In May 2018, Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of “inciting separatism”. The Chinese authorities have never produced any evidence of him having committed a crime.
Tashi Wangchuk is a shopkeeper from eastern Tibet. He became concerned about the risks to the Tibetan language when local Tibetan classes given by monks were closed down, leaving his nieces with no other options to learn their native language.
He resolved to challenge the Chinese authorities for their failure to provide education in Tibetan, travelling to Beijing to file a lawsuit against the local government. His journey was the subject of an article and video documentary by the New York Times.
In January 2016, two months after the article was published, Tashi Wangchuk disappeared, with no information given to his family about his whereabouts or condition. It was later revealed that he had been arrested. After two years in detention, he finally stood trial in January 2018, accused of “inciting separatism”. The New York Times documentary was screened at his trial. Four months later, the court issued a guilty verdict and sentenced him to five years in prison.
Tashi Wangchuk has committed no crime under Chinese or international law and should be immediately freed. Contact the Chinese Minister of Justice urging them to work for Tashi Wangchuk’s release.