Respected Tibetan monk and 16 supporters jailed

9th January 2014

Community protests, demands release

Khenpo Kartse, well-known for his work advocating protection of the environment and the Tibetan language, was arrested by Chinese police on 6 December 2013. A further 16 Tibetans were arrested after a confrontation between police and demonstrators on 18 December calling for his release. All 17 are still in detention.

Persecuted in Tibet

Khenpo Kartse (also known as Karma Tsewang), an abbot from Japa monastery, is highly respected for his Buddhist teaching as well as his community work and advocacy. During the 2010 earthquake in Yushu, he was amongst the first to organise the local people into rescue teams. Chinese authorities have harassed him for a number of years. In 2010 his ‘political rights’ were removed, placing restrictions on him such as requiring special permission to travel outside of the immediate area.

Letter from Prison

A letter apparently written by Khenpo Kartse in prison was sent to his monastery, Japa monastery, and made public on 28 December. It states that he has not been beaten and asks his followers to maintain good relations with the authorities. The letter urges his family not to “fall into extreme sadness”. Although the monastery considers the letter authentic, whether it was written under duress is not known.

Tibetan culture under threat

Khenpo Kartse strongly believed in promoting Tibetan language in schools. It is under threat as secondary education is taught exclusively in Mandarin and entrance exams to universities are in Chinese.

Take action

China sees promotion of the Tibetan language and culture as a threat to its rule. Tibetan singers are among those imprisoned after advocating the use of Tibetan. Take action to call for the release of singers currently in jail. action10.jpgPlease sign our petition to Wu Aiying, China's Minister of Justice, calling on China to release eight singers jailed in Tibet for songs celebrating Tibetan culture and calling for freedom.