News and Views on Tibet

Sister of imprisoned Tibetan businessman continues protest

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Gonpo Kyi peacefully protesting outside People's High Court in Lhasa on Feb. 20, 2024 (Screengrab)

By Tenzin Nyidon 

DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 23: A new video has surfaced showing Gonpo Kyi, sister of the imprisoned Tibetan businessman Dorjee Tashi peacefully protesting outside the People’s High Court in Lhasa on February 20. In the video, Gonpo Kyi is shown holding placards, a portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping and peacefully chanting slogans outside the People’s High Court in Lhasa. 

Gonpo Kyi has been advocating for a retrial of her imprisoned brother, Dorjee Tashi while striving to secure visitation rights to see him. On December 13, 2023, Gonpo Kyi and her husband, Choekyong, were detained by Chinese authorities following a protest in front of the Lhasa People’s Court, where they were advocating for a retrial of Dorjee Tashi. While Choekyong was released on December 18, 2023, Gonpo Kyi remained in detention for eight days.

Dorjee Tashi was a well-known Tibetan entrepreneur with substantial wealth at the time of his arrest. The prominent Tibetan entrepreneur, faced arrest by Chinese authorities in the aftermath of the 2008 Pan-Tibetan uprising in Lhasa. He was accused of making suspicious donations to the exiled Tibetan community and labelled a “secessionist” by Chinese authorities. Despite initially being accused of supporting the Tibetan independence movement, he was ultimately convicted of “loan fraud” in a secretive trial in 2010 and handed a life sentence.

Following her brother’s sentence, Kyi has repeatedly campaigned and advocated for her brother’s release in front of the Lhasa People’s Court. However, her activism resulted in grave consequences as she faced physical assaults, including beatings, and intensive interrogation during her detention in a Chinese prison. Furthermore, she has allegedly been denied access to essential medical treatment despite experiencing health issues arising from the mistreatment that she endured.

The pair were awarded the prestigious ‘Tenzin Delek Rinpoche Medal of Courage’ award on July 12, 2023, in Dharamshala, honouring and acknowledging their exceptional commitment to advancing the rights of the Tibetan people.

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