Bangri Chogtrul Rinpoche

Release Bangri Chogtrul Rinpoche

Bangri Chogtrul RinpocheBangri Chogtrul Rinpoche is a senior Tibetan Buddhist teacher and a respected social worker. He has been serving a life sentence imposed on him in 1999 on the charge of ‘attempting to split the country’. Before his arrest, he had worked to give unfortunate young children a chance to compete in society by setting up a school and that seemed to be the cause of his imprisonment.

Bangri Chogtrul Rinpoche and his wife Nyima Choedron set up a school in Lhasa in mid-1990s which housed and schooled poor and orphans children in and around Lhasa area. At the time of his arrest, the Gyatso had sixty children and increasing. The children were either orphans or from very poor families, thus lacking basic survival support and a prospect in future. When Rinpochi was arrested, Gyatso School was closed and sadly many of its children were forced to beg on the street.

Bangri Rinpoche was linked to an incident in August 1999 when a Tibetan carpenter named Tashi Tsering made an unsuccessful attempt to raise Tibetan flag and thereafter detonate explosives attached to his body. The carpenter was under contract to build a roof in order to expand the school for more children. This led to the arrest of staffs at the Gyatso School and closure of the school.

Tashi Tsering was arrested and according to official Chinese government report, he killed himself in his cell in February 2000. Several staff from the Gyatso school and relatives of Tashi Tsering were also arrested following the incident and have now been released. Bangri Rinpoche’s wife Nyima Choedron was also arrested and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. Bangri Rinpoche has reported been weakened since the arrest and he is in very poor state of health.

This case reflects the malice tactic of Chinese authority in targeting Tibetans who are involved in empowering Tibetans and promoting Tibetan cultural heritage, language, and religion.

Update March 2006: Bangri Chogrul’s life sentence was commuted to a fixed term of 19 years, due to be completed in 2021. Nyima Choedron was released early on February 26, 2006.

Ngawang Phulchung

Release Ngawang Phulchung

Ngawang PhulchungNgawang Phulchung (b. 1965), a monk belonging to Drepung Monastery, was detained in 1989 and continues to serve a 19-year sentence at Drapchi prison for organizing a “counter-revolutionary clique”.

This so-called ‘clique’ has been dubbed the “Group of Ten” and includes 10 Drepung monks who joined forces after being released from an initial detention following pro-independence protests in 1987. All 10 members of the group were arrested in 1989. Charged with “undermining national security” the group received sentencings in a forced public gathering (which included 1500 Tibetans) on November 30th, 1989. Additionally, the public sentencing was broadcast on television, assuring wide dissemination of the message voiced by Chinese authorities: “Let the sentence of Ngawang Phulchung serve as a stern warning for separatists, both at home and abroad, that those who split the motherland will come to no good end.”

The Drepung monks’ ‘crimes’ included printing copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Labeled the leader of the ‘clique’, Ngawang was charged with “spreading counter-revolutionary propaganda” and for “collecting intelligence and passing it on to the enemy”. For these he was sentenced to 19 years in prison and 5 years deprivation of political rights. Of the original 10 Tibetan monks arrested in 1989, 8 have been released and one, Kelsang Thutop, died in prison in 1996, likely the result of mistreatment and malnutrition. The crimes for which these men continue to suffer are limited to the peaceful exertion of what should be, an inherent right. They engaged in non-violent political activities and for these they have suffered excessive and unjust consequences.

Update November 2007: Ngawang Phulchung was released from Chushul Prison (Ch: Qushui Prison) around 21 October 2007.

TWA Appeal To Boycott Chinese Goods

The story of Tibet is a tragic story of a peaceful, innocent and a deeply religious nation colonised by its neighbor China in 1949. In the aftermath of the occupation, thousands of Tibetans were killed and imprisoned, monasteries and religious sculptures demolished and stockpiles of sacred scriptures burnt. The tragedy still continues.

But the world is turning a blind eye to the brutalities committed in Tibet by the Chinese. Many powerful western governments had from time to time issued verbal condemnations and passed resolutions in an attempt to censure China’s human rights record in Tibet. But nothing seems to move China; accustomed as it is in turning a deaf ear and outrageously violating international conventions and treaties. Many favour not to take any risks since China is an economic giant: censuring China may affect their business interests.

China prides itself in being an economic and military super power; in fact this very fact emboldens it to commit large-scale human rights violations in Tibet. However, it is high time the Tibetans and the international community took forceful economic action coupled with political action against China. It is China’s economic and business power that enables it to fund various repressive and destructive policies in Tibet and China.

In recent times, the influx of cheap Chinese goods in Indian market has been a course for concern among the Indian policy makers, industralists, and business. The Indian consumers have discovered the deceptive joy of possessing cheap Chinese electric gadgets, crockery and toys. This development will have serious implications on the Indian market and industry. It will further worsen the ever-increasing unexployment rate in these countries.

In an honest endeavour to make a dent in China’s bludgeoning economic might and to raise awareness on human rights violation in Tibet, TWA will launch a mass boycott movement against Chinese goods. We believe that this kind of mass movement will best succeed when started at the grass-root level. The action of each and every consumer matters much in this case. Avoid buying and using any kind of goods with ‘made in China’ tags. The consumer has the right to know where your money goes. Every cheap Chinese goods you buy goes as a contribution to rights violation of Tibetans and millions of Chinese people. Chinese goods come cheap since human life for the Chinese authorities is cheap.

We strongly urge Tibetans, Tibet supporters worldwide, as well as the people of the world, to offer their cooperation in making this movement a success. For Tibetans, the initiative must come naturally and personally. Think about events of 1959 when Chinese committed large-scale genocide in Tibet; the Cultural Revolution of 1969 and the present worsening situation in Tibet and you will know it’s your natural responsibility and duty as a Tibetan to avoid using Chinese goods especially those ubiquitous thermos flasks and tea cups.

In the name of human rights, democracy and global peace, we request you all to promise yourself and take the personal oath that from now onwards you will not use Chinese goods and contribute your money to further rights violations and aggravate sufferings in Tibet and China.