PRIORITY POLITICAL PRISONERS

Too many Tibetan writers were suppressed, arrested, sentenced or they disappeared because of articles they published and circulated… In addition to those, many Tibetan folk artists who expressed the feelings of the Tibetan people in their works were arrested, sentenced or disappeared… Moreover, many influential senior monks, monks and nuns all across the Tibetan region have been arrested or have disappeared… In fact, this list of names could be very, very long.

In Tibet we have a metaphor: “the bone of the heart.” The sons and daughters of Tibet named above are all the “bone of the heart.” This is why Tibet will not give up in the midst of this calamity.

– TSERING WOESER

Too many Tibetan writers were suppressed, arrested, sentenced or they disappeared because of articles they published and circulated… In addition to those, many Tibetan folk artists who expressed the feelings of the Tibetan people in their works were arrested, sentenced or disappeared… Moreover, many influential senior monks, monks and nuns all across the Tibetan region have been arrested or have disappeared… In fact, this list of names could be very, very long.

In Tibet we have a metaphor: “the bone of the heart.” The sons and daughters of Tibet named above are all the “bone of the heart.” This is why Tibet will not give up in the midst of this calamity.

– TSERING WOESER

Due to the opaque nature of Chinese statistics and record keeping, it is very difficult for outsiders to ascertain the exact number of Tibetan political prisoners held by China. The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy political prisoner database contains 2,059, while the Congressional-Executive Commission on China counted 650 in their 2016 Annual Report. The prisoners listed below are frequently included in the International Campaign for Tibet’s advocacy work.

Tibetan political prisoners endure harsh prison conditions, including torture, deprivation of food and sleep, and long periods in isolation cells. Tibetan political prisoners are frequently convicted of “crimes” relating to peaceful political activities, and for simply exercising their fundamental human rights. In the current political climate imposed by Chinese authorities, even the most mild expressions of Tibetan cultural or religious identity can be punished by torture and arrest.

After protests swept across Tibet in March 2008, Chinese authorities resorted to harsh measures in their attempts to subdue and silence the Tibetan people. Details of the exact number of Tibetans imprisoned, tortured and disappeared since 2008 are not known. The Chinese government has refused to answer legitimate questions from international organizations and other governments regarding the use of lethal force against unarmed protestors, or the welfare of individual detainees.

ICT’s 2015 report, Torture and Impunity, detailed the specific cases of 14 Tibetans who died as a result of torture in custody in recent years, as well as the 15 others who survived but suffered serious and lasting harm from their imprisonment. For some examples of the results of successful advocacy, please see the cases of Takna Jigme Sangpo and Ngawang Sangdrol.


Bangri Chogtrul Rinpoche
བང་རི་མཆོག་སྤྲུལ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ།
Imprisoned

Choeying Khedrup
Choeying Khedrup
ཆོས་དབྱིངས་མཁས་གྲུབ།
Imprisoned

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima Panchen Lama
Gedhun Choekyi Nyima
དགེ་འདུན་ཆོས་ཀྱི་ཉི་མ
Enforced Disappearance

