Golog Jigme is one of the most significant Tibetan activist to escape from Tibet since the Tibetan Uprising in 2008. His resistance, persecution, torture and escape in Chinese-occupied Tibet is both a remarkable personal story and a deep insight into Tibet under Chinese rule.
After breaking out from a Chinese jail in 2012, he spent twenty months on the run, being sheltered by Tibetans at huge risk to themselves. He secretly crossed the border to India in May 2014 and moved to Switzerland in 2015.
Golog Jigme was arrested in 2008 for helping to make the powerful documentary film ‘Leaving Fear Behind’ with Dhondup Wangchen. In the film Tibetans in Tibet speak frankly about the Chinese occupation and the Beijing Olympic of 2008. Both Golog Jigme and Dhondup Wangchen were jailed before completing the film, but the footage was smuggled out of China to be edited. It was released to a room of journalists in Beijing prior to the opening of the Olympics in 2008.
Jailed three times between 2008 and 2012, he was brutally tortured, including being chained to the chimney of a burning stove and to an iron chair where he faced beatings and electric shocks. In exile, he told Tibet Watch:
“Whenever I remember that chair I feel scared, even to this day. I felt like it would be better to die than survive being tortured on that chair. I was kept on the chair days and nights. At one point, my feet got swollen and, to my horror, all my toenails fell off.”
He was arrested again in 2009 for allegedly sharing information with the outside world about the Tibetan Uprising in 2008 and then in 2012, jailed again on a charge of inciting Tibetan self-immolation protests. Believing that he was to be killed in hospital, he managed to escape from jail. While he was on the run, the authorities charged him with murder but their nationwide manhunt was a failure after Tibetans protected him for nearly two years.
Golog Jigme has continued his activism for Tibet since reaching exile. In Switzerland, he has given testimony to the United Nations Human Rights Council. He is now a key member of the Tibet Advocacy Coalition and works to raise key issues directly at the Human Rights Council, and with UN experts and Governments.