DHARAMSHALA:The US state department issued a press statement on its official website on 22 May urging the Chinese authorities to release jailed Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk immediately. and to protect the distinct religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of Tibetans.
“We are deeply disappointed that the Chinese government convicted Tashi Wangchuk, an advocate for Tibetan language education, on the charge of “inciting separatism” for exercising his fundamental freedom of expression in calling on the government to give greater attention and resources to teach the Tibetan language in Tibetan areas. We urge Chinese authorities to release Tashi Wangchuk immediately, and to protect the distinct religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of Tibetan,” the press statement reads.
Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan language rights advocate, was sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court yesterday for allegedly “inciting separatism”. He was tried earlier this year on January 4 at Yushu Intermediate People’s Court but the court adjourned without a verdict at that time.
He was first detained on 27 January 2016 for publicly advocating Tibetan language education in schools in Tibetan populated areas. Two months before his detention, Tashi Wangchuk appeared in a New York Times documentary in which he can be seen advocating for the rights of Tibetans to learn and study in their mother tongue.