Rinchen Tsultrim posing for photo with a picturesque background. Photo via Tibet Times.
The Chinese government has detained a 29-year-old Tibetan monk for more than a year and prevented him from communicating with the outside world after he posted his opinions about Tibetan issues on a popular Chinese social media platform.
Rinchen Tsultrim (known in Chinese as Renqing Chizhen) faces accusations of “suspected incitement to split the country.” The Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) County Public Security Bureau arrested him on Aug. 1, 2019 at Kardo in Ngaba County in the province of Sichuan. He has not been heard from or seen since then.
The authorities allegedly arrested Rinchen for peacefully expressing his thoughts on a range of Tibetan political, social and cultural issues on his personal and group chat forums on the popular Chinese WeChat app. An “inquiry notice” issued by the Ngaba County National Security Bureau summoning a Tibetan for police inquiry at the Barma (Ch: Waerma) Township police station stated that Rinchen was suspected of separatism.
The International Campaign for Tibet believes that Chinese authorities will charge Rinchen with “endangering national security” for the thoughts he shared on WeChat—which is a government-approved app—lamenting the dire situation in Tibet, which China brutally annexed more than 60 years ago and continues to rule with an iron fist.
The Chinese government maintains tight control over all forms of communication media, and the local authorities in Tibet closely monitor contacts between Tibetans in Tibet and those in foreign countries, alleging that they are “endangering national security” even when they merely peacefully express their views online.
Several exile Tibetan media outlets have published reports on the incommunicado detention of Rinchen. The International Campaign for Tibet verified information about his detainment with credible sources in exile.