China denied Tashi Wangchuk’s appeal against jail sentence

Tashi Wangchuk pictured at his home in Yushu. Image:  The New York Times.

DHARAMSALA, August, 24: China has denied Tibetan language advocate, Tashi Wangchuk’s appeal against his five-year prison sentence on charges of ‘inciting separatism’, his defence lawyer has said.

Liang Xiaojun, defence lawyer of the Tibetan language advocate has said in a tweet that his client’s appeal had been denied on August 13.

Chinese authorities at the Qinghai High Court have turned down appeals filed by both the Tibetan language advocate and his lawyers, Liang Xiaojun said in a tweet.

The Tibetan language advocate will now have to serve his five-year prison sentence handed by a Chinese judge at the Intermediate Court in Jyekundo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture on May 22, earlier this year.

As it stands now, Tashi is due for release in early 2021 as his prison term will start from May 2016, the time of his arrest.

The International Tibet Network, a global coalition of over 180 Tibet support group has described the rejection the Tibetan language advocate’s appeal as a travesty of justice and continue to press for his immediate release.

“China’s rejection of Tashi Wangchuk’s appeal is a travesty of justice and shows a disdain for the international concern that the case has raised. Our admiration for Tashi’s courage and resilience has reached new heights and we vow to continue pushing for his immediate and unconditional release” Tenzin Jigdal of International Tibet Network said in a press release.

Tashi Wangchuk’s only crime was that he sought to promote Tibetan language education which is guaranteed under the Chinese and international law, and to use Chinese law to pressure officials to faithfully implement Tibetan language rights in a New York Times documentary. But the Chinese representatives have unsurprisingly denied that he had been arrested for his comments on protecting minority languages when his case was discussed at the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva earlier this month.

The 33-yr-old Tibetan language advocate was arrested by the Yushu police on Jan 27, 2016, two months after the publication of his video and the first article on The New York Times about his language rights campaign for the Tibetan people, wherein he called for Tibetan language education to be taught in schools across Tibet. After his arrest, authorities held him in pre-trial detention for nearly two years without any access to his family.

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