UN experts denounce imprisonment of Tashi Wangchuk

23rd February 2018

“We urge the Chinese authorities to release Mr. Wangchuk immediately” says UN human rights Special Rapporteurs 

Six Special Rapporteurs from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) have called for the immediate release of Tashi Wangchuk.

Tashi Wangchuk was targeted by Chinese authorities after he was interviewed by the New York Times for a documentary which highlighted his work promoting the Tibetan language. A few months after the feature was published he was arrested and accused of inciting separatism despite him insisting that his work was not political but solely about preserving Tibetan culture.

Human rights and Tibet groups, including Free Tibet, have followed Tashi Wangchuk’s case closely since he was detained in January 2016. After years in prison his trial was only conducted at the beginning of the year and so far no verdict has been announced.

Given the severity which China deals with those charged with ‘incitement to separatism’ it is feared that he could be given a prison sentence for as long as 15 years.

While the court is yet to make its final decision this statement will no doubt put further pressure on the Chinese authorities. In the statement the UN experts said:

“We condemn the continued detention of Mr. Wangchuk and the criminalization of his freedom of expression as well as his right to stand and speak up for what he perceives as human rights violations in his region and country,”

Free exchange of views about State policies, including criticism against policies and actions that appear to have a negative impact on the lives of people need to be protected and further encouraged

This strongly worded statement follows a document (Opinion 69/2017) produced by the UNHRC Working Group on Arbitrary Detention which challenged the accusation of separatism levelled at Tashi Wangchuk, condemned his prolonged detention and defended his right to speak to the New York Times and promote Tibetan culture.

Additionally, calls for Tashi Wangchuk’s immediate release have also come from a number of non-governmental organisations and, in a resolution adopted in January 2018, the European Union.

Take Action for Tashi Wangchuk

The Chinese authorities are well aware of the international attention that Tashi Wangchuk’s case has generated. Free Tibet and our supporters have worked with diplomats and foreign ministries around the world to call for his release. Now we need to press the Chinese authorities directly.

Write to the Chinese Minister of Justice and tell him that Tashi Wangchuk must be immediately released.