Jampel Wangchuk
Jampel Wangchuk
འཇམས་དཔལ་དབང་ཕྱུག
Imprisoned

Karma Samdup
Karma Samdrup
སྐར་མ་བསམ་གྲུབ།
Imprisoned

Konchok Nyima
Konchok Nyima
དཀོན་མཆོག་ཉི་མ།
Imprisoned

Kunchok Tsephel
Kunchok Tsephel
དཀོན་མཆོག་ཚེ་འཕེལ།
Imprisoned

Lobsang Kirti
Lobsang Kirti
བློ་བཟང་ཀིར་ཏི།
Unknown

Lobsang Kunchok
Lobsang Kunchok
བློ་བཟང་དཀོན་མཆོག
Imprisoned

Lolo
Lolo
བློ་བློ།
Imprisoned

Losang Tenzin
Losang Tenzin
བློ་བཟང་བསྟན་འཛིན།
Imprisoned

Migmar Dhondup
Migmar Dhondup
མིག་དམར་དོན་གྲུབ།
Imprisoned

Ngawang Choenyi
Ngawang Chonyi
ངག་དབང་ཆོས་ཉིད།
Imprisoned


Tritsun
ཁྲི་བཙུན།
Unknown


Tsepak
ཚེ་དཔག
Unknown


Wangdu
དབང་འདུས།
Imprisoned


Yeshe Choedron
ཡེ་ཤིས་ཆོས་སྒྲོན།
Imprisoned

Tashi Wangchuk
Tashi Wangchuk
བཀྲིས་དབང་ཕྱུག
Detained

Thamkey Gyatso
Thabkhe Gyatso
ཐབས་མཁས་རྒྱ་མཚོ།
Imprisoned

Tsegon Gyal
Tsegon Gyal
ཚེ་མགོན་རྒྱལ།
Detained

Bonkho Kyi
Bonkho Kyi
བོན་ཁོ་སྐྱིད།
Imprisoned

Lodoe Gyatso
Sogkhar Lodoe Gyatso
སོག་མཁར་བློ་གྲོས་རྒྱ་མཚོ།
Imprisoned

BANGRI CHOGTRUL RINPOCHE

བང་རི་མཆོག་སྤྲུལ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ།

Chinese Name: 晋美旦增尼玛
Pinyin Name: Jinmei Danzeng Nima
Also known as: Jigme Tenzin Nyima
Age at time of detention: 33
Conviction: Splittism
Sentence Date: September 26, 2000
Sentence Length: Life sentence (commuted to 18 years)
Held In: Chushur Prison, Lhasa prefecture, TAR
Expected Release: July 30, 2021
Status: Imprisoned
Known health issues: Intestinal illness

Background: Bangri Chogtrul Rinpoche (or Jigme Tenzin Nyima), the head of the former Gyatso children’s school in Lhasa, a privately-funded orphanage and school for Tiibetan children, was arrested in August 1999. Bangri Rinpoche, who is in his early forties, is from Nangchen County, Yushu TAP, Qinghai Province. On August 26, 1999, Tashi Tsering, a builder engaged in a contract with them, failed in an attempt to blow himself up as he tried to replace a Chinese flag with a Tibetan flag in front of the Potala Palace. Hours later, the Public Security Bureau detained the Rinpoche and closed the home. Chinese officials have said that the home’s operators were sentenced to imprisonment on charges of ‘splittism’. They were sent to Drapchi (TAR Prison) in Lhasa. Following the closure of the school, all the staff were arrested and imprisoned for varying periods, and many of the children were thrown out onto the streets following interrogation by police. There are severe concerns for Bangri Tsamtrul Rinpoche’s health. A reliable report received by ICT states that he has been hospitalised due to possible intestinal illness and that he is in a very weak state. According to an eyewitness, he was shackled to the hospital bed and in great discomfort and pain. Bangri Tsamtrul Rinpoche has been transferred to the new prison in Chushur (Chinese: Qushui) county south-west of Lhasa from Drapchi.


Choeying Khedrup

ཆོས་དབྱིངས་མཁས་གྲུབ།

Tibet flag

Chinese Name: 克珠, 科珠
Pinyin Name: Kezhu
Age At Time Of Detention: 28
Conviction: Splittism
Sentence Date: January 29, 2001
Sentence Length: Life sentence
Held In: Chushur prison, Lhasa prefecture, TAR
Expected Release: Life sentence
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Choeying Khedrub, a monk from Tsanden Monastery in Sog (Chinese: Suo) county, TAR, was one of at least six men detained in March 2000 for printing and distributing pro-independence leaflets. He was sentenced on January 29, 2001 to life imprisonment by the Tibet Autonomous Region Higher People’s Court for the ‘crime of inciting splittism’. He was then sent to TAR Prison (Drapchi) on April 4, 2001. He is now likely to have been transferred to Chushur (Qushui) Prison.


