One week later - no verdict on Tashi Wangchuk

Free Tashi Wangchuk (New York 2018)
Free Tashi Wangchuk (New York 2018)

12th January 2018

The Chinese authorities have provided no information since last Friday. Meanwhile Tashi Wangchuk remains in detention

A full week has passed since Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk stood trial, with no news on a verdict.

Last Friday Tashi Wangchuk's trial began. He had spent the previous two years in detention with his case passing between police and the prosecutor. 

Accused of inciting separatism, a charge he fully denies, the court was shown a New York Times documentary featuring Tashi Wangchuk, which the Chinese authorities have deemed insulting. The video ‘A Tibetan's Journey to Justice’ highlights his efforts to ensure Tibetan children have access to the Tibetan language. 

After four hours, the court was adjourned and observers were told that the verdict would be given at a later date. In the meantime Tashi has remained in detention.

Since the trial, the documentary’s producer has spoken out about Tashi’s story and while expressing deep concerns, welcomed the fact that Tashi Wangchuk’s “voice, at last, is resonating on an international stage.” He also noted the protests since the trial calling for his release.

International support

In the past few days a number of Tibet groups organised a protest outside the Chinese Consulate in New York where they wore masks of Tashi’s face while carrying signs reading: ‘I’m innocent #FreeTashiWangchuk’.

During the protest Mi Ling, Communications Director from Human Rights in China, read from their statement, stating:

[Tashi Wangchuk]’s prosecution adds another glaring example to the Chinese authorities’ misuse of the judicial system as an instrument of oppression. It highlights, again, the Chinese government’s systematic trampling on the fundamental rights—including cultural, religious, and political rights—of the Tibetan people.

Tashi Wangchuk's case has attracted international attention. Human rights organisations have voiced their support for him and their concern that he risks years in prison. Roseann Rife, East Asia research director at Amnesty International, said:

It is appalling that Tashi Wangchuk could face up to 15 years’ imprisonment simply for expressing his views in media interviews.

Additionally, the China director at Human Rights Watch, Sophie Richardson, has said:

All Tashi Wangchuk has done is peacefully advocate for constitutionally-guaranteed rights. If Chinese authorities consider that inciting separatism, it’s hard to tell what isn’t.

Free Tibet and its supporters have repeatedly called for the release of Tashi Wangchuk since news first emerged of his arrest and imprisonment in January 2016. We continue to monitor his case closely.

Take action

Please contact your embassy in China, urging them to maintain their pressure on the authorities over Tashi Wangchuk's case.