The International Campaign for Tibet urges the UN Human Rights Council to investigate growing reports of torture in Tibet after Human Rights Watch reported the death of a Tibetan tour guide whom Chinese authorities tortured and abused.
In a report on 16 February 2021, HRW said 51-year-old tour guide Kunchok Jinpa succumbed to his injuries in a hospital in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa on 6 February 2021 after being transferred from custody without his family’s knowledge less than three months earlier. The report said he was paralyzed after a brain hemorrhage.
Jinpa was detained on 8 November 2013 and subsequently charged with forwarding “state secrets” about environmental protests and other protests in his home region to foreign media. The court sentenced him to 21 years in prison.
He was one of several hundred Tibetans from Driru County in Nagchu (Chinese: Naqu) City who peacefully protested several times in October 2013 against official orders that every house must fly the Chinese flag. HRW’s report said Jinpa may have also informed Tibetans outside the People’s Republic of China in May 2013 about protests against planned mine projects on the holy mountain “Naklha Dzamba.” He also might have passed on the names of Tibetans imprisoned in this context, HRW said.
During the 2013 Driru protests, there were reports of mass arrests and security forces shooting at unarmed demonstrators, HRW said.
Jinpa was a monk in the Gom Gonsar Monastery (also known as Choekor Jampaling) in Driru, and later, in the 1990s, studied for some years in India at the Changchubling Monastery, the main center in exile of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and also in two other educational institutions for Tibetan studies. He returned to his homeland in 1998 and worked as a travel guide.
HRW reported that Jinpa’s family had no knowledge about his whereabouts for years.
ICT calls on the UN Human Rights Council to conduct an independent investigation into the range of human rights violations in Tibet, as UN human rights experts already called for in June 2020.
Those responsible in the Chinese state and party apparatus for the death of Kunchok Jinpa must be held accountable for the system of torture and ill-treatment against Tibetans.