PRESS ADVISORY: May 24, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
China’s Verdict on Tibetan Advocate Tashi Leads to Global Condemnations, Outrage
NEW YORK – Tibetans and local supporters – gathered en masse to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Tibetan shopkeeper and language advocate Tashi Wangchuk, who has been sentenced to five years in prison by Chinese authorities. Tashi stood trial in January of this year after two years of arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities for the New York Times’ documentary on his legal challenge to China on language policies affecting Tibetans.
Mr. Tashi, 33, was arrested in early 2016, two months after he was featured in a New York Times video and article about Tibetan language education. He stood trial in January this year, charged with “inciting separatism” for comments he had made to The Times.
The protests follow condemnations and expressions of concern by the E.U., Canada, France, and the U.S. among key world governments. At the Chinese Consulate, Tibetans flags and banners calling for ‘Free Tashi Wangchuk’ could be seen across the road from the entrance.
“By following China’s constitution and documenting the roadblocks he faced in bringing the government to court on language policies, Tashi has placed a magnifying glass on the absence of rule of law in China, and exposed China’s racist policies against Tibetans.” said Dorjee Tseten, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet. “We condemn China’s unjust sentence on Tashi Wangchuk, and call for his immediate and unconditional release. Tashi has not given up hope and neither have we.”
Ngawang Tharchin, President of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of New York and New Jersey, expressed his outrage at the result, saying, “Tibetans are persecuted in so many ways, and today, we find that those who demand something as basic as protection for their mother language are being jailed.” He added, “China’s oppression only looks to get worse, and world leaders and the general public must step up to stop the decay of human rights and democracy worldwide thanks to China’s influence.”
Sonam Wangdu, Chairman of the U.S. Tibet Committee and one of the first Tibetan settlers in New York, expressed his dismay at Tashi’s sentence. “Tashi Wangchuk’s campaign is for Tibetan language, but it also represents a campaign for the Tibetan people’s survival in today’s world under Chinese occupation,” he said. “Decades after Tiananmen Square, China has refused to abide by international human rights standards, imprisoning peaceful, law-abiding Tibetans and dissidents at will,” he added.
The organizers are calling for an immediate and unconditional release of Tashi Wangchuk, and have a petition at sfthq.cc/TashiPetition for his appeal. Similar protests for Tashi Wangchuk are taking place and being planned in other cities around the world.
Urgyen Badheytsang: 4133108160 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dorjee Tseten: 6467533889 email@example.com