Tibetan woman dies after police detention

30th October 2020

Human Rights Watch has reported the death of a Tibetan woman after she was detained by police.

A Tibetan woman died at a hospital in central Tibet in August after being transferred there from police custody, Human Rights Watch has reported. 

Lhamo was a herder and 36 year old mother of three from Driru County in Nagchu, which is governed as part of the Tibet Autonomous Region. She was reportedly detained on charges of sending money to family members or other Tibetans in India.

The authorities see contact between Tibetans in Tibet and others abroad as “endangering national security,” even though it  is not officially a crime under Chinese law.

Members of Lhamo’s family were asked to go to the hospital after her arrest and found her badly bruised and unable to speak, Human Rights Watch said.

She was reportedly in good health before her detention but died shortly after being transferred to the hospital from police custody.

“The death of Lhamo, a Tibetan herder, is the latest in a pattern of apparent torture and death in Chinese state custody,” said Human Rights Watch director Sophie Richardson. 

“Tibetan regional authorities should be held accountable for serious violations, including arbitrary detention, torture or ill-treatment, and deprivation of the right to life.”

Tarpa, a 39-year-old entrepreneur who is also from Driru County in the TAR, was detained in June reportedly on the same charges as Lhamo.

Human Rights Watch is calling for his release. 


In Tibet the Chinese Communist Party oversees what some have called the world's largest open air prison. The authorities have the power to switch the light on and off, peering into Tibetans' emails one moment and making political prisoners vanish from their families and friends, apparently into darkness, the next. Help us push for Tibet's hidden political prisoners to be found and released.