News and Views on Tibet

Tibetan student detained and fined for displaying Buddhist flags

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Gephel performing at the Tibetan New Year celebration in Muge, Sichuan Province (Photo/TCHRD)

By Tenzin Nyidon

DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 10: A Tibetan university student in the so called Ngaba prefecture, Sichuan Province has reportedly been detained and imposed a huge fine for displaying Buddhist flags on the stage during Losar (Tibetan New Year) celebration show, according to the information received by the Dharamshala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

The rights group confirmed Gephel was taken from his hometown, Muge in Zungchu County on the evening of January 24 and released in the afternoon of January 26. Upon his release, the authorities charged him with a fine of 50,000 yuan and ordered him to attend the weekly ‘political education’ session. 

As the chief organiser of the event, Gephel was imposed a huge fine for his alleged separatist activity at the New Year show; for not using Chinese flags; and for performing Tibetan dances and songs in Tibetan language. He was also criminalised for not featuring any propaganda songs in praise of the Party or the government. But the order to attend the political education session every week came after he refused the mandatory display of the Communist Chinese flags and for the show’s presenter to speak in Chinese Mandarin at all future events, TCHRD revealed. 

The Tibetan rights group said Gephel was condemned for engaging in activities deemed to be splitting the Chinese nation by the authorities. The police also accused him of breaking the law by displaying the Buddhist flags, which according to the officials, was same as the banned Tibetan national flag despite repeatedly explaining that the Buddhist symbolised universal values of peace, compassion, and wisdom and had nothing to do with splitting the nation. 

The show was organised on the third day of the Tibetan Losar in Muge. The compulsion to use the Chinese language during the show was absurd since the majority of the audience were local Tibetan nomads, a source close to TCHRD said. Forcing Tibetans to speak Chinese violates both domestic legal provisions and international human rights law under Article 18(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 1(1) of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Tolerance and of Discrimination.  

One Response

  1. Hey , it’s ” all forms of Intolerance ” not all forms of tolerance. Please correct for Tibetam monks and nuns and others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *