This report also has a section highlighting Amnesty International's specific concerns about juvenile Tibetan political prisoners.


Repression of political dissent in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), already endemic for many years, increased further during 1993 and 1994. New forms of repression were introduced, targeted primarily against people actively promoting the independence of Tibet. Hundreds of political prisoners, the overwhelming majority of them prisoners of conscience, were held. Most were Buddhist monks and nuns detained solely for their peaceful expression of support for independence. Some were held without charge or trial for long periods while others were sentenced to lengthy terms in prison after grossly unfair trials. Many of them were tortured.

This report also shows that juveniles have been detained and imprisoned for peacefully taking part in demonstrations – some of them were only 12 years old. Many of the safeguards provided in Chinese law and international human rights standards to protect minors are routinely ignored. Tibetan children accused of political offenses have been tortured or ill-treated, held with adult prisoners and forced to do hard labour. The report describes in detail the cases of 45 Tibetan juvenile political detainees.


Repression of political dissent has increased in recent years in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and in some Tibetan autonomous areas in Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces. People involved in activities in support of Tibetan independence are considered to be "splittists"[1] by the Chinese government, and consequently subjected to arbitrary arrests and detention. At least 628 political detainees, of which a majority were prisoners of conscience[2], were held in Tibet in December 1994.

In Lhasa, capital of the TAR, arbitrary arrests for political reasons have usually happened during small demonstrations involving less than a dozen people, principally Buddhist monks and nuns, chanting pro-independence slogans on the Barkor, the pilgrimage circuit around the Jokhang temple.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, most demonstrations were held in the Tibetan capital. However, in the past two years, political activities in support of Tibetan independence have increased in rural areas, leading to arbitrary arrests of more lay men and women accused of putting up illegal posters, staging demonstrations or organizing underground groups.

The recent intensification of pro-independence activities seems to have been fuelled by the official limitations placed on religious activities. The other recent source of dissatisfaction is a new increase in the number of non-Tibetan settlers in Tibet, mainly Han (ethnic Chinese) and Hui (one of the Muslim minorities in the PRC), whose presence is considered a threat to the Tibetan national identity by a number of Tibetans. The Han and Hui settlers are also seen as an economic threat, since many of them come to Tibet to buy shops and land.

Many Tibetans also express deep concern about the poor quality of education provided for their children and the limited access to primary and higher education. Only 60 per cent of school age children attend school in the TAR, according to Chinese press reports[3] The illiteracy rate in the TAR was around 45 per cent in 1991, compared with an average of about 16 per cent in the PRC.

New security measures aimed at suppressing pro-independence activities and limiting the scope of religious activities were introduced in Tibet in 1994. On 10 May, the authorities in Lhasa declared a one-month period of increased security measures coinciding with a series of Tibetan anniversaries, including religious festivals. The same month, justice officials gave an account of the recent treatment of "counter-revolutionary" cases in the TAR, stressing the fact that such activities had been on the rise in recent years.

    "We cracked down hard on the sabotage activities of separatists in accordance with law. Cases involving counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement handled by the region's courts have been on the rise in recent years... [A] handful of separatists who were swollen with counter-revolutionary arrogance carried out activities aimed at splitting the motherland and gradually spread their counter-revolutionary activities from the cities to the countryside."[4]

Chinese officials were later quoted as saying that 765 cases of "splittism" and other serious crimes were "handled" in the TAR in 1994. In its report, the Tibet Daily, the official newspaper of the TAR government, made no distinction between the two categories and gave no numeral breakdown. "All prosecutors in the region ... fully recognise that the legal assault on the destructive activities of the Dalai Lama clique and splittist factions is a priority task and a sacred duty bestowed on them by law", the official newspaper said[5]

In September 1994, the TAR authorities published new regulations on security, clearly defining people engaged in "splittist" activities as the first target of surveillance and security measures. All the social "organisations, groups, enterprises, institutions and civil administrations as well as citizens in the administrative jurisdiction" of the TAR are described in the document as coming under a new comprehensive management body, together with the security offices. Taking over the "management" of temples and monasteries is explicitly cited in this document as a major objective. The fundamental tasks assigned to this security apparatus are:

    "to combat, in accordance with the law, criminal elements who aim to split the motherland and commit other types of criminal offenses; investigate and prohibit various social evils; and severely punish criminal elements that seriously endanger public security."[6]

Shortly before these regulations were released, a new campaign to restrain religious activities in Tibet was launched in May 1994, when TAR Communist Party members were told to remove any signs of religion from their homes, such as altars, rosaries, shrines or pictures of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The campaign was extended in August 1994, when Tibetan government officials and employees were forbidden from possessing photographs of the Dalai Lama and instructed to recall any of their children who had been sent to India for education in schools set up by the Tibetan exile community.

Later, aspects of the campaign were extended to cover all Tibetans. Photographs of the Dalai Lama on display in the markets in Lhasa city were confiscated in September 1994. Such pictures had earlier been tolerated as the Dalai Lama's role as a religious leader had been acknowledged by the Chinese authorities.

In October 1994, the report of a Swedish Foreign Ministry human rights mission which visited Tibet in March 1994 was published. The report quoted Drokmi Jampa Lodroe, head of the TAR's Commission on Religious Affairs as saying that "the number of monks and nuns (...) covered rather more than the demands. The freedom of religion was now fully accomplished"[7]

In November 1994 the Propaganda Committee of the TAR Communist Party Committee confirmed this and published a directive aiming to further limit religious activities. "We must fix [freeze] the number of monks and nuns in the monasteries", the directive said. It stressed that a series of "obvious problems" in religious practices had to be corrected – such as unauthorized construction of monasteries, religious "interference" in education and birth control, the existence of monks under the age of 18, and participation by "a few Party members" in religion. "The influence of the enemy outside, especially the Dalai clique, has been slipping into the monasteries of our region more than ever", it added.[8]

This directive was issued shortly before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights' Special Rapporteur on religious intolerance, Abdelfattah Amor, visited China and Tibet between 19 to 30 November 1994. This was the first trip to the PRC by a UN human rights expert. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur is to examine incidents and governmental actions which are inconsistent with the UN Declaration on the Elimination of all forms of intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief.[9] The Special Rapporteur, who was invited by the Chinese Government, visited four cities: Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Lhasa. In Lhasa, he met government officials of the TAR, religious affairs government officials and religious associations and academics, and visited places of worship. His report was presented to the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva in February 1995.[10]

