The President of Central Tibetan Administration (Tibetan government-in-exile) Dr. Lobsang Sangay on Tuesday expressed resentment over the sentencing of Tashi Wangchuk (32), a Tibetan language rights advocate.
Sangay said Wangchuk has been sentenced to five years jail term on charges of inciting separatism, though he had pleaded not guilty during trial in January this year.
“The sentencing of Tashi Wangchuk for ‘inciting secession’ is a travesty of justice. Tashi Wangchuk was advocating the language rights of the Tibetan people as per the provisions in the Chinese constitution and therefore his case highlights the lack of basic, fundamental rights for Tibetan people in Tibet,” he said.
He said the sentencing makes a critical commentary and exposes the fallacy of China’s claims to follow international norms and laws.
“It’s a sad day for those who believe in rule of law, but we will continue to advocate his release,” Sangay added.
Apart from Tibetans, International human rights organisations has also rejected Tashi Wangchuk prison sentence calling it grotesquely unjust and the trial as politically motivated.
A Tibetan government official said the Human Rights Watch’s China director, Sophie Richardson too condemned the sentencing and said Wangchuk’s only crime was to peacefully call for the right of minority peoples to use their own language.
The United Nations experts denounced Tashi Wangchuk’s imprisonment. Several foreign diplomats and parliaments raised concerns over Tashi Wangchuk’s detention and probable conviction.
Following the trial, the European Parliament adopted urgency resolutions calling on China to release Wangchuk while the Latvian Parliament and French Senate called for a fair and transparent judgment process for the Tibetan language advocate. German parliamentarians had also called for his release, the official added.
It is worthwhile to mention here that Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan shopkeeper from Kyekundo county in Kham Yulshul was detained on 27 January, 2016 for publicly advocating Tibetan language education in schools in Tibetan populated areas.
The action seemed to have been the fallout of a documentary in which he was seen advocating the rights of Tibetans to learn and study in their mother tongue.