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ACTION: Tsangyang Gyatso jailed for 12 years for 'inciting protests' PDF Print E-mail
[11 November 2014] Tsangyang Gyatso, a senior monk, has been jailed for 12 years by the Chinese authorities in the Tibet Autonomous Region for allegedly inciting others to protest against Chinese rule. There are concerns for his well-being and that he did not receive due process.

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Tsangyang GyatsoTsangyang Gyatso, the chant master at Drilda monastry in Sog (Chinese: Suo) county, Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) prefecture, Kham (now part of China's Tibet Autonomous Region) was sentenced in early October. The exact charges are not clear, however, they seem to relate to protests that took place in Sog county shortly before he was detained in March.

According to a source quoted by Radio Free Asia, Tsangyang Gyatso was "convicted on charges of inciting others to protest against China and of communicating with contacts outside Tibet. Another source, quoted by Phayul, said he was "charged for his 'separatist' motives and 'plot' to protest against the government".

Tsangyang Gyatso, in his late-thirties, was detained on 17 March 2014 along with three other monks from the same monastery, Tsewang, Atse, and Gyaltsen on unknown charges. Their detention followed a series of arrests in the region involving challenges to Chinese rule in Tibet which included the appearance of pro-independence graffiti on a local bridge, boulders and frozen rivers, and the sharing of 'banned content' on social media. The fate of the other three monks is not known.

There are concerns that Tsangyang Gyatso did not receive due process. Tibetans charged with political crimes are routinely tried in secret, denied independent legal representation and tortured to extract confessions. It is known that Tsangyang Gyatso's family were only informed of the sentencing several weeks after the trial.

As well as the harsh prison sentence, Tsangyang Gyatso has had his visiting rights severely restricted. According to Radio Free Asia, Gyatso's family have been told by the authorities they are not allowed to see him for three months from the date of sentencing, and only then if local officials provide letters granting them permission.

Tsangyang Gyatso is understood to be serving his term at Chushul (Ch: Qushui) prison near Lhasa, which has a reputation for harsh treatment of political prisoners including torture and beatings.

Further reading: RFA I VOA I Phayul

Take Action
Please write to the Chinese Ambassador, calling on the Chinese government to:

► Ensure Tsangyang Gyatso is not tortured or ill-treated whilst in prison;

► Allow Tsangyang Gyatso regular visits from his family and has access to his lawyer;

► Disclose the charges brought against Tsangyang Gyatso. Given there are fears that due process was not upheld, call for a re-trial to be held in an open and transparent manner, in accordance with international judicial norms, otherwise to release him immediately and unconditionally;

► Clarify the whereabouts of Tsangyang Gyatso's fellow monks Tsewang, Atse, and Gyaltsen and any charges brought against them.

Chinese Ambassador to the UK
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming
Chinese Embassy
49-51 Portland Place
London W1B 1JL
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