(TibetanReview.net, Sep16’21) – A group of UN experts have jointly questioned China on its disappearance of Tibetan Buddhist Scholar Go Sherab Gyatso and the arbitrary detention of Rinchen Tsultrim, both monks in the traditionally Tibetan county of Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) which is now part of China’s Sichuan Province. They have said these were not isolated incidents and raised the issue at the ongoing 48th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva which began on Sep 13 and will continue till Oct 8.
China has hit back at the criticisms of its rights record at the session by having the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, South Sudan, Laos, Sri Lanka, Dominica, Armenia, Maldives, Tanzania “and other countries” to speak highly of its human rights achievements. “The affairs of Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet are China’s internal affairs, and the outside world should not interfere,” China’s official newsus.cgtn.com Sep 16 had these countries saying at the session.
In their joint statement, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief have called on China to provide information on the whereabouts of Go Sherab Gyatso “urgently”, and sought information on the legal grounds for the arrest, detention, and sentencing of Rinchen Tsultrim. They have spoken of having transmitted this call in their communication to China.
Calling these two cases “not isolated events”, the UN rights experts have said they reflect a systemic pattern of arbitrary and incommunicado detentions, closed trials, and unknown charges and verdicts against Tibetans by the Chinese authorities. The experts have also expressed concern that individuals had been targeted by the Chinese government based on religion and ethnicity.
Go Sherab Gyatso was arrested in Sichuan’s capital Chengdu on Oct 26, 2020 and has remained disappeared ever since. The scholar had published several books on Tibetan philosophy and culture and the Tibetan Buddhist monastic education system. He was previously detained by Chinese authorities in 1998 and in 2008.
Rinchen Tsultrim, a monk of Nangshing monastery in Ngaba, was arrested on Jul 27, 2019 and remained disappeared ever since. On Mar 23, 2021 information, apparently unofficial, surfaced that he had been sentenced to four and a half years in prison. But it still remains unclear what he was charged with or found guilty of and where the trial was held.