Tibetan rights activist attacked for daring to be “Tibetan in China-occupied Tibet”

Tibetan activist attacked
Tashi Wangchuk (Photo: Social Media)

Tibetan language advocate and former political prisoner Tashi Wangchuk was attacked on Saturday 19 August by a group of unidentified, masked men in Darlak county, China occupied Tibet. Wangchuk like many other Tibetan rights activists is one of those who continue to fight and defend Tibetan language and culture despite knowing the high risk involved like persecution or brutal torture by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forces onTibetans. Wangchuk was in Darlak county to campaign for the protection of Tibetan language, the official language of China-occupied Tibet and raise awareness about the disappearance of the Tibetan language from schools in favour of Chinese dialects. 

He filmed a video near Darlak County Nationality Middle School, which he posted on the Chinese social media platform Douyin before travelling to a hotel where he was hoping to stay.

At around 8 p.m., Tashi Wangchuk’s hotel room door was forced open and he was beaten and kicked by a group of men wearing masks for around 10 minutes. He believes he was followed to his hotel from the school. After complaining to the hotel owner, the police reached the spot and Wangchuk was taken for questioning to the police station.Tashi Wangchuk, is from Kyegudo in Yulshul (Chinese: Yushu) eastern Tibet. He came to international prominence after speaking to the New York Times in 2015 about his efforts to file a lawsuit against local authorities after local Tibetan classes were shut down in Tibet by the CCP authority. 

Wangchuk had earlier been arrested in 2016 after which he was sent to a secret location where he was brutally tortured by the CCP forces. After spending two years in pre-trial detention, he was found guilty of “inciting separatism” and sentenced to five years in prison and was released in 2021. Wangchuk is known for peaceful language advocacy as Chinese authorities have imposed policies to marginalise or even eliminate the Tibetan language from the public sphere across occupied Tibet in a bid to promote Chinese language and dialects and history which wipes off Tibet’s actual standing.Tibetans have been experiencing tumultuous challenges under China. Till now, 169 Tibetans have self-immolated themselves for the just cause and freedom of Tibet. In 1950, Tibet was invaded by the newly established Chinese Communist regime and since then Tibet has been under their occupation. Tibetans in occupied Tibet suffer under the Chinese repressive rules. Tibetans who have fled from Tibet live as refugees mostly in the himalayan regions of India like Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Dharamshala and Sikkim and even southern parts of India.

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