Lifesaver for ages 9 and up -- China: A Tibetan language champion needs your help
This is Tashi Wangchuk. He is from Tibet, a region of China.
Before the government put him in detention in January 2016, he was a shopkeeper. Now he is a prisoner of conscience (POC).
POCs are people in jail whose beliefs and actions have not been violent. Amnesty International believes that all POCs should be free.
Here is why Tashi is a POC.
Tashi has a niece and a nephew. Although they are Tibetans, they cannot use their own language. In 2015, he looked for classes where they could learn Tibetan.
He visited five schools in three provinces. He was sad to find that the Chinese government does not value Tibetan and that teachers in all the schools are using Chinese.
Language is one of the most important ways to keep a culture alive. So Tashi decided to go to Beijing, China’s capital city, to campaign for students’ opportunity to learn Tibetan in schools.
The New York Times newspaper made a video about his efforts. It is called “A Tibetan’s Journey for Justice”.
The video angered the Chinese government. And they didn’t like Tashi’s other complaints about discrimination against the Tibetan language. They blamed him for “inciting separatism”. In other words, they felt he was trying to make them look bad for treating people who speak Tibetan differently from those who speak Chinese.
In prison, Tashi was beaten and has suffered from pain in his joints because of the poor conditions in prison. His family has not been allowed to see him.
Please ask for Tashi Wangchuk’s freedom. Your letter could be a lifesaver.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Write to an official who has the power to free Tashi. His title is very long! It’s Chief Procurator of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture People’s Procuratorate.
Start with Dear Chief Procurator and describe who you are. You could mention your age, where you live, what your school is like, or what languages you speak or are learning. These details make your letter different from any other he will receive.
In your second sentence, express your concern that Tashi Wangchuk is a prisoner of conscience. Putting him in prison has violated his right to take action peacefully on something he believes in. (Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”)
In your last sentence, ask him to free Tashi Wangchuk.
If you want to add one more sentence, you could write “Until he is free, please make sure Tashi Wangchuk is treated well in Yushu City Detention Centre.”
WHERE DO I SEND MY MESSAGE?
Yushu Zangzu Zizhizhou Remin Jianchayuan
Yushu Zangzu Zizhizhou
People’s Republic of China