By Tenzin Nyidon
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 9: Millionaire hotelier and philanthropist Dorje Tashi’s sister Gonpo Kyi staged a protest against the “unfair” verdict of her brother, outside the Lhasa Intermediate People’s Court according to information obtained by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) on Saturday. She staged the protest advocating for an immediate release of her brother against the vindictive and corrupt party officials for passing the unfair verdict.
Dorje Tashi, once considered one of the wealthiest people in Tibet was a member of the Chinese Communist Party in 2003. The renowned entrepreneur was detained in the wake of the 2008 Pan-Tibetan Uprising in Lhasa on the grounds of making suspicious donations to the exile Tibetan community as his alleged support for the movement. Later, Dorje was also branded as a “secessionist” by the Chinese. Although his political charges were later cleared, a Chinese court sentenced him to life in prison for “loan fraud” in 2010. Since then, the imprisoned businessman has experienced prolonged torture while his wife, Sonam Choedon has been denied frequent visits since December 2019, the Dharamshala-based rights group said.
Following the sentence, his brother Dorje Tsetan was sentenced to six years and his relatives, Dhugkar Tsering and Tsultrim were sentenced to five and two years imprisonment respectively. The family members have called Dorje’s detention politically unjust and discriminatory. A testimony obtained by TCHRD confirmed that on 19 December, his sister Gonpo Kyi stood outside of the Lhasa Intermediate People’s Court holding a placard with a slogan in Chinese: “Dorje Tashi is innocent” while shouting slogans of wrongfully convicting her brother. Within minutes, the public security officers disrupted her protest and took her behind the court following which her conditions and whereabouts remain unknown. The report also confirmed that the individual had conducted a similar protest outside the court in June last year.
Similarly, in the video statement by Gonpo Kyi in September 2022, she can be seen demanding justice from the Tibet Autonomous Regions (TAR) officials for imposing false loan charges against her brother while questioning the false verdict of the Chinese legal system for distorting facts under the pretext of politics. In the video message, she is seen laying arguments for her brother, “Because I do not have the right to prove one’s innocence. In fact, one has the right to prove one’s innocence. Who is responsible for taking away this right? The officials of the TAR are responsible.”
In an interview with Time magazine, Robbie Barnett, a Tibetan scholar at Columbia University, stated, “Tibetans like him, they are the super elite. The severity of the sentence and the exceptional importance of the prisoner are unprecedented.”