[lg policy] China Charges Tibetan Education Advocate With Inciting Separatism

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu Mar 31 15:07:43 UTC 2016

China Charges Tibetan Education Advocate With Inciting Separatism
点击查看本文中文版 Read in Chinese

Continue reading the main story

Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan entrepreneur and education advocate, at his home
in Yushu, China, in July. Mr. Tashi was detained in January and held in
secret until his family was notified this month. Credit Gilles Sabrie for
The New York Times

BEIJING — A detained Tibetan entrepreneur who advocates bilingual education
in schools across Tibetan regions of China has been charged with inciting
separatism, according to an official police document.

The entrepreneur, Tashi Wangchuk, 30, is being held at the main detention
center in Yushu, the town in Qinghai Province in western China, where he
lives with his elderly parents. Mr. Tashi could face up to 15 years in
prison if found guilty.

Mr. Tashi was detained on Jan. 27 and held in secret for weeks. His
relatives said they were not told of his detention until March 24, though
Chinese law requires that a detainee’s family be notified within 24 hours.
A document stating the charge against Mr. Tashi, which a police officer
gave the family, and a photograph of which was seen by The New York Times,
was dated March 4.
Times Documentaries By JONAH M. KESSEL 9:13

Worried about the erosion of Tibetan culture and language, one man takes
his concerns to Beijing, hoping media coverage and the courts can reverse
what he sees as a systematic eradication. By JONAH M. KESSEL on Publish
Date November 28, 2015. Photo by Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times.
Watch in Times Video »

Before his detention, Mr. Tashi had written on his microblog that Tibetans
needed to protect their culture and that Chinese officials should aid them
in doing so. He has argued for greater Tibetan autonomy within China, but
none of his known writings have called for Tibetan independence, which he
has said he opposes.

The family said it had not been able to find a local lawyer to represent
Mr. Tashi. Officials have not yet announced a trial date.

Mr. Tashi’s case has attracted international attention. Officials at the
State Department are aware of his detention, and a representative of
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression said the group was starting a
petition to call for his release. President Obama may raise human rights
issues with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, when Mr. Xi
visits Washington this week for a summit meeting on nuclear issues.
Today’s Headlines: Asia Edition

As an advocate for Tibetan culture, Mr. Tashi has been most vocal about
language education, saying that schools should adopt a true system of
bilingual education so that Tibetan children can become fluent in their
mother language.

Mr. Tashi has said that the dearth of effective Tibetan language education,
and the fact that the language is not used in government offices, violates
the Chinese Constitution, which guarantees cultural autonomy for Tibetan
and other ethnic regions.

Mr. Tashi runs a shop in Yushu and sells goods from the region to buyers
across China on Taobao, an online platform run by Alibaba, the e-commerce
giant. In 2014, Alibaba chose Mr. Tashi to be featured in a video for the
company’s investor roadshow before a high-profile initial public offering.

Late last year, Mr. Tashi was quoted in two articles in The New York Times
on Tibetan language and culture. He was also the main subject of a
documentary video by The Times about his attempts to use the legal system
to compel officials to improve Tibetan language education.

Sarah Li and Mia Li contributed research.

A version of this article appears in print on March 31, 2016, on page A6 of
the New York edition with the headline: Activist Is Held After Pushing
Tibetan Ca
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