Tibetan Man Imprisoned for Posting ‘illegal’ Content on Wechat in 2014
Tashi Gayal shared photographs of the Dalai Lama which are banned in Tibet by the Chinese government
On 13 October 2020, a Tibetan man was imprisoned for one year, accused of separatist activity on WeChat dating back to 2014 and 2015. This information was obtained from an overseas Chinese human rights NGO and reported by Free Tibet’s research partner, Tibet Watch.
Tashi Gayal is a 50-year-old nomad from Ragya town, in Machen County, Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, eastern Tibet. He was summoned for interrogation at the local police station on 16 May 2020 and detained for 15 days. His detention was extended leading to his arrest by the authorities on 12 June 2020. Tashi’s trial was held secretly in the Court without any public hearing. His mobile phone was confiscated and he has been barred from exercising any political rights for a year during his imprisonment.
Tashi was charged with ‘inciting separatism’ by the Golog People’s Intermediate Court, for downloading and posting photographs and other media on his WeChat group. He posted photographs and lectures of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan National flag and Lobsang Sangay (exiled head of the Central Tibetan Administration) in May and October 2014.
Similar content was posted again on 1 January 2015. On 1 March, which is a sensitive month for the National Uprising anniversary, he posted a New Year greeting video calling for ”Tibetan Independence’’. On 2 November 2015, he posted images and videos of the Dalai Lama and Lobsang Sangay, in which he expressed hope for “the return of the 14th Dalai Lama to Tibet”.
Local authorities forwarded this content for verification to the Press and Publication Bureau of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Quality Inspection Centre of TAR, who declared that the content related to ”endangering national sovereignty, and security and territorial integrity”.
Information supplied by Tibet Watch