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China jails Tibetan herdsman for over 5-yr-old WeChat postings on Tibet’s independence

(TibetanReview.net, Mar23’21) – Chinese authorities in Qinghai Province have arrested and tried last year a 50-year-old Tibetan herdsman for posting on his personal WeChat platform more than five years earlier contents it deemed “inciting separatism” and “endangering national security”, said Dharamshala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy Mar 22 and other sources. He has been given a one-year jail sentence.

Chinese police in Machen (Chinese: Maqin) County of Golok (Guoluo) Prefecture summoned Tashi Gyal on May 16 for interrogation at the police station in his local Ragya Town. They confiscated his mobile phone handset and put him under a 15-day administrative detention. On May 30, they extended his detention and formally arrested him on Jun 12. 

Chinese Human Rights Defenders, which first reported on the case, said Tashi Gyal was incriminated for downloading and forwarding four photos about the Dalai Lama’s lectures to his group chat on May 19, Oct 12 and 14 in 2014. He was also incriminated for doing the same with photos of the Tibetan national flag and Sikyong Lobsang Sangay of the Central Tibetan Administration on Jan 1, 2015.

On Mar 1, 2015, he posted a “New Year greeting video speech” related to “Tibetan independence”. Later on Nov 2, 2015, he forwarded to his chat group a message which expressed hopes for “the return of the 14th Dalai Lama to Tibet”, along with images and videos of the Dalai Lama and Lobsang Sangay.

He was reported to have been tried behind closed doors by the Guoluo Intermediate People’s Court for “endangering national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity”.

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