Respected Tibetan monk Khenpo Kartse released from prison at end of sentence
Report byON JULY 18, 2016
Khenpo Kartse, the popular and respected religious teacher whose detention in 2013 sparked peaceful protests and a silent prayer vigil, has been released after serving two and a half years in prison.
Khenpo Kartse, whose case became prominent internationally with calls for his release by governments and thousands of Tibet supporters worldwide who petitioned on his behalf, issued a low-key social media posting in Tibetan on following his release in the form of a short poem. In the poem, he said he was moved by the concern that had been demonstrated towards him.
The detention of Khenpo Kartse caused widespread distress, with hundreds of Tibetans gathering peacefully to protest his arrest, and a rare silent vigil on his behalf being held outside the prison in 2014. An image of Khenpo Kartse (Khenpo means abbot and Kartse is the shortened form of his name, Karma Tsewang) handcuffed and in prison uniform circulated on Chinese social media following his initial detention.
Khenpo Kartse, an abbot from Gongya monastery in Nangchen, Yulshul (Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai, is well-known for his environmental activism and support for the preservation of the Tibetan language and culture. He was active in social work following the devastating Yushu earthquake in 2010. He was detained on December 6, 2013 in the provincial capital of Sichuan, Chengdu, and taken to Chamdo (Qamdo or Changdu), where he was apparently sentenced behind closed doors. There was concern for his health in custody as medical problems that were known before his detention went untreated, he was kept in a cold cell and had inadequate food.
Full details are not available about the circumstances or exact date of his release, nor of the exact charges against him, but reports circulating on social media indicated that early reports of a two and a half year sentence were correct. Details about his current health condition are not known, and he is likely to be under very close supervision by the Chinese authorities.
Typically, former prisoners face profound fear and anxiety upon their release, combined with a constant awareness of being under surveillance. Their psychological suffering is often heightened by the knowledge that their family and friends are also under pressure from the authorities. They often suffer from severe financial hardship as they are dependent on their families, often unable to find work due to their status as a former political prisoner. Monks and nuns are not permitted to return to their monasteries or nunneries. Sometimes they cannot afford medical treatment needed following severe torture or years of poor nutrition in prison.
Because they are perceived by the authorities as a threat to the Party-state as a result of the views and actions that led to their sentencing, former prisoners are strictly controlled and isolated, partly in order to create a visible deterrent to other Tibetans who may seek to express views that are counter to those of the Beijing leadership, or those like Khenpo Kartse, who are active in the community and wider society.
Khenpo Kartse’s Chinese lawyer Tang Tianhao traveled several times to Chamdo and was only allowed to meet with him twice, for a short time, according to Radio Free Asia and other sources. Tang Tianhao was later compelled to withdraw from the case due to pressure from the authorities. Following his initial detention, the lawyer was told by Chamdo police that the case involved endangering state security, according to Beijing-based Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser.
Khenpo Kartse’s imprisonment attracted significant international attention, as well as expressions of solidarity and brave vigils by Tibetans in Tibet. Thousands of ICT supporters across the world added their names to petitions for his release and his case was raised by several governments in dialogues on human rights with China.
A Facebook posting on July 15 written by Shiwapa Kunkyab Pasang welcomed Kartse’s release and expressed gratitude “to all who support justice by standing behind oppressed Tibetans in Tibet, including all political prisoners.”
The following poem by Khenpo Kartse appeared in an undated post since his release, translated from Tibetan into English by ICT below.
I am back once more in the human world,
Due to the immeasurable concern, sympathy, support, and well-wishes of you dear ones,
I am back once more in the human world
For the duties that come with strong attachments,
For the paths we have yet to take,
For the common welfare of the human world, and individual aims for the divine,
Healthy in body and sound in mind, I am back once more in the human world
All-knowing Three Jewels,
May the light of freedom shine in our world!
By the one from Yushu, on the occasion of his own birthday
 ICT report, October 22, 2014, https://www.savetibet.org/popular-religious-teacher-khenpo-kartse-sentenced/ Also see:https://www.savetibet.org/rare-vigil-outside-prison-to-support-popular-tibetan-monk/
 Some sources say he was detained on December 7, 2013.
 Radio Free Asia report, July 7, 2016, Tibetan Religious Leader is Freed From Prison After Sentence Ends’
Orignal post by Phayul, 7 June 2014
Chinese authorities in Lithang have prevented local Tibetans from holding a prayer for the long life and welfare of jailed Tibetan spiritual leader Tulku Tenzin Delek on June 2.
Tibetans including monks and laypeople have come together at the Nalanda Theckchen Janghub Choeling for the prayers but were stopped an rebuked by local Chinese authorities.
A Tibetan source said that the Nyagchu County officials have directed the local authorities to stop the prayer for the Tibetan lama jailed on charges related to a series of bombblasts in Kardze. Tulku Tenzin Delek, however, denies all the charges against him saying he had been framed on false allegations by the authorities, and appealed supporters to continue their fight for his release.
