Eight-year-old excluded from school due to father's political activities

Shomu Palden, father of Namkyi Dolma, in hospital
Shomu Palden, father of Namkyi Dolma, in hospital
21st December 2017

Namgyal Dolma's father was arrested for his role in protests in 2008

A former political prisoner and his family in Machu County, eastern Tibet, appear to be the subject of collective punishment from local authorities, who are denying his daughter access to education.

Namgyal Dolma, who recently turned eight years old, has been prevented from enrolling in a local school, officially on the grounds that her date of birth is incorrect in local records. However, according to local sources, the real reason that she has been denied access to education is that she is the daughter of former political prisoner Shonu Palden.

Local village officials are yet to correct Namgyal Dolma’s date of birth, despite repeated applications from her family. An application submitted to local officials by Shonu Palden on 9 May this year read:

“My name is Palden and my ID number is 623025197704191536. My daughter Namgyal Dolma was born on 03 November 2009, but we had mistakenly entered the birth date as 03 November 2011. We request your authorities to kindly correct her date of birth. “

The Chinese Constitution and the Compulsory Education Law both require that every child undergoes nine years of school education.

An application submitted by Namkyi Dolma's family, requesting that her date of birth is corrected in local records

"Sins" of the father

Shonu Palden was arrested on the suspicion of spearheading protests in Machu County in 2008. An order for his arrest was issued in 2011 but he managed to evade arrest until 18 June 2012, when he was seized by Chinese security personnel in a restaurant in Belpen Township. Shonu Palden was reportedly tortured in prison.

He was released in July 2013 on health grounds and since then has undergone surgery in a local hospital on several occasions, most recently October this year. Shonu Palden also required surgery due to a serious heart condition he developed while in detention.

Namgyal Dolma has a sister and, along with Shonu Palden and her mother Tsering Dekyi, belongs to a nomadic family in Rongkor village, Belpen Township in Machu County. This area is currently administered as part of China’s Gansu Province.  

Information supplied by Tibet Watch

Take action

Across Tibet, numerous political prisoners remain in Chinese jails. Some of them are held in secret locations, with the Chinese authorities refusing to reveal any information about their location or current health condition and preventing them from contacting their relatives.

Help Free Tibet pressure Chinese officials to reveal their location, and push for their release.