New details emerge about Tashi Wangchuk’s status

Tashi Wangchuk
Tashi Wangchuk

1st July 2016

Free Tibet urges supporters to send Tashi Wangchuk messages of solidarity

The whereabouts of the detained language campaigner Tashi Wangchuk have been confirmed online by a lawyer who appears to have taken up his case. In a tweet last week, the Chinese human rights lawyer Liang Xiaojun stated that he is being held in Yushu Detention Centre, located in his home county in eastern Tibet.

Tashi Wangchuk became an advocate for bilingual education throughout Tibet after local monasteries were forced to cancel their Tibetan classes, leaving his niece without a place to learn the Tibetan language. His concerns that Tibetan children would not able to reach fluency in their own language prompted him to travel to Beijing in the hope of filing a lawsuit ensuring that authorities provided Tibetan language teaching. His cause received international attention after it became the subject of a nine-minute documentary by the New York Times.

A month after the documentary was released, Tashi Wangchuk was arrested. His family were not permitted to visit him and were not informed of the reason for his arrest until 30 March, when he was charged with “inciting separatism”. A date has still not been set for his trial yet.

Yushu Detention Centre, where Tashi Wangchuk is being held

Questions raised in UK

Meanwhile the British government has confirmed that it will raise Tashi Wangchuk’s case in its next meeting with the Chinese government. The commitment was made by the minister responsible for UK relations with China, Hugo Swire, in response to a parliamentary question on 10 June from the MP David Mackintosh.

Free Tibet has been encouraging supporters to write to their foreign ministers, asking them to raise Tashi Wangchuk's case with their Chinese counterparts. In April supporters signed Free Tibet’s petition to the local authorities in Yushu, where Tashi Wangchuk is arrested, calling on them to immediately release him. The petition generated nearly 3,000 signatures within a month.

Solidarity campaign

Free Tibet is now encouraging supporters to write messages of solidarity to Tashi Wangchuk in detention. Political prisoners in Tibet serve long sentences and are frequently cut off from contact with the outside world, with little or no access to family members and medical treatment. In these secret conditions they risk being subjected to torture and ill-treatment. Writing to political prisoners lets the prisoner know that they are not alone and also sends a message to those running the prison that the world is watching.

Take action

Solidarity messages can be written to Tashi Wangchuk by following the link below. If you have not already done so, please also write to your Minister of Foreign Affairs, asking them to raise his case with the Chinese government.