By Tenzin Dharpo
Tibetan businessman Tenzin Choephel. Photo-RFA
DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 7: A Tibetan businessman known for his work at grassroots Tibetan community and for unity among Tibetans is still being held incommunicado by Chinese police after five months since his detention.
Tenzin Choephel was detained by Chinese police at Gongkar airport near Lhasa in March when he was on a return flight from Chengdu. His family and friends have not heard anything on why and where he is being held.
A source cited by Radio Free Asia
said, “When police came to search his house later, they were said to have found some political literature and photos of the Dalai Lama in his possession. But nobody knows for certain what the reasons are for the Chinese authorities’ abrupt action against him.”
Possession of the Tibetan exiled leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s image is considered a crime in occupied Tibet.
Choephel, known to be in his 40’s is a bachelor hailing from Sharong Tachen Village No. 5 in Nagchu city, Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).
He was known for his work to build unity among Tibetans and was a supporter for Tibetan environment and history. The same source also said, “He has also worked hard to promote the unity of the Tibetan people. Several years ago, and at his own expense, he successfully lobbied Chinese officials from the county up to the prefectural level to protect sacred mountains in Nagchu from mining projects.”
Incommunicado detentions are a widespread practice in occupied Tibet. Many Tibetans continue to be detained for months without any explanation from the authorities, in clear violation of international norms.