The Special Rapporteur stated that during this visit, Chinese officials did not deny some of the reported restrictions imposed on Tibetan monks and nuns. He cited officials of the Commission for Minorities and Religious Affairs as saying that "in a certain way", a control on the number of Tibetan monks and nuns was necessary to meet the economic capacity of monasteries, and that some monasteries had refused new monks or nuns because they already had too many. Chinese officials also confirmed that monks and nuns released after serving a sentence of imprisonment for "counter-revolutionary crimes" in Tibet could not return to their former monasteries.[11]

On 26 November, the Rapporteur met Yulo Dawa Tsering, a former abbot and prominent dissident who had been released on parole only a few weeks earlier, officially because of his good behaviour in detention and because he allegedly admitted being guilty of offenses. Talking to the Special Rapporteur, Yulo Dawa Tsering denied that he had recognized his "guilt" and said that he had been detained since 1987 for telling Italian tourists that he supported independence for Tibet. He stressed that he had not been allowed to rejoin any monastery since his release, like all monks and nuns formerly detained for political reasons[12]

According to unofficial reports, ordinary Tibetans were prevented from contacting the Special Rapporteur, as Chinese security forces were deployed in Lhasa during his visit. Tibetans who attempted to submit information to him said they were unable to reach the UN experts because of police surveillance, and western witnesses reported seeing monks being forced to leave the area around the Jokhang temple in Lhasa during the Special Rapporteur's two-day visit.

In his report, the Special Rapporteur recommended that the ban on access to places of worship for former prisoners charged with "counter-revolutionary" offenses to be lifted. He called for legislation to secure the right of everyone to practice their religion, including juveniles and members of the Communist Party and of other organizations. He also called for the release of monks, nuns and lay people belonging to unofficial religious organizations, including Tibetan ones[13]

He also said that the Chinese authorities had told him that there were no regulations on religious teaching and faith for juveniles under 18, but that the legislation stipulated that people had to be 18 before becoming a monk or a nun. Talking to the Special Rapporteur, unofficial sources stated that those aged under 18 could not attend religious teaching in public institutions. He called for specific provisions to be adopted in order to secure religious rights to people aged under 18 and to meet the recommendations of Article 14 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by China on 2 March 1992 [14]


The security clampdown on political dissent has led to continuing human rights violations during the past two years. In 1993 and 1994, arbitrary arrests, detention of prisoners of conscience, detention without trial, torture and ill-treatment continued to be widespread[15]

1. Prisoners of conscience and political prisoners

At least 628 political prisoners, including a majority of prisoners of conscience, were reported to be detained in Tibet as of late 1994, including 182 women and 45 people aged under 18 at the time of arrest. About 400 only were known to be held in late 1993.

The reported increase appeared to be the result of new arrests – at least 110 people were reported arrested in 1994[16]- and of the availability of information about prisoners previously unknown. In November 1994, an unofficial list smuggled out of Tibet named 250 political prisoners sentenced and detained in Drapchi prison in Lhasa, of whom at least 95 people who were arrested between 1989 and 1993 had previously been unknown to the outside world[17]

Very little official information is usually available about political prisoners in Tibet. However, in June 1994 the Chinese Government replied to a request for information about 108 Tibetan political prisoners which the US government had made in October 1993. The reply consisted of a list of 107 names, acknowledging the detention of 56 of them, including 11 who had been released, and denying knowledge of 51 others. According to the Chinese government, of those still detained, two had been sentenced and 43 were under investigation.

Furthermore, according to press reports, a senior Chinese Justice Ministry official in Beijing revealed in January 1995 that 200 of the 800 Tibetans officially detained in the TAR had been found guilty of "counter-revolutionary crimes". This figure falls far below the total number of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners in the TAR monitored by unofficial sources (see In December 1994, the UN Commission on Human Rights' Working Group on Arbitrary Detention published its annual report in which it concluded that the Chinese Government had violated international human rights standards by arbitrarily detaining 51 political prisoners, including 32 in Tibet, whose cases had come to the attention of the Working Group. The Working Group's concerns about arbitrary detention had been communicated one year earlier to the Chinese Government, who had not responded. Nine of the Tibetans cited in the report have already completed their sentences and have been released, two others have been released on bail, but 21 remained in jail in December 1994.

  • The oldest known political prisoner in Tibet, Lobsang Tsondru, is one of the prisoners of conscience in behalf of which the UN Working Group on arbitrary detention called for release. A monk and theologian from Drepung monastery, he is detained in Drapchi prison, in Lhasa. Various sources indicate that he was aged between 77 and 83 when he was arrested in March or April 1990. He was officially sentenced to six years' imprisonment for "involvement in illegal separatist activities". He is reported to have been severely beaten by prison guards and lost consciousness in an incident involving several prisoners in April 1991. Following the incident, he was held in solitary confinement for at least five months. He was reported in 1993 to have heart disease. In July 1994, the case was submitted by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to the Chinese Government, who replied that Lobsang Tsondru was in normal health[18]
  • The longest sentence known to have been imposed on a prisoner of conscience in Tibet affects a man who is now aged in his late sixties. By the time he is due to be released, in 2011, Jigme Sangpo will have spent 28 unbroken years in prison. A former primary school teacher, he is imprisoned in Drapchi prison in Lhasa. He was successively sentenced to three years' imprisonment in 1963 and 10 years' imprisonment in 1970 for making pro-independence statements. Released in 1980, he was aged 57 when he was arrested again and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment in 1983 on charges of "counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement". In 1988 he received an additional prison sentence of five years for shouting pro-independence slogans while in jail. Following a visit to Drapchi prison by the Swiss ambassador on 6 December 1991, he was reported to have been beaten for shouting slogans during the ambassador's visit and to have been held in solitary confinement for at least six weeks. His sentence was then increased again by a further eight years.

