Dr Lobsang Sangay, the President of the Central Tibetan Administration, Dharamshala, India. Photo: TPI file

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Dharamshala, India — Expressing his sadness over the sentencing of the Tibetan language rights advocate, the President of the Central Tibetan Administration Tuesday says "the sentencing of Tashi Wangchuk for ‘inciting secession’ is a travesty of justice."

"The President of Central Tibetan Administration, Dr Lobsang Sangay today expressed sadness over the sentencing of Tashi Wangchuk, Tibetan language rights advocate," it said in a brief statement issued on May 22, 2018, when the case received wide coverage in the mainstream media. 

President Dr Sangay believes that the sentencing makes a critical commentary and exposes the fallacy of China’s claims to follow international norms and laws. “It’s a sad day for those who believe in rule of law, but we will continue to advocate his release,” affirmed Dr Sangay.

“The sentencing of Tashi Wangchuk for ‘inciting secession’ is a travesty of justice. Tashi Wangchuk was advocating the language rights of the Tibetan people as per the provisions in the Chinese constitution and therefore his case highlights the lack of basic, fundamental rights for Tibetan people in Tibet,” said President Dr Lobsang Sangay.

Tashi Wangchuk, a 33-year old Tibetan language advocate, was detained on January 27, 2016 and his trial took place on January 4, 2018 at Yushu Intermediate People’s Court, in Jyekundo County in the Kham region of Tibet (Ch: Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province). His lawyers, who had limited access to him during his pre-trial detention, reported that he was tortured and suffered extreme inhuman and degrading treatment during the first week of detention.

After over two years in detention China has Tuesday sentenced a Tibetan language advocate, to five years in prison on politically motivated charges of ‘inciting separatism’ after he publicly sought to realise his right to Tibetan language education in occupied Tibet. China sentenced Wangchuk to five years in prison on charges of “inciting separatism.” He had pleaded not guilty during his trial earlier this year in January.

He was first detained on January 27, 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.

Communist China began running Tibet after the military invasion of Tibet in 1949, assuring that freedom of Tibetan people would be respected. But Tibetans say the dictatorship government led by Mao— known as one of the most deadly mass killings of human history, went back on his word, forcing His Holiness the Dalai Lama to flee Tibet in 1959, destroying more than 6000 monasteries and temples and killing over 1.2 million Tibetans, out of a total of 6 million. Since then, Tibetans have launched an international campaign against the "occupying" China's authoritarian state that continues to face criticism for human rights violations in suppressing the people of Tibet.