On the occasion of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on August 30, 2014, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) calls for an end to a wave of enforced and extra-legal disappearances across Tibet, in particular following intensified repression after the self-immolations began in 2009.
There has been a new spike in enforced disappearances since the self-immolations in Tibet in 2009. The authorities’ draconian response to the more than 130 self-immolations across Tibet has included reprisals against those allegedly associated with self-immolators, including friends, families, witnesses to the act, and even entire communities.
“Enforced disappearance has been used as a tactic by the Chinese authorities in Tibet to spread fear and attempt to ensure allegiance to the Party-state,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet. “We are highly concerned about the cases of ‘disappearances’ connected to self-immolations – such as friends, family, and individuals who may have simply witnessed a self-immolation,” Mecacci added.
In July 2014 ICT issued a report, ‘Acts of Significant Evil: The Criminalization of Self-Immolation’, detailing a wave of enforced disappearances of Tibetans.
Tibetans ‘disappeared’ since 2008 have been treated with extreme brutality. Many Tibetans are profoundly psychologically disturbed upon release, with others unable to walk or speak, or with broken or dislocated limbs. ICT has information on some Tibetans who were beaten to death in custody following protests, or suspicion of involvement in protests.
Among the cases highlighted in the ICT report are:
- Following the self-immolation and death on October 4, 2012, of Tibetan writer Gudrub in Nagchu., his uncle Tsewang Jermey was taken away from his home, followed by his younger brother, sister and her husband. Around 30 of his friends were ‘disappeared’ on their way to hospital to see him.
- Monk Gedun Jamyang disappeared after he chanted prayers for Tamdin Dorje who self-immolated in eastern Tibet on October 13, 2012. Dorkho Kyab and his son Choephel were also detained, allegedly for helping Tamdin Dorje’s family arrange the funeral ceremony. Monk Choezin and Lobsang Choephel were detained on December 12, 2012. Their whereabouts is not known.
In another case, Goshul Lobsang died at home in north-eastern Tibet on March 19, 2014 following severe torture during his ‘disappearance’ and later prison sentence. He was accused of being an organizer of a protest in 2008 and had been beaten so severely that he could not even swallow his food.
The International Campaign for Tibet calls on the international community to ask China for a full disclosure of the whereabouts of the disappeared Tibetans and to ensure non recurrence of enforced or involuntary disappearances in the future.