Some Tibetan prisoners of conscience were released in 1994. They included Gendun Rinchen and Lobsang Yonten, two human rights monitors arrested in May 1993 in Lhasa and accused of "stealing state secrets" and engaging in "separatist activities". Both were unexpectedly released in January 1994 before being tried[19] Yulo Dawa Tsering, a 62-year-old monk and the best known prisoner of conscience in Tibet, was released on parole in November 1994, together with three other Tibetan political prisoners, Thupten Namdrol, Tsewang Palden and Chungdag, who had also been held in Drapchi prison in Lhasa. Amnesty International welcomed the releases which, to its knowledge, marked the first time since 1988 that Chinese official sources had publicly announced the release of Tibetan prisoners of conscience.

2. New demonstrations and arbitrary arrests during 1993 and 1994

During 1993, more people were arrested in Tibet than in any year since 1987, the year when the pro-independence movement in Tibet awoke after decades of apparent inactivity. Some 44 pro-independence demonstrations, including eight outside Lhasa, were reported to have taken place in Tibet in 1993, as a result of which some 180 people were reportedly arrested, the majority of them held for peacefully advocating Tibetan independence.

In Lhasa, at least 60 Tibetans, mainly monks and nuns, were arbitrarily arrested in separate series of pro-independence demonstrations, particularly in March, May, June and December. In May, a major protest in Lhasa against a sharp rise in prices and rents turned into a pro-independence demonstration. The protest became violent and many arrests were reported.

Outside Lhasa, around 50 people were arrested in villages where a series of pro-independence protests took place in May and June. In late June, another 35 laypeople and monks were arbitrarily arrested in Kyimshi village, in the south of the TAR.

In areas outside the TAR inhabited by Tibetans, 60 Tibetans were arbitrarily arrested in July in the provinces of Qinghai, Sichuan and Gansu, shortly before or during the visit to Qinghai of Jiang Zemin, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.

In 1994, 19 demonstrations, including three outside Lhasa, were reported to have taken place in Tibet. According to unofficial sources, at least 110 people were arrested for political reasons during the year, including 30 whose names are not known[20] The majority of them are believed to have been arrested purely for peacefully advocating Tibetan independence and to be prisoners of conscience. It is not clear whether the lower number of demonstrations and arrests reported in 1994 was a result of people being deterred from demonstrating by the security crackdown or of information not being available.

Although the number of demonstrations in Lhasa decreased, pro- independence protests in rural areas were reportedly on the rise, usually taking the form of demonstrations by monks and nuns. In late February 1994, for instance, a demonstration was reported in Kyimshi village, Chideshol valley, 45 kilometres south of Lhasa, which resulted in the arbitrary arrest of eight nuns. In early March, at least seven nuns from Bumthang nunnery, in Lhokha Gongkar county, were reportedly arrested after unspecified political unrest. Between January and May, some 20 people were reported to have been arbitrarily arrested for putting up pro-independence posters in several counties in Chamdo prefecture, where pro-independence activities have been reported since 1989.

In Lhasa, at least 60 people were arbitrarily arrested during peaceful demonstrations or for other pro-independence activities in 1994. In late February, the director of the largest independent school was arrested and accused of "counter-revolutionary activities", according to unofficial sources, and the school was closed. On 21 March, three nuns from Garu nunnery, in the northern outskirts of Lhasa, were arrested after chanting pro-independence slogans on the Barkor. On 27 March, two monks were arrested immediately after they unfolded a Tibetan flag. In two separate demonstrations in May, at least 11 monks from Phurchok Monastery and Nyethang Tashigang Monastery were arrested.

A total of 12 nuns and monks from Penpo Lhundrup county were reportedly arbitrarily arrested in Lhasa between June and August in connection with at least four pro-independence demonstrations. Five nuns from Shar Bumpa nunnery, in Penpo Lhundrup county, 45 kilometres north-east of Lhasa, were arrested on 14 June after a brief demonstration on the Barkor. On 19 June the nunnery and the adjacent Monastery of Ganden Choekhor were surrounded by troops and subsequently put under police surveillance for at least a month. Four monks from Ganden Choekhor who went to Lhasa the next day to protest against the military action were immediately arrested. Two other demonstrations on 14 and 20 August led to the arrest of three other monks from Ganden Choekhor, shortly after they unfolded a Tibetan flag on the Barkor.

Other arrests were made during demonstrations staged by traders in 1994 in Lhasa and other Tibetan cities. On 27 May, an unknown number of people were arrested during a peaceful demonstration of up to 200 Tibetans shopkeepers protesting against tax assessments. According to witnesses, 17 shopkeepers were punched, kicked and hit with rifle butts by the People's Armed Police[21] They were then taken to the Gutsa Detention Centre in Lhasa, but were reportedly not accepted by prison officials because they were bleeding.

In December, 14 monks from the Sang-Ngag Kha Monastery, 25 kilometres east of Lhasa, were reported to have been arbitrarily arrested during three protests against "political interference" in their monastery. The protests took place on 2 and 7 December 1994, shortly after the visit to Tibet at the end of November 1994 by the UN Special Rapporteur on religious intolerance. One of the three protests is reported to have taken place in Lhasa on 2 December 1994 and to have involved eight monks; the other two protests, involving a total of six monks, occurred on 7 December in Lhasa and in Taktse town, where monks were also reported to have put up protest posters. The protests were believed to have been in response to interventions by the authorities at the Sang-Ngag Kha Monastery. The Communist Party Secretary of Taktse county had announced a strict limitation of the number of monks in the monastery, and threatened to close it down if any of the members showed support for the Tibetan pro-independence movement. These interventions were reportedly part of the campaign to restrict religious activities[22]

3. Heavy sentences after unfair trials

While some of those detained during the past two years were held without charge or received terms of administrative detention without being charged or tried, others have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment after trials which are believed not to have conformed with international standards for fair trial. Sentences received by people arrested during 1993 ranged between two and eight years' imprisonment. The few sentences known to have been imposed on people arrested in 1994 ranged between 12 and 15 years. During the past two years, those sentenced after trial before a court included:

