By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Sept 16: Four independent UN human rights experts and bodies have called the rising case of detained Tibetans a “worrying pattern of arbitrary and incommunicado detentions, closed trials, and unknown charges and verdicts against the Tibetan religious minority in China, some of them amounting to enforced disappearances.” The US-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said that the experts urged the government to provide information on the whereabouts of the two Tibetans, Rinchen Tsultrim and Go Sherab Gyatso, and explain the legal grounds for their arrest and detention.
The UN Working Group on Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the special rapporteurs on minority issues and freedom of religion or belief expressed serious concern for the alleged disappearance of the two Tibetans. The ICT’s UN advocacy head, Kai Mueller called for their immediate release, “[They] must be released immediately, as they have been imprisoned solely for the exercise of freedom of speech and thought. Prolonged incommunicado detention is worrisome because of the danger of torture against unaccounted-for detainees.”
Rinchen Tsultrim was detained in Aug. 2019 along with two other monks from Ngaba County’s Kordo area in Eastern Tibet’s Amdo region and was reportedly sentenced to four years and six months at Chengdu prison on Mar 23. The 29-year-old is believed to be charged with “incitement to split the country”, for expressing his views on the Chinese messaging app WeChat in 2019. As of September, no family member has seen Rinchen in person or through virtual means, according to the report.
The prominent Tibetan writer Go Sherab Gyatso was arbitrarily detained in late January this year with no information regarding the charges and his whereabouts. The reputed writer had spent years in prison, first in 1998 for protesting Chinese ‘re-education’ programs that resulted in a 4-year of prison sentence. He also participated in the 2008 uprising during the Beijing Summer Olympics and was sentenced for over a year for mobilizing a group of monks from Kirti monastery in Lhasa. In 2011, he was held in Chengdu by the authorities after a monk from Kirti monastery self-immolated in Ngaba.