"The Chinese authorities consider us worse than animals"

30th May 2014

Escaped political prisoner talks to Tibet Watch

Update July 2014: Tibet Watch have published their interview with Golog Jigme in full, read An Interview with Golog Jigme Gyatso (PDF) Golog Jigme (also known as Jigme Gyatso) escaped to India this month after more than a year on the run from the authorities in Tibet. He has given a detailed interview to Free Tibet’s research partner Tibet Watch about his experiences inside Tibet.

Tortured in Tibet

In 2008, he participated in peaceful protests against China and helped Dhondup Wangchen compile his film Leaving Fear Behind – a courageous series of interviews with Tibetans speaking frankly about the Chinese occupation. He was arrested in March 2008 and endured more than six months of mental and physical torture. As well as beatings, he was tied up and hung above the ground for up to 10 hours at a time. This has left him with ongoing pain in his back and legs. He told Tibet Watch:

"My entire body has now become like a motorcycle that doesn’t work. This is evidence of how the Chinese are torturing and oppressing the Tibetans under their regime."

Golog Jigme was arrested again in 2009 and kept in prison again for three months, enduring more beatings and torture. In September 2012, after self-immolation protests had become widespread in Tibet (and common in his area) he was arrested again, accused of “inciting” the protests. Believing that the Chinese planned to kill him on a visit to a hospital, he escaped the prison a week later. He told Tibet Watch:

"The Chinese authorities, police and armed forces consider us worse than animals, especially in the prisons and torture centres where we are victims of their training, torture weapons and sadistic acts. I was unable to die but that doesn't imply that they didn't make any effort to kill me."

Helped by Tibetans

After escaping the prison, Golog Jigme was on the run for twenty months, helped by Tibetans who sheltered and fed him, despite a large reward being offered for information about him. This month he escaped to India but told Tibet Watch:

"My body has arrived in a land of freedom but my heart is more troubled because in Tibet I could at least involve myself in activities to resist injustice and here the feeling of helplessness surrounds me. This pains me more than breathing a free atmosphere."

Take action

Earlier this month Golog Jigme was among 100 “Information Heroes” honoured by Reporters Without Borders for World Press Freedom Day. Golog Jigme's hardship is not an isolated case; the suffering and courage of Tibetans deserves the world’s support. Contact the Foreign minister where you live to demand that they speak up for Tibet.