  • Fourteen nuns serving various terms of imprisonment in Drapchi prison in Lhasa. The nuns were reportedly arrested between 1989 and 1992 for taking part in Tibetan pro-independence demonstrations. The nuns are not reported to have used or advocated violence and Amnesty International believes them to be prisoners of conscience. They had their sentences increased on 8 October 1993 by up to nine years for composing and recording in prison pro-independence songs. One of them, Phuntsog Nyidron, had her sentence extended to 17 years' imprisonment, the longest known current sentence for a female political prisoner in Tibet. The songs were recorded on a tape-recorder that had been smuggled into the prison, and the tape was then circulated secretly in Tibet. On the tape each of the 14 nuns announces her name and then dedicates a song or poem to her friends and supporters. In most of the songs the nuns reaffirm their commitment to Tibetan independence. It is believed that the Chinese authorities deemed that the public distribution of these songs amounted to "spreading counter- revolutionary propaganda"[23]
  • Eleven nuns from Garu Nunnery. They were sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from two to seven years imprisonment for their alleged part in a demonstration, which unofficial sources in Tibet claim never actually took place. The nuns were arrested on 14 June 1993, a day when no demonstration in or near Lhasa was reported, and sources from the city believe the nuns were arrested before they managed to begin a protest. Among the nuns arrested that day was Gyaltsen Pelsang, a 13-year-old novice (see page 27), and Gyaltsen Kelsang, who died in February 1995, shortly after being released on parole for medical treatment (see page 17). The date and circumstances of the trial were not made public by the Chinese authorities; the sentences were reported by unofficial sources in early February 1994. The nuns are detained in Drapchi prison[24]
  • Five Tibetans in Pakshoe county, Chamdo prefecture, eastern Tibet. They were sentenced at the end of July 1994 to between 12 and 15 years in prison for "counter-revolutionary sabotage" and "counter- revolutionary propaganda and incitement". Such heavy sentences for political offenses had not been known since 1992. They had allegedly broken a government building's name-plate and posted up pro- independence slogans in March 1994. The sentence was announced by a court at a show trial (mass sentencing rally) attended by several thousand local inhabitants, and broadcast on Tibetan television. The ringleaders, Jigme Dorje, Lobsang Dargye and Pema Tsering were each sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment followed by five years' deprivation of political rights. Lobsang Palden and Jampa Tashi were each sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment with four years' deprivation of political rights. The place of detention of the five is unknown.

    Amnesty International is concerned that trial procedures in Tibet, as elsewhere in the People's Republic of China, fall far short of international standards for fairness. Extreme limitations are placed on the rights to defence and confessions – often extracted under torture – are used as evidence. Defendants have no right to call witnesses and have inadequate time and facilities to prepare a defence. In political cases such as those cited above, the likelihood that defendants receive a fair hearing is even more remote than in ordinary criminal cases, the outcome usually being a foregone conclusion.

    Details about trials are rarely available. However, in 1993 Bagdro, a monk from Ganden Monastery, gave a detailed account of how he and five other Tibetans were tried in January 1989 for taking part in pro-independence demonstrations. Bagdro was sentenced to three years' imprisonment, one defendant was given a suspended death sentence, and others received up to 20 years' imprisonment for their alleged part in the death of a Chinese policeman during a pro- independence demonstration in 1988. Released in April 1991, Bagdro managed to flee the country and testified before a parliamentary committee in the United Kingdom in 1993. According to him, the evidence against the defendants was based solely on confessions extracted under torture. Extraction of confession through torture clearly contravenes to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, of which Article 15 states: "Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings".

    In his testimony, Bagdro described how he was tortured during one month when under investigation and provided the first eye-witness account of a political trial in modern Tibet:

      "After a month I could not cope with the situation longer, so I confessed to hitting a policeman with an iron bar. They wrote out this confession... Then six of us were accused of being the leaders of the demonstration and being responsible for killing the policeman... Each of us was given a sheet of paper with the crimes we were accused of... I no longer have mine but it said:

      1. I was one of the leaders of a splittist movement.
      2. I was one of the leaders of the demonstration.
      3. I had killed a policeman.

    I was given the charge sheet three days before the court appearance... We were all asked if we wanted a representative. We were told that the representative could be anyone – parents, friends or whatever – as long as they knew about Chinese law. We said that we did not want representatives... We knew that if we nominated someone, for example if I nominated my father, then they would go to him, put pressure on him and tell him what he could say and what he could not say... After this no one spoke to us at any point about evidence or procedure. The possibility of lawyers was not specifically mentioned, just representatives. One day before we went into court we were given a small slip of paper notifying us about the court appearance... [During the hearing] my confession was mentioned and I said right away that it was taken under torture. However I was prevented from speaking further. We all managed to get out that our statements were under torture... Before we had been taken from the prison to the court, just before we left, we had been told not to say anything about the beating... We were taken out by a side entrance to the outside. There we were heavily beaten [by soldiers]... I was convicted of killing a policeman, throwing stones at the police and taking part in a demonstration... When we went back to prison we were told that we had ten days to write down our complaints. Four of us did this, but not me. I could not write this because I knew it would be useless... The rejection of the complaint or appeal came back 20 days later in writing. Each one got a letter. Even we got letters although we hadn't put in an appeal. It said that whatever decision had been made stood."

    4. Torture and ill-treatment

    The People's Republic of China has ratified the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Criminal Law of the PRC also stipulates that "it is strictly forbidden to extort confession by torture" (Article 136)[25] The Criminal Procedure Law repeats the prohibition of "extortion of confessions by torture" or by other "unlawful means". The Regulations on Detention Centres which came into force in March 1990 provide that "beating and verbal abuse, corporal punishment" and "maltreatment" of "offenders" are "strictly forbidden[26]

    Nevertheless, torture and ill-treatment of prisoners in Tibet continued to be frequently reported by former prisoners and unofficial sources in Lhasa. Torture during interrogation, including beatings, electric shocks, deprivation of food or drink, exposure to cold, handcuffing or shackling for long periods, and denial of medical treatment are reported to be common. Amnesty International believes that the pattern of torture and ill-treatment of Tibetan detainees indicated by these reports is continuing and that officials responsible for torture and ill-treatment are not brought to justice. Those tortured or ill-treated during detention include:

    • A Tibetan prisoner who managed to escape and later gave a testimony about his detention. In 1969, he had been reportedly charged with "counter-revolutionary crimes" and imprisoned for 13 years. In April 1992, he was again arrested in Dartsedo, a city in Ganze autonomous Tibetan district in Sichuan province, while putting up pro- independence posters at night with three other Tibetans who were also arrested. During the arrest, he stabbed a policeman to death. The prisoner was kept for five months in leg- and hand-cuffs. The cuffs on his legs weighed 30 kilos. This amounts to ill-treatment forbidden by the Rule 33 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. After five months, he was sentenced to death suspended for two years, a sentence frequently used in China which may be commuted into a sentence of life imprisonment. During the trial, he had to carry a board around his neck with his name on it, a humiliating practice traditionally used in China to stigmatize the prisoner in view of the public.
    • Two Tibetan men who were arrested in May 1993 after taking part in pro-independence demonstrations in villages near Lhasa were detained for investigation in a local prison for a few weeks. According to unofficial sources, they were denied food for one day and night after arrest. They were beaten, kicked and given electric shocks and left for a night in a room which was ankle-deep in water. They could not sit or lie down, as there were no chairs or beds and they did not want to lie in the water. The next day they were moved to another cell and interrogated.
    • According to a number of unofficial reports, Damchoe Pemo, a Tibetan woman arrested in Lhasa on 20 May 1993, miscarried a week after police forced her to remain standing for at least 12 hours and beat her with electric batons. A Lhasa trader in her mid-twenties, she was reportedly four or five months pregnant when she was detained. According to one source, the incident took place after she had refused to reveal the names of Tibetan underground activists during interrogation. She was apparently arrested on suspicion of being a member of a pro-independence organization. Her release was officially announced on 29 October to European ambassadors during a meeting in Beijing.
    • Three Tibetans who were travelling to India were arrested in Tingri and detained for 11 days in early 1994. According to their testimonies given after escaping to India, they received electric shocks on the face, shoulders and chest during interrogation. They were also kicked in the stomach. One of them said he was put alone in cell, which had blood stains on the walls and mattresses. Another prisoner told him that these stains were left by a prisoner who had been severely tortured the day before. Later, the three prisoners were made to stand barefoot in the snow for an hour in the prison courtyard. During the Chinese and Tibetan new year, the guards threw fire-crackers into their cell and the inmates had to cover their heads with blankets to avoid being hurt.

    5. Death in custody

    On 4 June 1994 Phuntsog Yangkyi, a 20-year-old Tibetan nun and prisoner of conscience serving her sentence in Drapchi prison, died in a police hospital in Lhasa. She was serving a five-year prison sentence for taking part in a brief pro-independence demonstration in February 1992.

    According to unofficial sources, she was beaten by prison guards after she and other nuns sang nationalist songs on 11 February 1994. She apparently lost consciousness after medical staff in the prison gave her medication because she was "speaking uncontrollably". She was transferred to the Police Hospital in Lhasa on 4 June 1994 where she died, a few days after being given a lumbar puncture. She was reportedly given the traditional Tibetan funeral known as "sky-burial". It is not known whether her family was able to attend the funeral, and no independent medical investigation into the cause of her death was reported to have taken place before the ceremony[27]

    In July 1994, her case was submitted by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture to the Chinese Government, who replied that the prison administration had discovered that Phuntsok Yangkyi had a tuberculoma, sent her to hospital for treatment, and that after her death the prison arranged for her remains to be taken for burial in accordance with Tibetan custom[28]

    Amnesty International continues to ask the Chinese government to clarify the circumstances of Phuntsog Yangkyi's death, as required by international standards and the Chinese regulations. According to medical opinion given to Amnesty International, provided normal medical care was available, a tuberculoma would not cause her death. Given the difficulty of diagnosing a tuberculoma, it is surprising that the diagnosis was made by the prison administration before Phuntsog Yangkyi was sent to hospital. Amnesty International is seeking from the Chinese authorities an account of the symptoms that made the prison administration send her to hospital, the time at which the tuberculoma was first diagnosed, and what treatment was given to her before and during her stay in hospital. In addition, it is an accepted good practice, both internationally and by Chinese standards[29], that a death in custody should be give rise to an inquiry, including a post- mortem examination, to establish the cause and circumstances of death. If such an enquiry took place, the findings should be published.

    Another 24-year-old Tibetan is reported to have died on 20 February 1995 shortly after leaving custody on medical parole, which means she was still legally under the control of prison authorities. The exact cause of Gyaltsen Kelsang's death is unknown, however, she was reportedly ill-treated in detention, held in poor conditions and to have been diagnosed as suffering from a severe kidney complaint.

    Gyaltsen Kelsang was arrested with eleven other nuns from Garu Nunnery, north of Lhasa, on 14 June 1993, accused of having taken part in a pro-independence demonstration (see page 11, 12). Gyaltsen Kelsang was subsequently sentenced to two years' imprisonment, and was a prisoner of conscience.

    At the time of her arrest in June 1993, and also after her arrival at Drapchi prison in Lhasa, Gyaltsen Kelsang is reported to have been beaten. An unofficial Tibetan source said that "she was badly beaten there [Drapchi prison], became weak and was put to hard labour". The source also said that a year after her arrest "her health worsened and she was bed-ridden for more than 20 days in prison, but the prison guards did not care."

    In late November 1994 she was reportedly taken from Drapchi prison to a police hospital in Lhasa where she was diagnosed as suffering from severe kidney problems. After admission to the hospital she is reported to have lost movement in her lower limbs and to have suffered speech impairment. A Tibetan who visited her there in November 1994 said, "from the waist down she was very thin and didn't feel anything in either of her legs ... she couldn't eat and her face looked really dry. She was very scared of dying and could hardly speak. She spoke very slowly and she was panting a lot. She said she was going to die soon."

    A month after being taken to the police hospital, Gyaltsen Kelsang's health had apparently not improved and she was sent to her parents' home on medical parole[30] Her parents were requested to report once a week to the authorities on their daughter's health and arranged for her to be admitted to the Tibetan Medical Hospital. She stayed in hospital for nine weeks but, seven days after being discharged, she died at her parents' home on the outskirts of Lhasa. Her remains are reported to have been given a traditional Tibetan funeral. Her sentence was due to expire in June 1995.

    Amnesty International is calling on the Chinese authorities to provide information about the date at which Gyaltsen Kelsang's illness was first diagnosed, what the exact diagnosis was, what treatment was recommended and what treatment she received. It is also calling on the authorities to disclose whether a post-mortem examination was carried out to determine the cause of Gyaltsen Kelsang's death and, if so requests that the findings of the post-mortem be made public.

