Rinchen Kyi protest

Human rights experts challenge China over prisoners

Rinchen Kyi was among the political prisoners raised by the six United Nations special rapporteurs

A communication to the Chinese government by a group of six United Nation human rights experts has been made public, raising concern over the arrest, enforced disappearance and ongoing detention of three Tibetans.

Among the three cases raised by the human rights experts was Rinchen Kyi, the teacher who was detained in August 2021 in Golog Prefecture in eastern Tibet (under the occupation, Golog is under the jurisdiction of Qinghai Province). Rinchen Kyi’s arrest came one month after the decision by local authorities in Qinghai Province to close Sengdruk Taktse Middle School, the school where she taught and where children were educated in the Tibetan language. The decision reportedly affected Rinchen Kyi deeply.

Following her arrest, Rinchen Kyi was charged with “inciting separatism”. She was then taken to a hospital in Xining City, despite no signs of any illness. This was the last place she was known to have been before her disappearance. Since then there has been no news about her location or whereabouts.

Over 2,000 people have written to Chinese embassies and local authorities in Qinghai to demand that Rinchen Kyi be released. A vigil was also held by Free Tibet and the Tibetan community for Rinchen Kyi on 30 August, to mark the International Day of the Disappeared.

The other two cases raised were that of Lhundrup Drakpa, arrested in May 2019, and the writer Lobsang Lhundrup, arrested a month later. Lhundrup Drakpa’s arrest was connected to the release of his song Black Hat, which contains lyrics critical of Chinese repression in Tibet, including his native Driru County. According to sources, Lobsang Lhundup, also known by his pen name Dhi Lhaden, was arrested due to his political writings including his criticism of Chinese policies in Tibet.

In the joint communication, originally sent on 17 February 2022, the UN experts asked China to explain the legal grounds for the three arbitrary detentions and to disclose the fate, health status and whereabouts of the three political prisoners.

The letter was signed by Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and Special Rapporteur on minority issues.

We are Free Tibet, and we stand with Tibetans around the world. For their homeland, for their future and against China’s brutal occupation.