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Tibetan rights advocate detained over ‘illegal’ WeChat posts

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Tsering Tso hospitalised in 2017 (Photo- TCHRD)
Tsering Tso hospitalised in 2017 (Photo- TCHRD)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 7: A Tibetan social worker named Tsering Tso was forcibly detained from her home in Xining on Nov. 12 by ten officers and taken to the Trikha County detention centre over ‘illegal’ WeChat posts, reported the Dharamshala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD). She was subjected to a monetary fine of 1000 Yuan and a 10-day administrative detention from 13 to 23 Nov. 

The rights group said that she was charged with violating the fourth category of illegal acts listed in the Article 26 of the Law on the Public Order Administration Punishments Law (POAPL). She has currently completed the sentence in custody. TCHRD stated that she was subjected to “ill-treatment and intimidation which the detention officers hoped would make her give up her vocal advocacy for democracy and rule of law.” 

In a report published by RFA Chinese service, Tsering Tso said after the arrest, “[Translated] This time I was arrested inexplicably. They always wanted to arrest me, but they couldn’t find a reason. When I came back from Thailand this time, I had a premonition. They wanted to arrest me. When I was in quarantine in Guangzhou, they might have been planning to arrest me. Finally, because of the two messages I posted on WeChat on November 2nd, I was charged with [disturbing] stability and detained for ten days.”

TCHRD said that she has long been under surveillance because of her participation in the “International Visitor Leadership Program”, a professional exchange program by the US State department. She had been blacklisted as “an individual who requires special attention”. She has been involved in advocacy for the rights of local Tibetans to apply for passports in accordance with law in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. In 2017, she was brutally beaten up during an interrogation by a police officer named Jamga of the Immigration division of Yushu Prefecture PSB where she suffered injuries in her head, face, chest and abdomen.

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