    Amnesty International is concerned that in the recent past, three young Tibetan women have died shortly after release from prison, and that the Chinese government's accounts of the reasons for, and circumstances of, their death are inadequate and did not respond to allegations of ill-treatment. Gyaltsen Kelsang is the tenth Tibetan political prisoner since 1987 reported to have died shortly after being sent to hospital from prison, and the three most recent deaths were young women. In October 1992, Kunsang Choekyi, another young nun from Shungsep nunnery, died a month after release from Trisam re-education through labour camp. Amnesty International is asking the Chinese authorities to give a full account of the circumstances in the women's deaths and in particular to explain what link, if any, there was between the alleged ill-treatment and the subsequent deaths.


    Tibetan children, of which a majority are novice monks and nuns, have often been arrested while peacefully demonstrating, chanting slogans on the Barkor, the pilgrimage circuit around the Jokhang temple in Lhasa. At least 34 male, and 11 female, Tibetan political prisoners, most of them prisoners of conscience, arrested between 1991 and 1994 and who were reportedly still detained in December 1994, were under the age of 18 at the time of arrest. The two youngest were aged 12 at the time of arrest. At least 12 of them were tried on criminal charges and sentenced to between two and six years' imprisonment.

    In December 1994, 26 of them were still under 18 years of age, including seven girls, of which 13 were under the age of 16. The cases detailed in this document concern these 26; the 19 others, whose names are also listed here, were aged 18 or over in December 1994.

    The detention of five of the 45 Tibetans political prisoners under the age of 18 at the time of arrest was confirmed by the Chinese Government in June 1994 in the list of 56 detainees handed to the US State Department (see page 7). They are: Dorje (aged 15 at the time of arrest), Gyaltsen Pelsang (15), Jampel Dorje (15) Phurbu Tashi (15) and Sonam Choephel (12), all arrested in May and June 1993. The five were listed as "individuals awaiting sentence", but the Chinese Government provided only prisoners' names without any further details.

    Because of the close control exercised by the authorities over all information concerning human rights issues, and the almost total absence of public records about prisoners, Amnesty International cannot confirm the reported ages of all prisoners. The ages given in this report are at the time of arrest, as reported by unofficial sources. In some cases the age may be approximate but has been confirmed by several sources and is believed to be accurate.

    1. Amnesty International's concerns about juvenile political detainees in Tibet

    The treatment of juvenile detainees in Tibet violates both Chinese law and international human rights treaties which China is legally bound to observe[31] Their rights are persistently violated, as detainees and as juveniles. Amnesty International is particularly concerned at reports that juvenile detainees in Tibet have been ill-treated in detention and some subjected to conditions of detention which may amount to cruel or degrading treatment.

    The People's Republic of China signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 29 August 1990 and ratified it on 2 March 1992. Signatories are bound to refrain from any practices which may defeat the objectives of the Convention. The Article 37 (b) states:

      "No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time."

    In this regard, Amnesty International is concerned that juveniles appear to be detained in Tibet in conditions which may not accord with the provisions of the Convention.

    1.1 Juvenile prisoners of conscience

    The overwhelming majority of juvenile political prisoners in Tibet are novice monks and nuns who were arrested in Lhasa while peacefully demonstrating and chanting pro-independence slogans. Amnesty International considers the majority of them to be prisoners of conscience.

    Chinese regulations prohibit juveniles under the age of 18 from registering in monasteries as monks and nuns, but many Tibetan juveniles have settled in or near monasteries, without being properly registered, in order to receive a traditional Tibetan education and religious teaching. This follows a long-established tradition of admitting children aged 11 or 12 as novices in monasteries and nunneries. They wear the traditional religious dress and consider themselves novice nuns and monks. This phenomenon means that in some cases the actual number of monks or nuns in a monastery or nunnery is at least twice the official number (see page 6).

    Amnesty International is concerned that all novice monks and nuns held as prisoners of conscience, irrespective of their administrative status in monasteries or nunneries, should be released immediately and unconditionally, including those whose cases are described below in section 2.

    1.2 Long-term detention without trial

    Long-term detention without charge or trial as well as administrative sentences seem to be used as an alternative to criminal punishment for many juvenile Tibetan detainees, as they are for adults. Amnesty International is concerned that Tibetan juvenile detainees do not appear to be able to promptly challenge the legality of their detention before an appropriate independent and impartial authority.

    This is in contradiction with the article 37 (d) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child:

      "Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action."

    Juveniles under investigation, like adults, may be put in detention by the police without any judicial decision – the theoretical time limit of three months being frequently ignored. Testimonies indicate that with no regard for their age (the law does not specify a minimum age for detention for investigation), detainees are often held awaiting sentence for several months or even up to a year. The legal alternative of putting minors under the surveillance of their parents does not seem to be used.

    Without being tried, juvenile detainees may simply be issued with an administrative detention order and sent to a labour camp to serve their term. Administrative detention may be used as an alternative to a criminal sentence for a person who has not reached the age of criminal responsibility and therefore cannot be prosecuted. Article 14 of the Chinese Criminal Law fixes the age of criminal responsibility at 16 in most cases, and at 14 for "serious" crimes, some of which are vaguely defined and open to interpretation[32] According to some sources, the minimum age of "shelter and rehabilitation" (shourong jiaoyang, a specific form of administrative detention for juveniles) is 14.

    The Administrative Procedure Law of the PRC, adopted in 1989, makes it possible in principle for detainees to challenge, before the People's Court, an administrative detention decision taken against them. Since the law came into effect, Amnesty International is not aware of any challenge to the detention of a Tibetan juvenile taken before a court.

    1.3 Torture and ill-treatment of juvenile detainees

    The PRC has ratified the Convention against Torture, and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and Chinese law bans torture and corporal punishment (see page 14).

    The article 37 (a) of the Convention of the Rights of the Child states: "No child shall be subjected to torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offenses committed by persons below eighteen years of age.

    The Chinese Constitution[33], in Article 49, states that children need special protection and should never be maltreated. The Law on Protection of Minors, Article 52, states: "Agents of the legal administration who infringe the regulations of surveillance in custody, who commit corporal punishment and ill-treatment against juveniles, shall bear criminal responsibility in accordance with the Article 189 of the Criminal Law" [34] A document issued in 1979 by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party [35] stated in Article 4: "Juvenile criminals should be educated and reformed. But the minority of juveniles who commit serious crimes must be treated according to the law ... The minority who must undergo re-education-through-labour or even be sentenced to criminal penalty, must also, with regards for their specificity, undergo education, and the use of violence should be banned. Juvenile offenders should not at any time, under any circumstances, be subjected to humiliation, beating, corporal punishment or other illegal means".