Gedhun Choekyi Nyima

དགེ་འདུན་ཆོས་ཀྱི་ཉི་མ།

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima

Chinese Name: 根登确吉尼玛
Pinyin Name: Gendeng Queji Nima
Also Known As: 11th Panchen Lama
Age At Time Of Detention: 6
Conviction: Unknown
Sentence Date: Abducted on May 17, 1995
Sentence Length: Unknown
Held In: Possibly TAR or Beijing
Expected Release: Unknown
Status: Enforced disappearance

Background: One of the world’s youngest political prisoners, the Panchen Lama (Gedhun Choekyi Nyima) was abducted in May 1995, when he was six. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is recognised by the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, one of the highest-ranking spiritual leaders in Tibet. He xas taken into Chinese custody on May 17, 1995. No one has seen or heard from him since and China has repeatedly ignored demands to confirm his safety and wellbeing.


Jampel Wangchuk

འཇམས་དཔལ་དབང་ཕྱུག

Chinese Name: 江白旺珠
Pinyin Name: Jiangbai Wangzhu
Age At Time Of Detention: 51
Conviction: Unknown
Sentence Date: June 2010
Sentence Length: Life sentence
Held In: Lhasa prefecture, TAR
Expected Release: Life sentence
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Jampel Wangchuk was arrested on April 11, 2008. Along with Konchok Nyima and Ngawang Chonyi, he is respected as a genuine scholar monk from Drepung and it is said that none of them participated in the March 2008 protests. The implication is that the authorities used this occasion to detain influential members of the Drepung community with no political record. The whereabouts of these three individuals is not known and there are serious concerns about their welfare. He is approximately 54 years-old. His lay-name is Tsephel and is from Tsotoe township, Phenpo Lhundrup county, Lhasa, TAR. He is the former Gekoe/Disciplinarian at Loseling College, Drepung monastery.


Karma Samdrup

སྐར་མ་བསམ་གྲུབ།

Karma Samdrup

Chinese Name: 噶玛桑珠
Pinyin Name: Gama Sangzhu
Age At Time Of Detention: 42
Conviction: Grave robbing and trafficking in cultural relics
Sentence Date: June 24, 2010
Sentence Length: 15 years
Held In: Yanqi Hui Autonomous City, XUAR
Expected Release: June 24, 2025
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Karma Samdrup is a prominent environmentalist and philanthropist serving a 15-year sentence on highly dubious charges. A well-known collector of Tibetan art and founder of the award-winning Three Rivers Environmental Protection Group, he and his brother Rinchen Samdrup were imprisoned on August 7, 2009, after their efforts to conserve wildlife in their home area of Chamdo Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region clashed with local authorities. His mother was seriously injured after she was beaten unconscious by armed police who were detaining Karma and his brother, and 20 villagers who petitioned on behalf of the brothers were interrogated and tortured. As a result of his and his brothers’ detentions, there has been a detrimental impact on the environmental conservation work in the three brother’s home area.


Konchok Nyima

དཀོན་མཆོག་ཉི་མ།

Konchok Nyima

Chinese Name: 贡觉尼玛
Pinyin Name: Gongjue Nima
Age At Time Of Detention: 39
Conviction: Unknown
Sentence Date: April 11, 2008
Sentence Length: 20 years
Held In: Tibet Autonomous Region
Expected Release: June 2030
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Konchok Nyima was arrested on April 11, 2008. Along with Jampel Wangchuk and Ngawang Chonyi, he is respected as a genuine scholar monk from Drepung and it is said that none of them participated in the March 2008 protests. The implication is that the authorities used this occasion to detain influential members of the Drepung community with no political record. The whereabouts of these three individuals is not known and there are serious concerns about their welfare. Konchok Nyima was deported to his home area, like other Drepung/Sera monastery monks from outside the Tibet Autonomous Region, but he never arrived. He is approximately 42 years-old. He is from Ngaba county, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province and is the scripture teacher at Gomang College, Drepung monastery.


