Founder of chat group released in critical health after 10 months of detention

Most recent photo of Sangay Tso under medical attention after her family found her in poor health.
Most recent photo of Sangay Tso under medical attention after her family found her in poor health.
23rd December 2021

Arrested a week after Tibetan New Year, Sangay Tso’s family finds her in a hotel unable to walk

Sangay Tso, co-founder of a chat group, was released in a severe health condition after being arbitrarily detained for more than 10 months. 

University student Sangay Tso was arrested along with two other Tibetans, Dadul and Kansi (a nickname) in Kyegudo, Yushul Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, on 17 February 2021, a week after Tibetan New Year. While no official reason was given at the time of their arrest and release, it seems that the three youths were arrested for failure to register their WeChat group with local authorities.

A local source confided that on 15 December, "authorities called Sangay Tso’s family and asked them to pick her up after her health deteriorated to a critical level. She was kept alone in a hotel room (Kyegu Shensung Hotel) before her family arrived to pick her up. They found her in poor health and she is barely able to walk. They immediately took her to the public hospital of Kyegudo and is undergoing medical treatment".

The local source added, "three youths founded the WeChat group Zari Karmoi Gongtsok without prior registration but the reason for their arrest is not known." The chat group was not registered to the local Chinese authorities as is required under the law. The Chinese Communist Party requires that anyone who wishes to form a  chat group registers with the local authorities. When a chat group is registered, a member of the surveillance group loyal to the CCP is to be added to the chat group.

The same source explained that the chat group, whose name translates as White Rocky Mountain Club, has its name originating from the name of a local deity and life-supporting mountain of the area. It was formed by several nomads on Losar,  Tibetan New Year, which began on 12 February 2021, and has about 240 members from across the three Tibetan regions.

The security personnel arrested three of them from their home in Domda Town in Kyegudo, Yushul Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The news of their arrest emerged in early March this year after Dadul was brutally beaten and left with broken legs. His family was summoned by the police and asked to not bring more than two family members and 40,000 yuan (around 6,000 US dollars) to the hospital, ostensibly to pay for surgery. His family was threatened against telling anyone about the matter. Details on the well-being and whereabouts of Kansi still remain unknown.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch

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