After being forcibly removed from her protest site, Gonpo Kyi (Chinese: Gongbao Ji), elder sister of imprisoned Tibetan former businessman Dorjee Tashi (Douji Zhaxi), returned to protest in front of the Tibet Autonomous Region Higher People’s Court on 15 May. Video clips obtained by the International Campaign for Tibet show a group of Chinese policemen forcibly break her peaceful protest and drag a resisting Gonpo into a white police vehicle.
The status of Gonpo Kyi (also known as “Gontey”) is unknown after she was forcibly removed from the protest site.
Undeterred by Chinese police’s harassment and threats during her earlier protest-vigils, Gonpo returned in front of the TAR Higher People’s Court on 15 May to seek justice for her wrongly imprisoned brother.
Visuals evidently show that Gonpo was peacefully expressing her opinion and thought by doing Tibetan Buddhist prostrations during her protest-vigil before a group of Chinese policemen arrived at the site.
Video clips also evidently show that the policemen forcibly dragged Gonpo, who was resisting removal. A third clip shows the policemen shoving Gonpo into a waiting white police vehicle.
Gonpo’s status is unknown.
The International Campaign for Tibet urges the Chinese authorities to honor the fundamental right to freedom of expression for Gonpo Kyi. It is imperative that she is not unjustly detained on the grounds of her peaceful protest, for suppressing her voice would be an affront to justice and human rights.
ICT calls upon the Chinese authorities to respect the principles of human dignity and ensure that Gonpo Kyi’s rights are protected, not violated.
ICT urges the Chinese authorities to heed Gonpo’s appeal for justice for her brother. A thorough and impartial investigation is indispensable to uncover the truth and hold accountable those responsible for this travesty of justice. Dorjee Tashi, in his testimony recounting torture during his pretrial detention, stated that he was first framed as a secessionist and later charged with “loan fraud.” His family members, including Gonpo Kyi, have consistently maintained that Dorjee was framed and indicted by corrupt officials in the officially designated Tibet Autonomous Region, which spans about half of Tibet.
Before engaging in open public advocacy for justice for Dorjee, the family ran from post to post in Beijing for a decade seeking justice by maintaining a low profile out of public view.
Gonpo Kyi’s latest protest is her eighth known protest.
Gonpo and her family have been openly advocating for justice for Dorjee Tashi after failing to get it through quiet advocacy. In June 2022, Gonpo made a video statement in which she pledged to persist with her protests until her wrongfully imprisoned brother is released.
Dorjee Tashi, a successful businessman, was unjustly targeted and arrested in July 2008. Corrupt leaders in the officially designated Tibet Autonomous Region falsely accused him of being a “secessionist” due to his refusal to comply with personal requests for financial favors. Despite denying any political involvement, Dorjee was indicted for “loan fraud” instead. In July 2010, he received a life sentence with deprivation of political rights for life from the Lhasa Intermediate People’s Court.
Dorjee’s case highlights the ongoing injustices in Tibet. As a prominent former businessman and philanthropist, he endured torture during his pre-trial detention, as documented by the International Campaign for Tibet. He is currently held at Tibet Autonomous Region Prison No.1, notorious for its harsh conditions. His family is tirelessly advocating for his release and justice to be served.
The concerns expressed by the European Union and the United States underscore the seriousness of Dorjee Tashi’s arbitrary detention. The EU called for his immediate and unconditional release during the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council in September-October 2022, and the United States acknowledged his detention in its annual reports on human rights practices in both 2021 and 2022.