Gonpo Kyi, elder sister of the imprisoned Tibetan former businessman Dorjee Tashi, was detained and beaten by Chinese police this week for continuing her protest seeking justice for her brother.

Police had threatened Gonpo with arrest during her last protest in front of the Tibet Autonomous Region Higher People’s Court in Lhasa on Dec. 19, 2022.

Fifth protest

Despite the police threat, a determined Gonpo staged her most recent protest on March 20, 2023, seeking justice for her brother, who is serving a life sentence.

Unlike her previous four protests in front of the TAR Higher People’s Court, when she was removed from the site with warnings, the police from Lhasa Middle Road police station manhandled her and forced her to the police station this time for overnight detention.

Beating in police station

During the detention, the police beat Gonpo. In a video clip obtained by the International Campaign for Tibet, Gonpo is seen lying on the floor inside the Lhasa Liberation Road police station.

In the short clip, Gonpo shows the bruises on her upper right arm from the police beating.

Video statement

In another video clip, Gonpo accuses the Chinese court in Lhasa of double standards and discrimination against Tibetans. In the video clip, she is seen wearing a white top with a slogan written in Chinese as “Tibet Autonomous Region higher people’s court’s verdict is unlawful. Dorjee Tashi is innocent.”

She argues that a Chinese businessman and his wife who were indicted for loan fraud and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment were released after serving 10 years, whereas her brother continues to be behind bars for the 15th year into his life imprisonment sentence.

Gonpo also argues that although Chinese officials tell her that her brother’s case has already been tried and the verdict cannot be reversed, the Chinese businessman was out of prison after 10 years despite the court ruling of a 15-year imprisonment term.

She also states that the cruelty and brutality done to her were due to her persistent pursuing of her two demands for justice for her brother.

In the video clip, Gonpo shows her two demands written in Chinese as firstly, to let Dorjee Tashi’s lawyer review the case file, and secondly, to ask the court to start a correction mechanism for its error.

Translation of Gonpo Kyi’s video statement

Below is a translation of Gonpo Kyi’s video statement.

“Let me introduce myself. I have spoken many times before, so you may know who I am. I have also talked about the difficulties I encountered before. I am Yak Hotel proprietor Dorje Tashi’s older sister. Both my brothers were arrested in 2008.[1] One of my brother was sentenced to six years in prison. My other brother was arrested in 2008 and sentenced in 2010. It’s been 15 years now since my other brother was also sentenced. When he was sentenced, Lobsang Dhondup was the president of the High Court, and the next president was Penpa Lhamo. His sentence was set by three men, and that was the same time when the Chinese couple[2] was tried.

“The Chinese couple was fined 53??? [inaudible] yuan They [the Chinese couple] were also sentenced to 15 years in prison but were released after 10 years. [As she speaks, she turns to the next page.][3] They were released after only 10 years of imprisonment. As for us, this is the evidence that we have paid all the debts. [As she speaks, she takes out a document][4] This is proof that we have paid all the arrears. [As she speaks, she brings the document closer to the camera] It’s been 15 years since we paid the balance, and they told me that a case that has been tried cannot be reversed.

“I said to them, ‘If the sentence of the case that has already been tried cannot be changed, why was the sentence of the Chinese couple be changed? Communist Party laws treat Chinese and Tibetans equally. Don’t you know? You are law enforcement officers.’ [She takes out an A4 sheet that read: first, let Dorje Tashi’s lawyer review the case file; second, the court should start its error correction mechanism.) ‘Chinese and Tibetans are equal under the Communist Party’s law. If it is not equal, we have nothing to say. I was detained 5 times. What was the reason I was detained 5 times? It is because of this.’ [She brings the A4 sheet in front of the camera] ‘It is because I appealed for justice for my brother and did not get it. The requests written here are the reasons they took me into custody. We do not even have the right to submit such a request. According to the laws of the Communist Party, there is a place for reasoning, and there is a place for seeking justice.’ But I have no place to seek justice…”

Dorjee Tashi

The International Campaign for Tibet has previously documented the torture of the famous Tibetan businessman and philanthropist Dorjee Tashi during his pre-trial detention, as well as his family’s advocacy for justice for him.

Both the United States and the European Union have raised concerns about the arbitrary detention of Dorjee Tashi. In its statement during the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council (Sept. 12 to Oct. 7, 2022), the European Union called for the immediate and unconditional release of, among others, Dorjee Tashi.

The United States recognized the detention of Dorjee Tashi in both its 2022 and 2021 State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

[1] Gonpo Kyi’s brother Dorjee Tseten was sentenced to six years in prison and Dorjee Tashi was sentenced to life in prison.

[2] Most likely Gonpo Kyi is referring to the Chinese businessman who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for loan fraud around the same time Gonpo’s brother Dorjee Tashi was sentenced to life in prison for “loan fraud.”

[3] The document that Gonpo displays on the screen is a copy of the TAR Higher People’s Court verdict to the Chinese businessman sentenced to 15 years in prison for loan fraud.

[4] Document proof for payment of debt.