Released Tibetan language right activist again in trouble with Chinese police

Tashi Wangchuk, Tibetan language rights activist. (Photo courtesy: NYT)

(, Jan19’22) – Chinese police in Yulshul (Chinese: Yushu) Township of Qinghai Province had summoned Tibetan language right activist Tashi Wangchuk on Jan 17 nearly a year after completing his five-year jail sentence for alleged incitement of separatism. They questioned him on his call on the Chinese authorities earlier this month to allow the use of Tibetan in schools, government jobs and other sectors of Tibetan public life, reported the Tibetan Service of Jan 18, citing his Weibo social media posting made the next day.

Wangchuk, a 35-year-old shopkeeper and online seller, was released on Jan 28, 2021 after being jailed for “inciting separatism”, subject to near-constant monitoring by authorities. His crime was his Tibetan language rights advocacy and speaking to the Western media, namely the New York Times, about it in a documentary on the issue.

“One of the questions I was asked under interrogation was who had given me the responsibility to advocate for use of the Tibetan language,” Wangchuk was quoted as saying in his Weibo posting.

He felt that Yulshul City and the police bureau were using their power “to stop the public from addressing these problems and advocating for the use of their own language.”

“This is how the Tibetan language has been endangered, and this is how I am raising awareness among government officials of the language rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China,” he has said.

He was reported to have written that Tibetans had been left with no choice but to study Chinese in their schools and ignore their own language.

He has said the situation had already become so bad that some Tibetans later won’t be able to read or write in their own language.

Tashi Wangchuk’s apparent resumption of his activism is seen as an act of desperation over the seriousness of the threat to the survival of the Tibetan identity of the Tibetan homeland.


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