Kunchok Tsephel

དཀོན་མཆོག་ཚེ་འཕེལ།

Kunchok Tsephel

Chinese Name: 贡觉次白, 贡却才培
Pinyin Name: Gongjue Cibai, Gongque Caipei
Age At Time Of Detention: 39
Conviction: Disclosing state secrets
Sentence Date: November 12, 2009
Sentence Length: 15 years
Held In: Thought to be Lanzhou
Expected Release: November 12, 2024
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Kunchok Tsephel, an official in an environmental department, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in November 2009 by a court in Gansu Province on charges of disclosing state secrets, thought to relate to articles carried on a Tibetan literary website he founded called Chodme (‘Butter Lamp’). He was held incommunicado for almost nine months and his home was ransacked by police, with his family only hearing of his whereabouts when they were summoned to court to hear the verdict and sentence passed against him.

Kunchok was said to be in poor health after nine months of detention and interrogation, and there are fears for his welfare. Until his detention, he provided the main source of income for his family. He had undergone an earlier period of detention in 1995 linked to suspicion of involvement in political activities in which he was tortured and interrogated, but protested his innocence and was released without charges after two months.


Lobsang Kirti

བློ་བཟང་ཀིར་ཏི།

Lobsang Kirti

Chinese Name: 洛桑格尔登
Pinyin Name: Luosang Ge’erdeng
Age At Time Of Detention: 27
Conviction: Unknown
Sentence Date: Taken away January 15, 2009
Sentence Length: Unknown
Held In: Thought to be Ngaba PSB Detention Center
Status: Unknown

Background: Lobsang Kirti, 27, from Kirti monastery in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province, was detained on January 15, 2009, at a printing house in Ngaba county. It is believed that the local authorities accused him of printing and distributing leaflets opposing Monlam and Losar celebrations this year in memory of those who have died or been detained since demonstrations swept across Tibet beginning last March. Lobsang Kirti is a student at the Buddhist Dialectics Institute for Youth at Kirti monastery, where he has previously published newspaper and magazine articles. He is also an editor for Khangtse Metok, a magazine published annually by the monastery. His whereabouts is currently unknown.


Lobsang Kunchok

བློ་བཟང་དཀོན་མཆོག

Lobsang Kunchok

Chinese Name: 罗桑贡确
Pinyin Name: Luosang Gongque
Age At Time Of Detention: 40
Conviction: Intentional homicide
Sentence Date: January 28, 2013
Sentence Length: Death sentence (Suspended 2 years)
Held In: Unknown
Expected Release: Death sentence
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Kunchok’s was the most severe of the eight sentences given in January 2013. In a judicial process surrounded by controversy, as even the PRC’s official press agency Xinhua acknowledged that Kunchok was not represented by his own lawyers, and despite an assertion by a judge who told the Global Times that: “authorities obtained sufficient evidence showing it [the alleged crimes] had been instructed by ‘forces from abroad’,” no evidence whatsoever was presented to justify the sentencing. Moreover, Kunchok was accused of inciting eight self-immolations of which only 3 took place.


Lolo

བློ་བློ།

Lolo

Chinese Name: 洛洛
Pinyin Name: Luoluo
Age At Time Of Detention: 30
Conviction: Splitting the state
Sentence Date: 2012
Sentence Length: 6 years
Held In: Xining
Status: Imprisoned?

Background: A popular Tibetan singer from the Yulshul region of Kham (eastern Tibet), Lolo’s crime was recording an album of 14 songs that called for unity of the Tibetan people and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Soon after the album’s release in 2012, Lolo was arrested in eastern Tibet and sentenced to six years in prison. A picture that surfaced of him in 2015 appeared to show him in poor health.

According to his sentencing data, Lolo should have been released by now. ICT hasn’t received any information related to his release, though, and we will keep him on the list until we can confirm he’s been released.


