DHARAMSALA, 15 July; Imprisoned Tibetan climate activist, Anya(A-Nya) Sengdra has been awarded the 2022 ‘Tenzin Delek Rinpoche Medal of Courage.’
Commemorating the 7th death anniversary of Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Sengdra, a Tibetan nomad and an environmental activist who is currently serving a “7-year prison sentence after he was tried on false charges” was awarded the 7th ‘Tenzin Delek Rinpoche Medal of Courage’ at a felicitation held at the Tibetan Association of Northern California Community Center in Richmond, California, US on Tuesday.
The Tibetan nomad and climate crisis activist from eastern Tibet was sentenced to a 7-year prison sentence on 6 Dec. 2019 after he was tried on false charges of “gathering people to disturb public order” when he was simply resisting China’s failed Tibet policies and pressing for environmental protection and end to local authority corruption.
He endured torture from Chinese authorities as he was held for over 14 months without trial simply for campaigning against alleged corruption, illegal mining and illegal hunting and poaching of endangered animals before he was arrested and allegedly beaten on 4 September 2018 in Qinghai province.
Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan filmmaker and former political prisoner accepted the award on Sengdra’s behalf.
Twelfth July is now observed as ‘Tibetan Heroes Day’, an annual event to highlight the spirit of Tibetan resistance and honour the courage of Tibetans inside Tibet for their stand on freedom.
The ‘Tenzin Delek Rinpoche Medal of Courage’, is given to Tibetan human rights defenders who show a deep commitment to enhancing the freedom and rights of the Tibetan people at great personal risk. The Award aims to provide protection to such individuals through international recognition.
It was organised and convened by International Tibet Network and nominees put forward by the Network Political Prisoner Campaign Working Group.
Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was a well-respected Tibetan spiritual teacher who passed away under mysterious circumstances on 12 July 2015 after spending 13 years of his life sentence in Chinese custody as the Chinese government continued to ignore repeated calls made by Tibetans and international bodies to release Rinpoche on medical parole.
Trulku Delek established many monasteries and schools in Tibet and actively campaigned for the protection of Tibet’s fragile environment.
In 1987, on numerous occasions in Lithang in the traditional Tibetan province of Kham, Rinpoche urged Tibetans to refrain from practising Dhol Gyal (a deity considered highly sectarian by the Dalai Lama and Tibetans) worship and directed many of his students to complete their religious lessons in India.
Trulku Delek also campaigned against deforestation and the protection of endangered species in Tibet.