Tibetan entrepreneur and language education advocate Tashi Wangchuk, who was earlier this month revealed to have been in extralegal detention for over a month, has now been charged with “inciting separatism.” The New York Times’ Edward Wong reports, highlighting Mr. Tashi’s moderate approach to advocacy:
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, depending on the specifics of the allegations against him.
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.
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.
Last month, Tibetan blogger and writer Druklo was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of “inciting separatism” and “endangering social stability” after having been held in secret detention for nearly a year. The International Campaign for Tibet has called on President Obama to raise the cases Tashi Wangchuk and Druklo with Xi Jinping at the Nuclear Security Summit beginning tomorrow in Washington.
For more on Tashi Wangchuk’s work campaigning for the preservation of the Tibetan language, or on the situation in Tibetan regions of China, see prior coverage via CDT.