Tibetan teacher secretly released after eight months in prison

Tibetan teacher Rinchen Kyi when she was arrested by the Chinese authorities and an undated photo of her. Image: Free Tibet.

 DHARAMSALA, 26 April: A Tibetan Teacher from a school in Golok, Eastern Tibet has been released by Chinese authorities eight months after her arrest, the London-based advocacy group Free Tibet said.

“Rinchen Kyi was secretly returned home by police at 8 pm local time on Sunday 24 April,” the advocacy group said citing its research partner, Tibet Watch.

The teacher from Singdruk Taktse private school was arrested on 1st August 2021 apparently on charges of ‘separatism’ a month after the Chinese authorities abruptly closed the school.

Just as the Chinese authorities kept her whereabouts and well-being secret after her release, her health condition after her release from the Chinese prison also remains unknown. 

Though China has consistently had a conviction rate of over 99 per cent and releases of Tibetan political detainees are particularly rare, she was released “after eight months in detention” following “a vocal international campaign for her freedom in which thousands took part,” the report added.

John Jones, Campaigns and Advocacy Manager of the advocacy group has stated in the report that while her “arrest horrified many at the lengths the Chinese Communist Party will go to wipe out Tibet’s language and culture,  her release shows that international pressure can make a real difference to the situation in Tibet.”

“Today we celebrate this win for the Tibetan language, freedom in Tibet and Richen Kyi. We will continue to fight for Tibetan political prisoners until every cell is empty and Tibet is free,” he added.

Taktse School was apparently forced to shut down by the Chinese authorities on  8 July last year because the school’s primary language of instruction was Tibetan and it taught lessons about Tibet’s culture, the report said and added that “the Chinese government has imposed increasingly tight restrictions on the Tibetan language and Tibetan culture as part of a policy of eradicating them.” 

A joint communiqué sent to China by UN experts in February that was made public last week also cautioned China over the “arrest, detention and enforced disappearance” of the Tibetan teacher along with Tibetan writer Mr Lobsang Lhundup (pen name of Dhi Lhaden), musician Mr Lhundrup Drakpa, “allegedly in connection with their cultural activities in favour of the Tibetan minority language and culture.”

Additionally, the UN experts have urged China to respond to the communiqué  within 60 days and further urged China “to take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of Mr Lobsang Lhundup, Mr Lhundrup Drakpa and Ms Rinchen Kyi are respected, and, in particular, to prevent any irreparable damage to their life and personal integrity.”

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