Former political prisoner beaten by government staff

Former political prisoner and Tibetan language rights activist Tashi Wangchuk, was beaten for posting a video of government staff refusing his business license registration.

Free Tibet’s research partner Tibet Watch has established that Former Tibetan political prisoner and language rights activist Tashi Wangchuk was detained and beaten by Chinese police personnel on 17 October after he posted a video of government staff refusing his request for business license registration. 

Tashi Wangchuk opened a car wash shop on 17 October in Yushu City and, upon the local police’s instruction, went to the Yushu City People’s Government to apply for a license for his new business. His request was refused, which he filmed and later posted as status on his WeChat account.

He was then arrested by the Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau (城管执法大队) and handed over to the Yushu City Public Security Bureau (PSB), where he was kept under detention for three days and subjected to interrogation. The head of Yushu PSB and the Vice Mayor, Zhi Husai (冶胡赛 ), brutally beat him, and Tashi’s shop was also forcibly shut down.

He was told that he had committed a crime against the state by posting the video on his WeChat. ” But I can’t accept it because it’s my right and freedom of speech. I don’t know why they [the police] again put such a black-hat on my head (meaning falsely accusing someone of wrongdoing).”

Earning a livelihood remains increasingly difficult for former political prisoners who are also deprived of their political rights. Even after their release from prison, they are subjected to constant surveillance and harassment by security officials. 

Tashi Wangchuk is a herder-turned-shopkeeper who came to international prominence in late 2015 after appearing in the New York Times article and documentary about his solo advocacy to file a lawsuit against local authorities after local Tibetan classes were shut down. Even after serving a five-year sentence, he continues advocating for the Tibetan language at government offices and monitoring schools that are replacing Tibetan textbooks in favour of Chinese. A month ago, he was attacked by a group of unidentified, masked men after he posted a video of himself near a Tibetan school.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch

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