For expressing her thoughts on the popular Chinese social media app WeChat, the Trika (Chinese: Guide) County Public Security Bureau placed a Tibetan woman named Tsering Tso (Ch: Cairen Cuo) in 10 days of administrative detention last month. Trika is in Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province.

Tsering was a participant in the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, which brings foreigners to the United States to experience American society. The content of her WeChat posts were not known, but the PSB evoked Article 26 (4) of the Public Security Administration Punishment Law of the People’s Republic of China, which provides for administrative detention under the unspecified “other provocative acts” category as the legal basis for her detention.

Speaking to Radio Free Asia’s Mandarin service in a report posted on Dec. 2, Tsering said she was detained on a “stability-related” issue and expressed bewilderment at this, as she was not sure what aspect of her two WeChat posts were related to it.

In addition to her arbitrary detention at the Trika County PSB Administrative Detention Center from November 20-30, 2020, according to RFA, the police also imposed a monetary fine of 1000 yuan that Tsering must pay to the Trika County Branch of the Agricultural Bank of China. She was provided only steamed buns and boiled water as meals during her period of detention.

The PSB cited information in her two comments posted on WeChat on Nov. 2, 2020, as her offence leading to her to detention. She told RFA that 10 police officers took her away from her residence in Ziling (Ch: Xining) City. A Trika County PSB summons document asking her to come for initial investigation bears the time stamp when she “arrived” at the police station at 2 pm on Nov. 12 and the time she left as 00:14 on Nov. 13.

Tsering believes that because of her participation in the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program and her travels as a tourist, she has become a person of “special attention” for the public security system in Qinghai. The police often summon her, warn her on the phone and issue personal safety threats against her for her activities and her expression of her thoughts.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy based in India stated in a media release that Tsering “has been active in exposing the corrupt local officials in Qinghai that also brought her to the attention of local authorities.” The centre said that the detention officers subjected her to ill-treatment and intimidation in the hopes of making her give up her vocal advocacy for democracy and rule of law.

This is not the first time the police took Tsering away for detention, TCHRD reported. For her advocacy in 2017 for the rights of Tibetans in Yulshul (Ch: Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai to apply for passports, Yulshul police took her away for interrogation. Tsering told RFA that officer Jamga (Ch: Changjiang Ga) of the Immigration Administration Division of Yulshul Prefecture PSB beat her severely during the interrogation, leading to her hospitalization.

Jamga kicked her on the head, face, chest, and abdomen, she told RFA. Despite the cruel and inhumane treatment, doctors who conducted her medical examination stated that she did not suffer injuries. It was an obvious falsehood made under pressure to shield the powerful Chinese police from any liability for their wrongdoing. Photographic evidence at the time clearly contradicted the doctors’ medical conclusion.

Tsering Tso

Tsering during her hospitalization due to severe beatings in 2017. (Photo: Radio Free Asia)

Chinese police exercise a wide variety of administrative powers to arbitrarily deprive a person’s liberty. For individuals like Tsering Tso, a hearing procedure is not available prior to the police deciding to send her to administrative detention under the Law on Public Security Administration Punishments.

Although Chinese courts in theory can determine whether a police administrative detention is unlawful, it is rare for an individual to exercise the right in practice as the very short window before detention makes it virtually impossible. Moreover, police in China enjoy more power than courts, and there is no meaningful mechanism to control the police. The police’s decision to impose administrative detention fails to comply with international standards that require a court or an independent entity exercising judicial power to subject an individual to detention rather than the police.

The International Campaign for Tibet urges the government of China to stop harassing and arbitrarily detaining Tsering Tso for expressing her opinions and thoughts. As Tsering is an alumna of the International Visitor Leadership Program and an advocate for anti-corruption and transparency, ICT calls upon the US State Department to raise her case with the government of China.

ICT translation in gist

Police summons

Police summons issued to Tsering Tso.

The Trika County Public Security Bureau summons issued to Tsering Tso

Trika County Public Security Bureau

To: Tsering Tso

Because you are suspected of provoking troubles, in accordance with Article 82 of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Public Security Administration Punishments, you are now summoned to go to the case handling section of Trika County Public Security Bureau for questioning before 13:30 on November 12, 2020.

Those who refuse to accept the summons or evade the summons without proper reason shall be compulsorily summoned according to the law.

Trika County Public Security Bureau (seal)

November 12, 2020

The summoned person arrives at 14:00 on November 12, 2020. Tsering Tso (signed as Cairang Cuo in Chinese)

The summoned person left at 00:14 on November 13, 2020. Tsering Tso (signed as Cairang Cuo in Chinese with a fingerprint)

ICT translation of the Trika County Public Security Bureau Administrative Penalty Decision

Administrative penalty

Administrative penalty decision subjecting Tsering Tso to ten days administrative detention.

Administrative Penalty Decision

Trika County Public Security Bureau

The offender Tsering Tso, female. Registered Domicile: Bhumku (Benke) Village, Chunub (Hexi) Town, Trika County. Current residence: Ziling City

It is now found that at 16:26 on November 2, 2020, Tsering Tso published and commented on stability-related information in her circle of friends.

The evidence for the above are Tsering Tso’s statements and comments posted from the WeChat account on her phone.

In accordance with Article 26 (4) of the Public Security Administration Punishment Law of the People’s Republic of China, it is now decided to impose a penalty of 10 days of administrative detention on the offender. Within 15 days, pay the fine at the Trika County Branch of the Agricultural Bank of China based on this decision. Send her to the Administrative Detention Center of Trika County Public Security Bureau for administrative detention. The implementation period is from November 13 to November 23, 2020.

If you do not agree with this decision, you can appeal for a review, within 60 days of the receipt of this decision, to the Hainan Public Security Bureau or the Trika County People’s Government, or file a case as per law within six months at the Trika County People’s Court.

November 13, 2020
Trika County Public Security Bureau (seal)