Tibetan father and son arrested for listening to Dalai Lama teachings

2nd April 2020

Two Tibetans from the TAR were arrested in December on suspicion of loyalty to the Dalai Lama and listening to his teachings.

Free Tibet have learned of the arrest of a Tibetan man and his son in central Tibet. The pair were arrested  for listening to a teaching from the Dalai Lama on a mobile phone, Tibet Watch has said.

The arrest of Jampa Dorjee, 75, and his son reportedly happened on around 30 December 2019 in Tongpar Township, Dzogan County in Chamdo. Chamdo (Changdu in Chinese) is in the area of Tibet governed as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), where restrictions are particularly tight.

Dorjee and his son were arrested on suspicion of loyalty to the Dalai Lama and listening to one of his teachings and were picked up from their home in Tongpar Township by police, Tibet Watch said.

Tibet Watch added that they were later released after showing good conduct while in prison and on the condition that they would not listen to the Dalai Lama's teachings again. The pair were instructed to write and sign a letter, guaranteeing  this commitment. Village elders also had to sign a similar letter.

Dorjee reportedly revered the Dalai Lama. However, any expression of loyalty and faith to the Dalai Lama in Tibet is a political crime under Chinese Communist Party rule. 

Authorities in Tibet frequently check for pictures of the Dalai Lama and other content which is considered sensitive on the mobile phones of Tibetan who come under suspicion. 

The timing of the arrest coincided with Beijing's campaign against underworld forces, which was initiated in early 2018. 

That February, China launched a campaign against what it calls ‘underworld forces.’In Tibet authorities have connected this with a drive to crack down on “separatists,” Tibet Watch said.


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.