    Despite these provisions against torture, juveniles, like adults, have been subjected to beatings, electric shocks, solitary confinement and deprivation of sleep, food or drink as punishment. Beatings by the police are reported to be particularly common, for juveniles as well as adults, during arrest and during the usually brief period of detention in police stations before detainees are sent to a detention centre. Torture is reported to be frequently used during interrogation in detention centres, and as a punishment in prisons or in reform- through-labour camps.

    Several testimonies cited later in this report describe torture and ill-treatment of juveniles. Those still in detention who are reported to have been tortured or ill-treated include: Champa Tsondrue (17 when arrested), Lobsang Choezin (17), Pema Oeser (16), Sherab Ngawang (12) and Tenzin Dekyong (16).

    1.4 Fear of ill-treatment for juvenile detainees

    Testimonies of former detainees also give rise to great concern that the conditions of detention of Tibetan juveniles believed to be currently held might very often result in ill-treatment. People arrested in Tibet as a result of their political involvement are usually held separately, but with no regard to their age, resulting in juveniles often being held with adults.

    This situation violates both Chinese law and international human rights treaties. Chinese legislation provides that people aged under 18 must be held separately from adults, which is in accordance with the recommendations of article 37 (c) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed and ratified by China in 1992:

      "Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child's best interest not to do so and shall have the rights to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances."

    Article 8(d) of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners states: "Young prisoners shall be kept separate from adults." Article 85 (2) adds: "Young untried prisoners shall be kept separate from adults and shall in principle be detained in separate institutions."

    Article 41 of the Law on Protection of Minors of the PRC is consistent with international regulations when stating: "Juveniles under investigation and young criminals must be kept separated from adults." Article 39 of the Law on prison states: "Prisons will implement separate imprisonment and supervision for adult males and females, and minor prisoners, and the reform of minor and female prisoners shall take into consideration their physical and psychological features"[36] Article 74 states: "Criminal punishment for juvenile delinquents should be enforced in juvenile correctional facilities."

    Juvenile sections do exist in some prisons in China, as do detention centres for juvenile criminals, which are part of the prison system, and where detainees have received either an administrative sentence or a criminal one. However, numerous testimonies received in the past few years indicate that provision for the separate detention of juveniles is frequently ignored[37] None of the juvenile political detainees known to Amnesty International were ever reported to be held in a juvenile section of a prison or a juvenile detention centre.

    A juvenile section reportedly exists in Gutsa Detention Centre in Lhasa. However, juvenile political detainees held there for investigation, or with an administrative sentence, are reportedly never kept in this section, but are usually mixed with adult political prisoners. In Drapchi Prison in Lhasa, where those who have been tried and sentenced to criminal penalties are held, no juvenile section has ever been reported to exist. Juveniles at Drapchi prison are reportedly held with adult political prisoners.

    There is a well-founded fear of ill-treatment for Tibetan juvenile political detainees when held with adults. They are subjected to an environment where torture is endemic. Even when juvenile detainees themselves are not tortured, exposure to such a environment may be considered as ill-treatment with regard to the mental damage this experience may cause.

    Conditions of detention in "political" sections are often reported to be harsh, and medical treatment to be non-existent. Juveniles appear to work with adults, whether in prison, detention centres, reform-through-labour detachments or re-education-through- labour detachments. They are often forced to do hard labour, endangering their health, or to work in unsanitary conditions. They are reportedly not granted special conditions of work or reduced work hours, a situation which may cause physical damage and endanger a young person's development[38]

    Detention of juvenile political detainees with adults may also deprive them of provisions which are granted to other juvenile detainees. In his testimony, a former detainee from Gutsa Detention Centre, said that juvenile detainees are permitted to receive regular visits from their relatives and to receive letters; but he claims that he was held with adult prisoners and that he was only permitted one visit a month (see below: testimony of former detainee D.).

    1.5 Post-release discrimination

    Testimonies indicate that some juveniles are dismissed from school if they have been arrested and detained for a few days or more. This infringes both Chinese law and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    The Law on the Protection of Minors explicitly stipulates that a minor released after a period of detention for investigation, from prison or from re-education should not face discrimination at school or work. Article 44 states: "When the Procuracy decides not to prosecute a minor, when the People's Court decides not to sentence the minor or gives a suspended sentence, or when the minor is released from "shelter and re-education" or has finished serving a sentence, the juvenile should not be subjected to any discrimination when returning to school, entering a school of a higher grade or working."

    These provisions appear to have been ignored for many young Tibetans (see below testimonies of former detainees A., B. and C.).

    2. From police station to prison: juveniles detained as a result of their political involvement

    The evidence of many testimonies from former prisoners of conscience and political detainees, and information about juveniles detained for their alleged involvement in pro-independence activities, clearly illustrates the human rights violations faced by both adult and juvenile detainees in Tibet. After being arrested, they are transferred from a police station to a detention centre, from where they may again be transferred to another place of detention following a decision made by a court or administrative authority. Each of these places is affected by a specific pattern of human rights violations.

    The names of the former detainees who gave their testimonies after being released are being withheld to protect them and their families. The torture and ill-treatment described in these testimonies are similar to that described by adult former detainees.

    2.1 Torture and ill-treatment of children at Lhasa police station

    People arrested during demonstrations in Lhasa are first taken to a police station. They are often beaten during arrest, as well as during their brief detention of a few hours or days in the police station. The following testimonies concern juvenile detainees:

    • Former detainee A., was aged 13 at the time of his arrest in 1987 after a violent demonstration in Lhasa.

    He stated that he was arrested by police officers at his home, and beaten while being driven in a police car. On arrival at a police station, he was badly beaten. He was then hit with an iron rod and given electric shocks on the upper part of his body. Police officers told him to remove all his clothes except for his underpants. His mouth was kicked and one of his front teeth broke. An electric baton was put in his mouth. His hands were cuffed diagonally behind his back while bottles were stuck inside his elbows and after a few minutes his arms lost all feeling. He was not given any food or water during the interrogation. He was then kept for a night and a day alone in a cell without being questioned. After a few days in detention, he was released after his family and teachers intervened. He learned later that he had been expelled from his school. Many of his friends had also been expelled.

