Jigme Guri (Labrang Jigme)
- Summary: A senior monk who recorded a video statement about his arrest and torture
- Charge: ‘Splittism’
- Sentence: Unknown
- Prison: Public Security Bureau Detention Centre, Hezuo
- Status: An arrest warrant was issued on 1 January 2012, after four months in detention
Jigme Guri (also known as Labrang Jigme or Jigme Gyatso) is a senior monk at Labrang monastery in Amdo (Ch: Gansu Province). In March 2008 he was violently detained by Chinese armed police. Following a 42-day detention, during which time he was beaten unconscious, he recorded a video (and uploaded it to YouTube) about his arrest, torture and the wider crackdown in Tibet. On returning to his monastery, after several weeks in hiding, he was again detained and held for six months without charge.
On 20 August 2011, Jigme Guri was re-arrested in Tsoe city (Ch: Hezou), Kanlho Prefecture. Sources say that before his arrest police and security personnel raided his room checking his belongings including his computer system and removing CDs. Approximately ten monks and a number of other individuals were present during Jigme’s arrest. They asked the police the reason for his arrest but the police did not answer.
On 17 February Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported that a warrant for his arrest had been issued on 1 January 2012. The warrant states that Jigme Guri is charged with engaging in activities aimed at splitting the country. Further details about his arrest: “Jigme was arrested in the evening of 20 August 2011 by around 40 police officers of the Public Security Bureau from a hotel called ‘Z-hong Yan’ in Tsoe city, Kanlho Prefecture. Police officers raided his room and seized around 30 portraits of the Dalai Lama, two computer systems and two laptops.”
In his 2008 video statement Jigme Guri describes the extreme torture and mistreatment he experienced during his first detention as well as his views on China’s devastating policies in Tibet and a possible resolution.
Below are some translated extracts from his video testimony. A full translation can be read here.
“This is the case of a powerful nationality harassing and oppressing a small nationality, a big nation making weapons to kill a small nationality; if they are doing such things at the lower levels, it goes without saying that they are doing worse things to us at higher levels. The way they oppress and murder Tibetans, and can utter such words while aiming guns [at us], stunned me. By telling us that Tibetans could be killed and our dead bodies dumped in the trash and that nobody would know – we are not even treated like dogs and pigs. If other people’s dogs and pigs are killed, there will be somebody to claim them. Then why won’t Tibetans be claimed after death? We are ordered not to claim our fellow Tibetans’ bodies even after death. At that time, I realized that there is no racial equality.”
“Tibetan people are undergoing all kinds of suffering. For me personally, I am a Buddhist monk at Labrang monastery. I was one of those arrested this year. I said this to the face of my captors: if you kill me, then that will be the end of it. But if I am able to go outside and get the opportunity, I will talk about the torture I went through; I will tell the people of the world as a truthful witness, about the sufferings undergone by friends and report these to the media.”
“Even when I was released, I was told not to tell that I was beaten; I was warned not to contact anyone outside. But I cannot just keep quiet about the tortures I went through, nor the suffering borne by friends. This is also my reason for telling you this today. Still there is a harsh crackdown taking place in Tibetan areas and restrictions on the movement of Tibetans.”
“In this 21st century, the people of the world are walking on the path to world peace. The peace-loving people and the supporters of truth should expose China for blocking the media and restricting reporters from seeing what is going on inside Tibet. I would like the world’s press, the United Nations and human rights organizations to pay attention and find a solution to the current dire situation for the Tibetan people. You can pressure China to conduct meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s representatives for a mutually beneficial solution to the Tibet-China issue.”
“It is the hope and wish of the Tibetans inside Tibet to invite the Dalai Lama to Tibet. The Chinese Communist Party has stated that stability and unity are important goals for the nation. Now if both the Dalai Lama and the CCP work together to solve the Tibet-China issue through dialogue for the mutual benefit of both the Chinese and Tibetans, there is no reason why genuine and long lasting peace, stability and unity cannot be achieved.”