By Choekyi Lhamo
Sonam Palden/TCHRD file
DHARAMSHALA, NOV 12: Sonam Palden, 22, a monk from Kirti monastery from Ngaba County in the Tibetan Province of Amdo, was detained for his critical comment about the use of Tibetan language. In a post in WeChat, he bemoaned the status of Tibetan language and its marginalisation due to China’s policy which prioritises Mandarin, the common national language. He also posted a photo of the banned Tibetan flag with the caption ´Father tongue´.
Sonam is currently being held in the Ngaba County Public Security Bureau detention centre. His family members have not been able to contact him. The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) called on the international community and the Chinese authorities to safeguard Palden´s right to freedom of expression and urged for his safety and to provide him with medical treatment without delay.
“TCHRD fears that the prolonged incommunicado detention of Sonam Palden will gravely endanger his life given the fact that the worst torture happens during pretrial detention and in the secrecy of Chinese detention facilities. TCHRD calls on the Chinese authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally and also provide him proper medical treatment without delay. His family members must be granted immediate access to ascertain his health and well-being," the rights group added.
Sonam joins a long list of Tibetans in occupied Tibet who have been detained or sentenced for sending and sharing materials that the Chinese government deems endangering stability and stoking anti-national sentiments on Wechat. Many of the banned materials include images, teachings and speeches of the Dalai Lama.