Jailed environment activist in Tibet in critical health

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Dhongye, environment activist. (Photo courtesy: TCHRD)

(TibetanReview.net, Dec13’21) – A Tibetan man taken away by Chinese police in northern Tibet’s Nagchu (Chinese: Naqu) Prefecture in 2018 for sharing information online about an anti-mining protest in his local area and had remained disappeared until very recently is in “a near-death condition”, said the Central Tibetan Administration on its Tibet.net website Dec 13. It said China accused Dhongye of “leaking state secrets” and tortured him over a long period of time, resulting in serious injuries and chronic ailments.

The 50-year-old businessman was accused of sharing information with exiled Tibetans about a local Tibetan protest against a Chinese government-plan to mine a sacred mountain in the prefecture’s Driru (Biru) County.

The report said it was discovered only recently that Dhongye was being held in the Driru County prison in critical conditions, with no information available on whether he had been tried and sentenced.

Known for his ardent advocacy of environmental protection, Dhongye had organized several environmental events and participated in many others, winning a “Clean Environment” competition held at Sernye village in 2013-2014, the report said. 

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Dhongye was stated to be among 30 Tibetans from Markor, Wathang and Gochu villages detained by Chinese police in Apr 2018 after news about the detention of Markor village leader Karma and the planned mining operation reached exile Tibetans. They were taken into custody from a meeting called to round up those suspected to have leaked that information.

Karma was reported to have been detained in late Feb 2018 for challenging a local government order which compelled the residents of the three villages to sign a document allowing it to conduct mining activities at the sacred Sebtra Zagyen Mountain. He was stated to have demanded that the local government officials produce documents showing approval for the mining project from a couple of named veteran regional party leaders.

Regional party leaders of Tibet had been vehement –as they still are – that projects which are detrimental to the environment would not be approved; hence the Tibetans’ suspicion that the local leaders were flouting those assurances.

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