the risk of severe punishment. Following a series of protests around China’s celebration of the 50th anniversary...

Press Release: Own Goal for Liverpool Football Club as it Endorses Chinese Water Company

04 February 2018

(London) – On 24 July, Liverpool FC entered into an agreement with a Chinese company involved in resource exploitation in Tibet. Now Tibet Society, the world's oldest Tibet support group,...

Direct Action: Tibetan activist groups meet with supporters outside the Liverpool FC vs Watford match

04 February 2018
Direct Action: Tibetan activist groups meet with supporters outside the Liverpool FC vs Watford match

On 12 August, Tibet Society in collaboration with a range of other Tibetan activist groups and supporters, headed to the opening of the premier league at Watford Stadium. As supporters...

“Tibet Society has a special place in the hearts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people. We wish them the very best.”

04 February 2018
“Tibet Society has a special place in the hearts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people. We wish them the very best.”

You can read our September  2017 Update here “Tibet Society has a special place in the hearts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people. We wish them the...

APPG on Tibet – Autumn Update

04 February 2018

On 23 November 2017, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the President of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, gave a briefing and held a discussion with MPs at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster,...

Letter to the Prime Minister on Human Rights Day

04 February 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May10 Downing StreetLondonSW1A 2AA 10 December 2017 Dear Prime Minister May, Tibetan Uyghur & Chinese Solidarity UK is writing to you today on International Human Rights Day...

Press Release: Tibetan Uyghur & Chinese Solidarity UK call for renewed efforts to combat human rights violations in China

04 February 2018

[10 December 2017] On Human Rights Day, Tibetan Uyghur & Chinese Solidarity UK [1] is calling on the UK and international community to take “immediate and bold action” to address...

Press Release: President Emmanuel Macron must raise Tashi Wangchuk’s case during visit to China

04 February 2018

Tibet Society is calling on French President Emmanuel Macron to use next week’s visit to China to raise the case of Tashi Wangchuk, a young Tibetan shopkeeper who has been detained...

Sunday: Mobile Billboard Calling on Liverpool FC Owner to Drop Controversial Deal With Chinese Company, Tibet Water, to tour the city ahead of Manchester City Match

04 February 2018

Over 80,000 have demanded that Liverpool FC owner John W. Henry cancels deal with Tibet Water due to human rights abuses A campaign led by Tibet groups and international consumer...

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About Tibet House

Tibet Society is the world’s first ever Tibet support group. The Society was founded in 1959, within weeks of the flight of the Dalai Lama from Tibet following the uprising against China's occupation. Today, the organisation continues to work actively for the freedom of the Tibetan people and their right to self-determination.

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