Disciples of Tulku Tenzin Delek have also been renovating Tulku’s residential quarters at the monastery but were also asked to stop work. The source said all the local Tibetans including Tulku’s disciples are waiting optimistically to the release of Tulku Tenzin Delek. Exile Tibetans lead by disciples of Tulku have also launched a campaign for his release.
Meanwhile, four Tibetans have been arrested on April 28 but later released after seven days in detention without charges. Akal Dorjee, Ngawang Lobsang, Apha Norbu and Jhangshar Kombey were stopped on their way to the County headquarters to submit a petition calling for the release of Tulku Tenzin Delek, who is serving a life sentence in a Chinese prison.
The four were detained for seven days and released on May 4.Continue reading →
A report by Wall Street Journal – See original post
BEIJING—When European and Chinese diplomats met last year for their annual, often fraught discussion on human rights, the European Union side presented a list of Chinese political prisoners whose cases it thought should be reviewed, as it had done at previous meetings. But this time, the Chinese refused to accept it.
It was a blunt loss of face for the EU diplomats, people familiar with the event said, and illustrated a hardening of China’s position on human rights and the diplomacy around it.
Chinese officials have mostly stopped accepting long lists of its prisoners from foreign advocates of their release, said John Kamm, a businessman-turned-human-rights activist. Even when they do, Western diplomats say, Chinese officials often don’t provide information on the cases, much less release the prisoners. The Chinese foreign ministry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on its policy regarding the lists.
Twenty-five years after the Chinese military quashed democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, a confident Chinese leadership, bolstered by years of robust economic growth, continues to tightly restrict civil liberties with little concern for the disdain of outsiders. The human rights diplomacy that emerged post-crackdown, human rights activists say, is effectively defunct as Beijing sees less need to negotiate with foreign governments over how it treats its own citizens.
Aside from ignoring or flat-out rejecting the lists, Beijing has also suspended many of the annual dialogues on human-rights issues that it held separately with nine governments, according to the diplomats and human-rights researchers. The ones that haven’t been called off, they say, are those with the U.S., the EU and Australia.
In April, Beijing canceled a recently agreed-upon plan with Britain to revive their dormant human-rights dialogue, after the U.K. labeled China as a “country of concern” in its annual report over a range of issues including police torture and restrictions on speech. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying slammed Britain for “rudely slandering and criticizing China’s human-rights situation.”
The U.K. supported a call by nongovernmental organizations to stage a moment of silence at the United Nations Human Rights Commission for Cao Shunli, an activist who died in detention in China. That also fed Beijing’s pique, diplomats said. China’s foreign ministry later criticized what it saw as “mistaken” remarks about Ms. Cao’s case. ”
She received conscientious and proactive treatment during her illness and her legal rights were ensured,” a spokesman for the ministry said.
China has so far refused to schedule this year’s rights dialogue with the U.S., which usually takes place in the summer, according to several people with knowledge of the situation. President Obama angered Beijing by meeting with the exiled Tibetan leader theDalai Lama in February, and the government’s displeasure was compounded by the recent indictments of five Chinese soldiers on charges of cybertheft.
China’s foreign ministry declined to comment on the dialogue. China’s refusal to engage on human rights has real consequences, according to diplomats, rights groups and dissidents. Former prisoners say the foreign lobbying tends to get them better treatment.
Ni Yulan, a lawyer jailed multiple times for protesting forced housing evictions, uses a wheelchair as a result of a beating she suffered while in detention. Police in China have declined to comment on Ms. Ni’s detention and the allegation she was beaten.
Inquiries from the U.S. Embassy, Ms. Ni said, led officials at the Beijing Women’s Prison to provide her with a bed while she was detained in 2009. Previously, she said, she had been forced to sleep on the ground.
The practice of submitting prisoner lists grew out of the aftermath of military assault on June 3 and 4, 1989, to dislodge protesters from Tiananmen Square, and the suppression of demonstrations elsewhere. Hundreds were killed, though a precise number of dead isn’t known. More than 1,500 were imprisoned nationwide.
Western governments, under pressure from outraged citizens, were looking for ways to put human rights on the agenda when they re-engaged with Beijing. Chinese leaders were anxious to end months of being treated as a pariah, and fearful of scaring off foreign investors and derailing the overhaul of its centrally planned economy. Prisoner lists provided a solution. The first such list was submitted ahead of then Secretary of State James Baker’s visit to Beijing in 1991.
Lorne Craner, who served as an Assistant U.S. Secretary of State under George W. Bush, remembers submitting a list of more than 90 names ahead of the U.S.-China human rights dialogue in 2001. Roughly a dozen were later released, including Tibetan nun Ngawang Sangdrol, set free in 2002 after 12 years in prison for advocating Tibetan independence, and Rebiya Kadeer, an activist for the mostly Muslim Uighur minority, who was released in 2005.
