Germany saddened by prison-death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, urges China to ease Tibet policy

Christoph Straesser, Germany’s top official for bilateral human rights talks with China.
Christoph Straesser, Germany’s top official for bilateral human rights talks with China.

(, Jul18, 2015) – Germany has on Jul 15 added its voice to the global chorus of outrage over the entirely avoidable prison death on Jul 12 of the prominent Tibetan political prisoner Tenzin Delek Rinpoche who was a religious leader as well as environmental, philanthropic, cultural, and community activist. It urged the Chinese leadership to pursue policies which will ease existing tensions in the Tibetan territories.

Expressing deep sadness on hearing the news of the death, Christoph Strässer, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued a statement on Jul 15, expressing regret that China had turned a deaf ear to all the numerous appeals for his release since his imprisonment and conviction in 2002, as well as pleas for information on his prison conditions and for adequate medical care for him.

The statement recalled: “Over the years, the German Government and the EU had called repeatedly for him to be given medical treatment and released from prison on humanitarian grounds,” including “on many occasions during high-level talks with the Chinese Government.”

The statement expressed deep concern that China was prepared to risk the deaths of imprisoned activists – including that of activist Cao Shunli in prison in Mar 2014 and now that of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche – by denying them adequate medical care. It called the development violations of key humanitarian principles.

The statement reiterated the German Government’s call for greater autonomy in Tibet, especially in the cultural and religious spheres.


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