By Tenzin Monlam
Tashi Wangchuk Photo-NYT
DHARAMSHALA, DEC. 30: The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) condemned the ‘unlawful and arbitrary detention’ of Tibetan language activist Tashi Wangchuk and demanded his immediate release.
The education rights activist was arrested on January 27 and charged with ‘inciting separatism’ on March 24. He has been held in Yushu Detention Centre in Kyegudo since his arrest.
According to TCHRD, “During his 11 months’ detention, he was investigated more than once by the Yushu Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers on the politicized charge of inciting separatism. The focus of the investigation was the interviews he gave to the overseas media organization.”
Tashi featured in a New York Times reportage including a short documentary video and an article on ethnic Tibetan pursuing legal resorts to claim rights prescribed in the Chinese Constitution.
Earlier this month, the Chinese prosecutors asked a court for more time to investigate before moving to the trials, which the prosecutors expect to be finished by January 4.
However, the Tibetan rights group fears that investigating officers would use unlawful means to gather false evidence to convict him. The group also feels that the lengthy investigation process shows lack of evidence to prove the charge against Tashi.
“Any other Tibetan would have long been convicted, if not subjected to prolonged secret detention or disappearance. A large majority of Tibetans continue to be charged with inciting separatism and other crimes of endangering state security without any legal representation or due legal process,” said Pema Choedon, researcher at TCHRD.
He has earlier been detained twice for his attempt to go to India on a pilgrimage in 2012 for posting comments condemning the authorities in a land grab case.
The 31-year-old activist believes that the Tibetan language not being used in government offices is a violation of the Chinese Constitution, which guarantees cultural autonomy for Tibetans and other ethnic minorities.