Demand freedom for Ngawang Gyaltsen


Ngawang Gyaltsen is from Tarchen Township, Nagchu County in the Tibet Autonomous Region. He is a well-known artist who was formerly a monk at Shag Rongpo monastery.  He was arrested on 24 February 2015. His arrest and detention were executed in secret, leaving his family to believe that he had disappeared.

In March 2015, Ngawang Gyaltsen was found to be being secretly detained in at a detention centre in Nagchu, but his current whereabouts and conditions are unknown.  No official reason for his arrest has been given. 

Ngawang Gyaltsen had formerly studied thangka (Buddhist) painting at Shag Rongpo monastery, where he was a monk, but left the monastery to live as a layperson after being harassed and subjected to heavy surveillance by the Chinese government officials at the monastery.  Ngawang Gyaltsen had had disagreements with the government officials over a re-education campaign for the monks and nuns. He continued to be harassed by the authorities after his departure from Shag Rongpo, and was forbidden to travel or meet with friends and family without government authorisation.

Dear Losang Jamcan

I am contacting you to raise the case of Ngawang Gyaltsen. Ngawang Gyaltsen was arrested in February 2015 and has not been seen since. According to our information he has not yet been tried.

Ngawang Gyaltsen is a monk and artist from Shag Rongpo Monastery in Nagchu County. Prior to his arrest he had been subjected to close surveillance by government authorities, and prevented from travelling and meeting friends and family without government authorisation. There is no public record of Ngawang Gyaltsen committing an internationally-recognised crime.

I urge you to do everything within your power in your capacity as Chairman of the Communist Party in the Tibet Autonomous Region to ensure that Ngawang Gyaltsen is either charged with a recognisable offence and given a fair trial, or immediately and unconditionally released.  So long as he remains in prison, I also call on you to guarantee that he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, that he has access to a lawyer of his choice, and that he has access to family members and any medical treatment that he may require, as required under China’s Human Rights Action Plan and the Prison Law of the People’s Republic of China.

Yours sincerely

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