Losang Tenzin

བློ་བཟང་བསྟན་འཛིན།

Losang Tenzin

Chinese Name: 洛桑旦增, 罗让旦真
Pinyin Name: Luosang Danzeng, Luorang Danzhen
Age At Time Of Detention: 22
Conviction: Intentional homicide
Sentence Date: August 30, 2011
Sentence Length: 13 years
Held In: Unknown
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Monk from Kirti monastery and one of three Tibetan monks sentenced after Kirti monk Phuntsog’s self-immolation; reports from Tibetans in exile in contact with people in the region indicated that due legal process was not followed in these cases, with the Tibetans unable to choose their own lawyer and the whereabouts of all three prisoners being withheld from their families upon detention. The sentencing appears to be purely political; there is no evidence that the three monks had any involvement in Phuntsog’s solitary act of self-immolation or subsequent death, other than possibly seeking to protect him from further harm before he died in hospital. One of the monks sentenced, Losang Tsondru, is the uncle of the monk who died.


Migmar Dhondup

མིག་དམར་དོན་གྲུབ།

Migmar Dhondup

Chinese Name: 米玛顿珠
Pinyin Name: Mima Dunzhu
Age At Time Of Detention: Early 30s
Conviction: Espionage
Sentence Date: Possibility November 2008
Sentence Length: 14 years
Held In: Unknown
Expected Release: 2022
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Migmar Dhondup, who was arrested in connection with the 2008 protests and has been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, was in his early thirties at the time and worked for an NGO doing community development work. He is originally from Tingri County in Shigatse Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Migmar Dhondup, who speaks fluent English and is very well educated, also used to work as a tour guide. Migmar Dhondup was accused of collecting “intelligence concerning the security and interests of the state and provid[ing] it to the Dalai clique… prior to and following the ‘March 14’ incident.”

Dhondup is a well-educated Tibetan passionate about nature conservation, who worked for the Kunde Foundation in Tibet, an NGO committed to helping marginalized and impoverished communities. He was educated in exile and on his return to Tibet some years later, where he began working as a tourist guide for, among others, an American archaeologist who has surveyed over 700 ancient pre-Buddhist archaeological sites in upper Tibet.


Ngawang Chonyi

ངག་དབང་ཆོས་ཉིད།

Ngawang Choenyi

Chinese Name: 阿旺曲尼
Pinyin Name: Awang Quni
Age At Time Of Detention: 38
Conviction: Unknown
Sentence Date: April 2008
Sentence Length: 15 years
Held In: Tibet Autonomous Region
Expected Release: April 2023
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Ngawang Chonyi, along with Jampel Wangchuk and Konchok Nyima, is respected as a genuine scholar monk from Drepung and it is said that none of them participated in the March 2008 protests. The implication is that the authorities used this occasion to detain influential members of the Drepung community with no political record. The whereabouts of these three individuals is not known and there are serious concerns about their welfare. Ngawang Chonyi is approximately 38 years-old. His lay-name is Kalden and he is from the Shasuzur neighborhood of Lhasa city. He is the scripture teacher at Ngakpa college, Drepung monastery.


Tritsun

ཁྲི་བཙུན།

Tritsun

Chinese Name: 赤宗
Pinyin Name: Chizong
Also Known As: Tri Bhoe Trak
Age At Time Of Detention: 26
Conviction: Unknown
Sentence Date: Spring 2013
Sentence Length: Unknown
Held In: Unknown
Expected Release: Unknown
Status: Unknown

Background: On 11 March 2013, the day after the 54th anniversary of Tibetan national uprising, Tritsun, a monk from Tongkyap Monastery was detained on unknown charges. Although the Chinese authorities have yet to disclose the charges against Tritsun, he was probably detained in connection with a book he authored and published in March 2013. The book titled “Denpai Khalang” (English: Breath of Truth”) was released and distributed on 8 March at Tongkyap Monastery. The book contains essays on fiery sacrifices made by Tibetans in a series of self-immolation protests; in particular, it features a biography on Lama Soeba, a reincarnated lama from Tongkyap Monastery who died of self-immolation protest last year.


