Five Tibetan men arrested, one of them dies as a result of torture by Chinese authorities
Tibet and Human Rights Researcher,
Global Human Rights Defence.
Five Tibetans named Chugdhar, Ghelo, Tsedo, Bhamo and Kori have been arrested in Eastern Tibet for having publicly carried out a ceremony of burning incense and offering prayers for the Dalai Lama. The individuals arrested were all residents of Serthar County in Kardze (Ganzi) Prefecture and were taken to a detention centre in the same country on the 24th of August.
Two days after their arrest Chugdhar, 52 years old, was reported to have died in the detention centre. Chugdar died after undergoing beatings and torture while in detention. Chugdhar’s family reported he did not suffer from any pre-existing illnesses prior to his arrest.
The Chinese authorities would not allow Chugdhar’s body to be returned to his family for burial if the family did not sign a letter stating that his death did not come as a result of police beating.
The remaining four detainees were transferred to a detention centre in Kardze County on the 31st of August. Their families have been denied access to meet with them and all attempts to provide food for the detained have also been refused.
The treatment of Chugdhar, Ghelo, Tsedo, Bhamo and Kori by the Chinese authorities goes in direct violation of China’s international legal obligations.
Article 1 of the Convention Against Torture (CAT) explains the meaning of the term torture, explaining that the term encompasses all acts that intentionally inflict severe pain or suffering wether physical or mental for obtaining information, punishing or intimidating and coering an individual for any reason based on discrimination of any kind. This right to be free from inhumane treatment is reinforced by article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that no one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. China’s beatings and torture of the detainess goes in direct violation of these two articles, amounting to a violation of a jus cogens principle.
In addition, article 9 of the ICCPR also states that all individuals have the right to liberty and security of person, underlining that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary detention and arrest. In addition to this article, article 10 of the ICCPR writes that all people deprived of their liberty will be treated with humanity and with respect for the dignity of all human beings. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) also states that all individuals have the right to life, liberty and security of person. The arbitrary detention of the five men violates article 9 and 10 of the ICCPR and article 3 of the UDHR as the arrest has no legal foundation in the national or international legal sphere.
In this regard, China is seen to violate the ICCPR, the UDHR and the CAT.
NB: As a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in october 1998, China is not bound by the covenant however it has the obligation to act in good faith and not defeat the purpose of the ICCPR.
Sources and further reading:
Lhamo, C. (2022, September 15). One Tibetan killed, four arrested in Serthar County. Phayul Newsdesk. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from https://www.phayul.com/2022/09/21/47565/
Tibet News. (2022, September 18). China arrests five Tibetans, beats one to death, for praying long-life for Dalai Lama. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from https://www.tibetanreview.net/china-arrests-five-tibetans-beats-one-to-death-for-praying-long-life-for-dalai-lama/
Tibet Watch. (2022, September 20). Tibetan killed in police detention in Serthar County. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from https://www.tibetwatch.org/news/2022/9/20/nbsp-five-tibetans-arrested-in-serthar-county-for-organising-religious-activities