EU raises Tibet and torture with China

Li Junhua, leader of the Chinese delegation
Li Junhua, leader of the Chinese delegation (
3rd December 2015

Questions came during EU-China Human Rights Dialogue

Torture in China and the rights of 'minorities', including Tibetans, were among the topics raised at the latest Human Rights Dialogue between China and the European Union this week. A press release posted on the EU’s website yesterday gave brief details of the discussions, which were held in Beijing on 30 November and 1 December.

In the lead up to the dialogue, Free Tibet encouraged supporters to send emails to Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, urging the EU delegation to press China on torture and ill-treatment in prisons in Tibet. The Director of Free Tibet, Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren, also sent a letter to the EU, asking them to raise Free Tibet’s concerns and to make their full discussion on human rights with China public.

The press release from the previous dialogue between the EU and China in December 2014 notably did not list torture among the issues that were discussed. The EU-China dialogue process, which has been ongoing for 20 years, has also been criticised in the past for a lack of clear benchmarks, concrete results and publicly available information.

New Torture in Tibet campaign

Last month Free Tibet launched its new campaign, Stop Torture in Tibet. It also sent representatives to Geneva to speak at the Committee Against Torture, where China’s record on torture was challenged by a panel of independent experts. Free Tibet’s petition to the Chinese Minister of Justice to stop torture in Tibet has already attracted well over a thousand signatures.

Despite torture being banned under Chinese law, Free Tibet has documented numerous cases of Tibetan prisoners being subjected to a range of torture techniques as well as cruel and degrading treatment. There are no known cases of officials responsible for torture being punished.  Free Tibet’s latest report (PDF), written jointly with Tibet Watch and Tibetan political prisoner organisation Gu-Chu-Sum, provides evidence of the ongoing and widespread use of torture in Tibet, including testimonies by torture survivors.

News of further arrests

Inside Tibet, two Tibetan monks were arrested on 30 November at the Kirti monastery in Ngaba County, eastern Tibet. The two monks, named Lobsang Gephel and Drukda, were arrested separately and the charges against them are unknown. Lobsang Gephel is a former political prisoner, having previously spent two years in prison between 2011 and 2013. Drukda was previously imprisoned for one year in 2008.

Kirti monks are regularly involved in protests and the monastery is subject to close monitoring and repression by security forces.

Stop Torture in Tibet

Tibetan prisoners are frequently cut off from the outside world. In such conditions they face a real risk of torture in prison. Call on China to stop torture in Tibet.