Tsepak

ཚེ་དཔག

Tsepak

Chinese Name: 才帕
Pinyin Name: Caipai
Also Known As: Lobsang Tsepag
Age At Time Of Detention: 29
Conviction: Unknown
Sentence Date: March 9, 2013
Sentence Length: Unknown
Held In: Thought to be Ngaba PSB Detention Center
Expected Release: Unknown
Status: Unknown

Background: Tsepak, a Tibetan monk of Kirti Monastery in eastern Tibet’s Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) county was arrested by the police during a night raid on March 9, 2013, a day before the 54th Tibetan national uprising day. He was arrested and taken away by police when he was nursing an ailing relative at a village near Kirti Monastery. The relatives still don’t know the reasons behind his arrest and current whereabouts. Tsepak, son of late Dhondup and Dhondhe, joined the monastery at a young age. At the time of his arrest, he was in the third year of his Masters degree course in Madhyamika or Middle-Way Buddhist philosophy. He was earlier arrested and incarcerated for several months on 25 March 2011 when he was studying at the Beijing Nationalities University. No reasons were given for his arrest at that time.


Wangdu

དབང་འདུས།

Wangdu

Chinese Name: 旺堆
Pinyin Name: Wangdui
Age At Time Of Detention: 42
Conviction: Espionage
Sentence Date: October 27, 2008
Sentence Length: Life sentence
Held In: Drapchi
Expected Release: Life sentence
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Wangdu was an NGO health worker who worked for an Australian public health NGO. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of “espionage,” according to a report published in November 2008 in the Chinese press. Five co-defendants were sentenced from 10 to 15 years for “providing intelligence” to the “Dalai clique,” including Migmar Dhondup (see below), who was sentenced to 14 years. A former monk, Wangdu was sentenced to three years ‘re-education through labor’ having participated in protests in Lhasa in 1989, although he was then sentenced to a total of eight years imprisonment for signing a petition while in the labor camp insisting Tibet was independent prior to China’s invasion.


Yeshe Choedron

ཡེ་ཤིས་ཆོས་སྒྲོན།

Yeshe Choedron

Chinese Name: 益西曲珍
Pinyin Name: Yixi Quzhen
Age At Time Of Detention: 53
Conviction: Espionage
Sentence Date: November 7, 2008
Sentence Length: 15 years
Held In: Drapchi prison, Lhasa prefecture, TAR
Expected Release: November 7, 2023
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Yeshe Choedron, a retired doctor from Lhasa, was arrested in March 2008. On November 7, 2008, the Lhasa Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Yeshe Choedron to 15 years imprisonment after being convicted for “espionage” for allegedly providing “intelligence and information harmful to the security and interests of the state” to “the Dalai clique’s security department,” according to the official Lhasa Evening News.


Tashi Wangchuk

བཀྲིས་དབང་ཕྱུག

Tashi Wangchuk

Chinese Name: 扎西旺秀
Pinyin Name: Zhaxi Wangxiu
Age At Time Of Detention: 31
Conviction: Inciting separatism
Sentence Length: 5 years
Held In: Yulshul Prefecture, Qinghai
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan man imprisoned for his advocacy for Tibetan language depicted in a New York Times video interview, was tried for ‘inciting separatism’ in January 2018.

Tashi Wangchuk was detained by police in his home area of Jyegudo on January 27, 2016, following an interview with the New York Times on Tibetan culture and language. The charges of ‘separatism’ came even though he has not advocated Tibetan independence, saying instead that Tibet should have greater regional autonomy. In July 2018 his appeal was denied, according to documents release by his lawyer, Liang Xiaojun.


