Five Tibetans who survived torture in their homeland are joining an effort this week by the International Campaign for Tibet to shine a light on China’s use of torture against the Tibetan people.
ICT’s End Tibet Torture campaign will feature videos, candle lightings, social media posts and more.
It will culminate on June 26, International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
Until then, ICT will share new videos every day of Tibetan torture survivors speaking out on behalf of other Tibetans who are still facing torture in China’s gruesome prisons.
The advocacy group is also calling on its 100,000 members around the globe to get involved by lighting candles for Tibetan torture victims and sharing the images on social media.
ICT has also submitted a petition to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, urging her to raise the issue of torture in Tibet with the Chinese government. More than 17,000 ICT-supporters worldwide have signed the call for action to the High Commissioner.
“Right now, China is torturing innocent Tibetans just for exercising their most basic rights. Other Tibetan torture victims have already died,” Kai Mueller, ICT’s UN advocacy coordinator and executive director of ICT Germany, said. “Through our End Tibet Torture campaign, we plan not only to honor those victims of torture, but also to spotlight China’s horrific mistreatment of the Tibetan people.”
Tibetan torture victims
Ruled by China’s authoritarian government, Tibet is now the least-free country on Earth, in a tie with Syria, according to the watchdog group Freedom House.
Since China conquered Tibet more than 60 years ago, Chinese authorities have tortured untold numbers of Tibetans. Five of those torture victims who managed to escape to freedom will help lead ICT’s campaign this week.
Every day this week, ICT will present a new video showing one survivor of torture in Tibet speaking up for another Tibetan who is still experiencing torture in their homeland.
The videos will show:
- Ngawang Sangdrol, a peaceful protestor who entered prison at age 13 and became part of the Drapchi 14 “singing nuns,” known for their courage and solidarity in the notorious Drapchi prison. Sangdrol will speak for Wangdu, a Tibetan employee of an international public health NGO who received a life sentence in 2008 for allegedly passing information about Tibet to people outside the country.
- Phuntsog Nyidron Sanaschiga, another member of the Drapchi 14 nuns. She will speak for Sogkhar Lodoe Gyatso, who received an 18-year prison sentence in 2018 after he carried out a solo protest for world peace shortly following his release from serving more than 20 years in prison.
- Rinzin Choekyi, another Drapchi 14 member. She will speak for Yeshi Choedon, who received a 15-year prison sentence in 2008 for allegedly giving information to supporters of the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet.
- Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan filmmaker whose brave documentary, “Leaving Fear Behind,” about the reality of life in Tibet prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, led to his imprisonment and torture. He will speak for Thabkhe Gyatso, a Tibetan monk who was in good health when he went to prison but is now reportedly “half-paralyzed” from the torture he’s received.
- Golok Jigme, a Tibetan monk who worked with Dhondup Wangchen on “Leaving Fear Behind.” He will speak for Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, a Tibetan writer who authored a book about the suffering of the Tibetan people and the 2008 protests across the Tibetan Plateau.
Watch the first video in the series, featuring Ngawang Sangdrol raising her voice for Wangdu:
Social media posts
ICT’s campaign will also ask the public to get involved to show their solidarity with Tibetan torture victims.
The group is encouraging people to light a candle, hold up a sign they can download from ICT’s website and share photos of themselves with their candle and sign on social media, using #EndTibetTorture.