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Tibetan Rights Activist Released From Jail After Five Years, Will Remain Under Chinese Surveillance

Tashi Wangchuk is a Tibetan language advocate from Kyigudo in traditional Kham province of eastern Tibet. He was taken away from his home by local Chinese police in January 2016 soon after being interviewed by The New York Times.

By N24 Correspondent, KATHMANDU:- A Tibetan rights activist, Tashi Wangchuk, who was working to preserve the Tibetan language and culture, has been released from a Chinese jail after five years of imprisonment.

Tashi was imprisoned for speaking out about the lack of language rights under the repressive policies of China in the occupied Tibet. Tashi’s family members informed his lawyer Liang Xiaojun that he is fine. No further information is acquired about him.

Tashi is a Tibetan language advocate from Kyigudo in traditional Kham province of eastern Tibet. He was taken away from his home by local Chinese police in January 2016 soon after being interviewed by The New York Times.

A New York Times’ video of the interview – “A Tibetan’s Journey for Justice” – was played as evidence during the hearing. In it, he criticized the destruction of Tibetan culture detailing his efforts in Beijing to sue Yushu government officials for sidelining Tibetan language in schools.

“Within schools in Tibetan regions, from primary to secondary schools, most courses are taught in Chinese with Tibetan being taught as one single subject,” Tashi said in the video.

As an advocate for Tibetan language and culture, he has maintained a blog, writing about greater autonomy for Tibetans within China and has been vocal about language education. He has called for schools in Tibet to adopt a true system of bilingual education, so that Tibetan children can become fluent in their mother language. None of his writings have called for Tibetan independence.

He has also said that the dearth of effective Tibetan language education, and the fact that the language is not being used in government offices, violates the Chinese Constitution, which guarantees cultural autonomy for Tibetan and other ethnic regions. He was sentenced to five years in prison by Yushu people’s Immediate court on charge of allegedly ‘inciting separatism’ on May 2018. Tashi did not accept the accusation made against him.

Though released from jail, Tashi will remain under constant surveillance of the Chinese government for his activities, according to various reports.

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