Thabkhe Gyatso

ཐབས་མཁས་རྒྱ་མཚོ།

Thabkhe Gyatso

Chinese Name: 坦科加错
Pinyin Name: Tanke Jiacuo
Age At Time Of Detention: 31
Conviction: Inciting Separatism
Sentence Date: May 21, 2009
Sentence Length: 15 years
Held In: Unknown prison in Gansu Province
Expected Release: May 2023
Status: Imprisoned
Known Health Issues: Reportedly “half-paralyzed” following beatings

Background: On May 21, 2009, the Gannan Intermediate People’s Court reportedly sentenced Thabkhe Gyatso to 15 years in prison for “endangering state security” (TCHRD). RFA reported in July 2009 that officials barred Beijing-based lawyer Li Fangping from providing legal counsel to the monks. RFA reported in March 2010, based on Thabkhe Gyatso’s official verdict document, that he protested on March 14, 2008, was detained on March 22, and was sentenced for “splittism” under Art. 103 of China’s Criminal Law. TCHRD reported in 2011 that a visitor described Thabkhe Gyatso as “half-paralyzed and is suffering from weak eyesight.” The report said Thabke Gyatso was in a prison about 100km from the Lanzhou, the Gansu capital.


Tsegon Gyal

ཚེ་མགོན་རྒྱལ།

Tsegon Gyal

Chinese Name: 才贡加
Pinyin Name: Caigong Jia
Age At Time Of Detention: 53
Conviction: Inciting Separatism
Sentence Date: Sentence unknown
Sentence Length: Sentence unknown
Held In: Tried on May 3, 2017, in Tsojang Prefecture, verdict remains unknown
Status: Detained

Background: Tsegon Gyal was arrested on the charge of inciting separatism, and was put on trial on May 3, 2017. No verdict has been announced. The trial was held in People’s Intermediate Court of Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture People’s Intermediate Court in Qinghai province. Tibetan sources report that it was a closed-door trial, with even his family and relatives not allowed to observe it. Information on the basis of the charge was unavailable. Tsegon Gyal had previously been detained in 1993, and on July 28, 1994, he was sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment for espionage and 11 years for participating in a “counterrevolutionary group.”


Bonkho Kyi

བོན་ཁོ་སྐྱིད།

Bonkho Kyi

Chinese Name: 本考吉
Pinyin Name: Benkao Ji
Age At Time Of Detention: 48
Conviction: Unknown
Sentence Date: December 6, 2016
Sentence Length: 7 years
Held In: Lunggu (Ch: Wenchuan) County, Ngaba Prefecture, Sichuan
Expected Release: Winter 2022
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Bonkho Kyi, a resident of Lhade Gabma, was one of nine Tibetans convicted on the basis of arranging celebrations for the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday in Ngaba. She had helped organize a public picnic to celebrate the occasion. Bonkho Kyi had previously been arrested in 2011 and 2012 (for unknown reasons) and was detained for a few months.

Sogkhar Lodoe Gyatso

སོག་མཁར་བློ་གྲོས་རྒྱ་མཚོ།

Lodoe Gyatso

Chinese Name: 洛珠加措
Pinyin Name: Luozho Jiacuo
Age At Time Of Detention: 57
Conviction: Unknown
Sentence Date: 2018
Sentence Length: 18 years
Held In: Tibet Autonomous Region
Expected Release: 2036
Status: Imprisoned

Background: Lodoe Gyatso—also known as Sogkhar Lodoe Gyatso because of his home area of Sog (Chinese: Suo) county, Nagchu (Chinese: Naqu), the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)—was secretly sentenced to 18 years in prison after marching around the Potala Palace holding a portrait of the Dalai Lama and carrying out a demonstration for world peace.

In a video recorded before his demonstration, Lodoe drew attention to Tibet’s history of nonviolence, saying: “For thousands of years, we have worked for world peace through peaceful means and Middle Way approach, based on the principle of interdependence and nonviolent behavior, an example is the vision of Gyalwa Tenzin Gyatso [the Dalai Lama].”

Lodoe has already spent more than two decades in a Chinese prison following a prior solo protest. On that occasion, in 1995, Lodoe shouted slogans such as “Tibet is independent!” “China should leave Tibet!” “Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama!” and “All the 6 million Tibetans are united!” He also distributed handwritten pamphlets and posters that read: “Tibetans have been under Chinese rule for 36 years and on this day, to commemorate the Tibetan independence struggle, I represent the entire Tibetan people.”