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ACTION: Runggye Adak PDF Print E-mail
[30 July 2010] Runggye Adak, a Tibetan nomad, is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for publicly calling for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. He was arrested by the Chinese authorities on 1 August 2007 at the annual Lithang horse-racing festival and charged with provocation to subvert state power. Please take action to help release Runggye Adak.
 

UPDATE: 12 August 2015
Runggye Adak was released on 30 July 2015 after completing an eight-year prison sentence. Click here to read report. No further action is required on this case.


If we cannot invite the Dalai Lama home, we will not have freedom of religion and happiness in Tibet.

Runggye Adak at the Lithang horse-racing festival, 1 August 2007, shortly before being arrested.

Runggye Adak[August 2010] New footage of Runggye Adak's courageous protest speech has been obtained and is available to view online. Also, family members have recorded messages appealing for his release. All these videos can be watched below.

Please take action now by signing the online petition,
asking your friends and colleagues to sign and  writing to the Chinese Ambassador to the UK.

Page index:
Rungyye AdakActions you can take
   1. Sign the international online petition
   2. Write to the Chinese Ambassador to the UK

Protest footage and family video statements
   1. Video footage of protest speech
   2. Raw footage of speech and festival
   3. Appeal from Runggye Adak's son
   4. Appeal from Runggye Adak's nephew

Background information


Actions you can take

1. Sign the international online petition
Click here to sign an online petition calling for the release of Runggye Adak, directed to Sichuan Party Secretary Liu Qibao. (This petition has been organised by the International Tibet Support Network, of which Tibet Society is a member.)

2. Write to the Chinese Ambassador to the UK
Call on the Chinese government to immediately and unconditionally release Runggye Adak. In you letter you can raise the following points:
  • Runggye Adak [Ch: Rongjie Azha], a 55 year old Tibetan nomad, was arrested for calling for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet at the annual Lithang horse festival on 1 August 2007. For simply expressing his opinion Runggye Adak is currently serving an eight prison sentence in Mianyang Prison in Sichuan Province.
  • The freedom of expression is a basic freedom as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the Chinese government should afford to all the citizens of China and Tibet, along with all basic human rights.
  • China should also release immediately and unconditionally Adak Lopoe [Ch: Azhu Lubo] and Jamyang Kunkhyen [Ch: Jiangyang Gongchen], who are serving prison sentences for informing the media about Runggye Adak's case.
  • Request that the authorities allow family members visit Runggye Adak, Adak Lopoe and Jamyang Kunchyen and that they receive any necessary medical treatment.
Send your letters to:
Liu Xiaoming
Chinese Ambassdor to the UK
49-51 Portland Place
London W1N 3AH
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
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Protest footage and family video statements
1. Video footage of Runggye Adak's protest speech at the Lithang Horse Racing Festival on 1 August 2007. Below is an edited version, in Tibetan with English subtitles.
(43 seconds)

Free Runggye Adak from ITSN on Vimeo.

2. Raw footage of Runggye Adak's speech, plus footage of Chinese security roaming the area and general shots of the festival. In Tibetan. (2 mins 18 secs)

Runggye Adak from ITSN on Vimeo.

3. Appeal from Jamyang Lobsang, Runggye Adak's 25 year old son. In Tibetan with English subtitles. (1 min 22 secs)

Jamyang Lobsang: Free Runggye Adak from ITSN on Vimeo.

4. Appeal from Atuk Tseten, nephew of Runggye Adak.
In Tibetan with English subtitles. (2 mins 23 secs)

Atuk Tseten: Free Runggye Adak from ITSN on Vimeo.
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Background Information

 I wanted His Holiness to return, and I wanted to raise Tibetan concerns and grievances, as there is no outlet for us to do so. That made me sad and made me act.
Statement by Runggye Adak at his sentencing.

Runggye AdakRunggye Adak is a 55 year old Tibetan nomad from Lithang, Kham in eastern Tibet. He is the father of eleven children and a highly respected member of the local nomadic community.

On 1 August 2007, Runggye Adak addressed a crowd of several thousand Tibetans, who had gathered for the annual Lithang horse-racing festival. Runggye took the microphone on the stage said, If we cannot invite the Dalai Lama home, we will not have freedom of religion and happiness in Tibet. The crowd applauded loudly. He also called for the release of the Panchen Lama (abducted by the Chinese authorities in 1995) and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche (a Tibetan political prisoner and respected lama). Runggye was promptly arrested by Chinese security personnel.

An eyewitness to Runggye's action said, It all happened so fast - Runggye Adak just came onstage and started speaking Quite a few people were cheering him But then uniformed officers arrived and took him away, and other people around me were saying how scared they were about his fate.

Runggye AdakEyewitnesses also said that Runggye Adaks speech called for local Tibetans to stop fighting among themselves about land and water issues - a reference to fights that have broken out among Tibetan nomads, often following the division of their land by the authorities in accordance with the Chinese government's directives. (It is Chinas stated policy to remove Tibetan nomads from the land and settle them in towns, thereby imperiling their livelihoods and their culture, and threatening the survival of the rangelands on the plateau. This policy is leading to increased desertification and exacerbating the impact of global warming. In this age of climate change, Tibetans and their centuries-old knowledge of the Tibetan environment need to be involved in all aspects of restoration and stewardship of the ecosystems and ecosystem services of the Tibetan Plateau.)

The Chinese government described Runggye's action as a "major political incident" and charged him with "provocation to subvert state power. He was sentenced to eight years in prison. He is serving his sentence in Mianyang Prison in Sichuan Province.

Three other Tibetans, who attempted to provide pictures and information to foreign media about the case, were also imprisoned for endangering national security. They are: Adak Lupoe [Ch: Azhu Lubo], Runggye Adaks nephew and a senior monk from Lithang monastery, sentenced to 10 years; Jamyang Kunkhyen [Ch: Jiangyang Gongchen], a Tibetan art teacher and musician, sentenced to 9 years; and Lothok [Ch: Luotuo], who was sentenced to 3 years and is due for release shortly.

Shortly after Runggye Adaks arrest, over 200 Tibetans congregated outside Lithang police station to appeal for his release. Eyewitnesses have described how police and soldiers violently dispersed local gatherings in Lithang by using tear gas, stun grenades and metal batons. Hundreds of local government officials have since been ordered to attend meetings to condemn Adaks actions.

A Xinhua statement on 3 August 2007 said, "the villager named Runggye Adak went to a platform and shouted out words of 'Tibetan independence' ... police sources said they would handle the case of Runggye Adak, whose words and deeds were meant to separate the country and harm national unity and has disrupted public order, according to law."

When Runggye Adak was sentenced he was said to have told the court, I wanted His Holiness to return, and I wanted to raise Tibetan concerns and grievances, as there is no outlet for us to do so. That made me sad and made me act.

International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) reported that several weeks before the Lithang festival, the Chinese authorities had circulated a petition at Lithang monastery which monks were required to sign, saying that they did not want the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet. It is possible this incident may have provoked Runggye Adak into taking his brave and courageous action.
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