“The Chinese would say the releases were unrelated to the lists and I respect that,” Mr. Craner said. “But the fact was that a fair number—I was told a record number—of people on the lists we handed over were getting out.”
As the world’s second largest economy and the biggest trading nation, China can count on economic issues factoring into relations with Western governments, many of which have continued to criticize Beijing for its curbs on free speech and its jailing of political critics, religious activists and campaigners for the rights of Tibetans and Uighurs.
Chinese leaders reject pressure on human rights “because they can, and because there’s no particular penalty for them in doing so,” said Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch. “It’s not, for example, that the British government is going to take something off the table that China wants in response to the human-rights dialogue being suspended.”
China’s weathering of the global financial crisis on top of Beijing’s opulent and widely praised Summer Olympics in 2008 persuaded Chinese leaders that their model was superior, according to diplomats and some analysts. Mr. Kamm, the rights advocate, said he was told that a policy decision was made in 2012 to no longer accept prisoner lists “either in the run-up to or during” human rights dialogues.
The rights dialogues, when held, have become increasingly stilted and marginalized, say the diplomats who take part in them. China’s foreign ministry has taken to holding them in far-flung locales, away from the scrutiny of activists and journalists. Last year’s EU dialogue was held in Guizhou, one of China’s poorest provinces, and the last U.S. dialogue, in July, took place in the southwestern city of Kunming.Continue reading →
Dhondup Wangchen, after six years in prison, thanks his family, friends and supporters for their tireless efforts and hopes to see them soon.
Reproduced Press Release originally posted by Filming For Tibet
Dharamsala | Zurich | San Francisco, June 5, 2014 –
Dhondup Wangchen, the imprisoned Tibetan video-activist, was released from prison in Qinghai’s provincial capital Xining this morning after serving a six year sentence. After some discussion with the authorities, he was finally driven by the police to Khotse (in Chinese, Keque, about two hours drive away from Xining) where he reached his sister’s home after at around 15.00hrs local time.(1)
In a phone call to Gyaljong Tsetrin, cousin and president of Filming For Tibet, living in Switzerland, a very emotional Dhondup Wangchen said: “At this moment, I feel that everything inside me is in a sea of tears. I hope to recover my health soon. I would like to express my feeling of deepest gratitude for all the support I received while in prison and I want to be reunited with my family.”
Lhamo Tso, wife of the imprisoned filmmaker who was granted US asylum in 2012 and now lives in San Francisco, is overjoyed: “Six years of injustice and painful counting the days ended today. It is a day of unbelievable joy for his parents in Dharamsala, our children and myself. We look forward to be reunited as a family.”
Gyaljong Tsetrin, his cousin and co-producer of “Leaving Fear Behind”, said after talking him to: “Though Dhondup is still under the control of the Chinese authorities I am very relieved that he finally could leave prison and has now the possibility to consult a doctor.”
Dhondup Wangchen’s case is known internationally. He has been awarded by various international organisations such as Committee to Protect Journalists for his courageous work making the documentary “Leaving Fear Behind” and his case was the focal point of many campaigns of international human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders. Government representatives around the world have brought up his case in their talks with their Chinese counterparts.
The self-taught cameraman and video-activist travelled across Tibet with his assistant Golog Jigme in 2007/2008. His film “Leaving Fear Behind” (28 min.) has been translated into a dozen languages and has been screened in more than 30 countries worldwide. Golog Jigme recently just arrived in India after a spectacular escape from Tibet.
Dhondup Wangchen (born 1974 in Bayen, in Qinghai/Tibet/China) was sentenced to six years in prison on 28 December 2009. He was transferred on 6 April 2010 to the Xichuan prison, a labour camp concealed as an industrial manufacturer under the name of “Qinghai Xifa Water and Electricity Equipment Manufacture Installment Limited Liability Company”.(2) In March 2012 he was put in solitary confinement for approximately six months and was transferred in January 2013 in an unusual move to the Qinghai Provincial Women’s Prison(3), the main prison for women in Qinghai province where he was the only male Tibetan political prisoner.
(1) Khotse (ཁོ་ཚེ), (in Chinese, 科却 Keque) Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/9MRH4 ;
(2) Xichuan Labor Camp on Google Map: http://tinyurl.com/xichuan-prison.
(3) Address Qinghai Provincial Women’s Prison: 青海省女子监狱：青海省西宁市城中区南山路40号，邮政编码 810000
Lhamo Tso, San Francisco (Tibetan only, +1 (510) 681-3244 (please remind Pacific Time!)
Gyaljong Tsetrin, Zurich (Tibetan only) +41 76 462 67 68
Dechen Pemba, London (English, Tibetan) +44 74633 62253
Wangpo Tethong, Zurich (German, Tibetan) +41 78 744 30 10
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