Relatives of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche arrested

21st July 2015

Armed forces deployed in political prisoner's hometown: movements of Tibetans restricted

On 17 July 2015, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's sister Dolkar Lhamo and her daughter Nyima Lhamo were arrested by police in Chengdu. Their current situation and whereabouts are unknown. The body of political prisoner Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who died in custody, was cremated in prison on 16 July despite global calls for it to be returned to his family. The Rinpoche (a religious title) was serving a life sentence for alleged involvement in bombings in 2001, although he was tried in secret and no convincing evidence was ever presented linking him to the crimes. Before his arrest he was a strong advocate for Tibet and after his sentencing had become Tibet's most significant political prisoner. NB: Rinpoche is a religious title

Rinpoche’s ashes confiscated

Family members and supporters requested Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s ashes for religious rites, which the authorities permitted but accompanied by security personnel. Along the journey the security personnel forcefully took the ashes and mentioned their intention to throw it into the river as ordered by the Chinese government.

Religious offerings crushed

Tibetans had gathered at Nalanda Thekchen Choeling (Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's main monastery) in Kham to make religious offerings but China's armed security forced the crowd to return to their homes. A source described the situation in the area as "a battlefield". Large numbers of armed forces are deployed in the area and contacts between the monastery and local Tibetans have been banned. Movements of Tibetans in the area are restricted, with monks forbidden to go outside of their monastery and lay people banned from visiting the monastery.

Take Action

Jails in Tibet are full of Tibetan political prisoners. Many serving long-term sentences for raising their voices on the desperate situation in their country. Tell China's Minister of Justice Wu Aiying to release Tibet's political prisoners and to ensure that all Tibetans are free to express themselves without fear of punishment.