    • Former detainee B. was 16 years old when arrested in late 1992 after he had demonstrated in Lhasa.

    He was reportedly arrested in a tea shop, severely beaten and detained for a few days in a police station. One of his teeth was broken as a result of the beating. He was expelled from school after he was released.

    • Former detainee C., a teenager arrested with five other youths, including one aged 13, in December 1993 in Lhasa while walking around the Barkor and singing nationalist songs.

    C. stated that they were handcuffed and taken to a police station. On the way, police officers allegedly beat them with belts and kicked them. When they arrived, they were kicked and beaten all night and the following day. They were forced to remove their clothes, except for their underwear. They were beaten with a kind of whip made of electricity wires. The wires did not give electric shocks, but caused intense pain. Sometimes, the interrogators stepped on the juveniles while they were lying on the ground. They were also threatened with being sent to Gutsa Detention Centre. They were released after three days. The following day, C. discovered that police had come to his school to ask for him, and he decided to run away from Lhasa.

    2.2 Detention without trial, torture and ill-treatment in Gutsa Detention Centre in Lhasa

    Situated in the northern outskirts of Lhasa, Gutsa Detention Centre is the main place of detention for juveniles in the capital of the TAR. Juveniles arrested in Lhasa are transferred from police custody to Gutsa. Gutsa is used for both children and adults awaiting trial, and for those sentenced to up to two years' imprisonment or who have less than two years to serve. Detention without charge or trial is common in Gutsa, as is torture during interrogation of detainees under investigation. Beatings, the use of electric shock batons and solitary confinement are widely reported.

    A. Testimonies

    • Former detainee D. was aged 16 when arrested with other demonstrators in September 1990. He was detained in Gutsa until 1993. It was the second time he had been arrested (see A.)

    D. testified that after being arrested he and the others were taken to Gutsa, where they were made to balance upside-down against a wall for about an hour. During the first session of interrogation, he was slapped in the face and kicked by interrogators. He was kept alone in a cell until he was taken to court about six months later. He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment by the Lhasa Intermediate Court, where the defendants did not get an opportunity to speak. He was then sent back to Gutsa, where he was kept in a cell with 14 adults, most of whom were convicted criminals awaiting sentence. He had to work at a stone quarry every day with 11 adult political and ordinary criminal prisoners, and was injured while working.

    D. stated that a juvenile section exists in Gutsa, where children could meet their parents, but juvenile political detainees were not held there. He was allowed only one visit from relatives per month. He said he was beaten with a wooden stick because he had carried a letter for somebody outside the detention centre to a vegetable farm where he was forced to work for a while. His left arm was broken during the beating and he was allowed to receive medical treatment only after his brother visited him and insisted that he be taken to hospital.

    • Former detainee E. was a novice nun aged 15 at the time of her arrest in 1991 while demonstrating. She was held at Gutsa Detention Centre.

    During the first interrogation, she was threatened with electric batons, but was not touched. She said that she was not beaten very much, although on three occasions she was slapped in the face. For the next six days she was detained alone in a cell, and was interrogated intensely. During these interrogations she was "beaten very badly by a Chinese official who kicked me with his boots on my thighs".

    After three months, another nun was put in the cell. After a further two months, E. was given "a piece of paper on which a two-year sentence was announced" – an administrative sentence decided by committee without charge or trial. During the five months before her sentence was announced, her relatives had tried to see her twice, but were not allowed to. After being informed of her sentence, she spent a further six months in Gutsa working in a greenhouse with a production quota to fulfil. She believes that her age "might have been one of the reasons I was not beaten much. My fellow prisoners had been treated far worse. Many of them had big scars. Some prisoners were about the same age or even younger. Some of them had been beaten very much, in spite of their young age", she said.

    B. Juveniles reportedly still held in Gutsa in December 1994

    At least nine political juvenile detainees, three girls and six boys, all of them still under 18, are reportedly held in Gutsa. They are:

    • Champa Tsondrue and Lobsang Choezin, both 17 at the time of arrest on 20 June 1994.

    Both are novice monks from Ganden Choekhor, a monastery in Penpo Lhundrup county, 45 kilometres north east of Lhasa. They were arrested with two other monks as they staged a peaceful demonstration on the Barkor pilgrimage circuit in Lhasa, chanting slogans protesting about a recent police raid against the nunnery of Shar Bumpa, in Penpo Lhundrup county (see below: case of Seldroen), and are prisoners of conscience. All four were reported to have been severely beaten when they were taken away from the Barkor by security officials. The police allegedly tied their hands tight behind their backs before throwing them into the back of a truck. They were reported to have been taken to Gutsa Detention Centre, where they are believed to be still held.

    • Gyaltsen Pelsang was 13 at the time of her arrest on 14 June 1993. She was held in Gutsa until 9 February 1995, when she was reportedly released after nearly two years in detention whithout trial.

    Gyaltsen Pelsang, whose layname is Nyima or Migmar, was born in Trikhang village in Medro Gyama. She was a novice from Garu nunnery, 5 kilometres north of Lhasa. She was among a group of 11 nuns from Garu who were arrested on 14 June 1993 in Lhasa and given prison sentences of up to seven years for allegedly participating in a demonstration or attempting to stage a demonstration, and was believed to be a prisoner of conscience (see page 11, 12).

    Her arrest was confirmed by the Chinese Government in June 1994 in the list of 56 detainees handed to the US State Department, where she was listed as "not yet criminally sentenced".

    Shortly after being taken to Gutsa, she reportedly staged a brief protest with other nuns, shouting pro-independence slogans and demanding that they receive sentences. As a result of this she was denied family visits for the next 16 months and her relatives were refused information about her whereabouts or health.

    Gyaltsen Pelsang was born with a handicapped right leg, the condition of which is said to have deteriorated during her imprisonment. A Tibetan who saw her after her release said that her leg had become worse and that she was trying to get medecine.

    • Jampa Dedrol was 15 at the time of her arrest on 14 June 1993.

    Born in Thangya village, Jampa Dedrol was a novice from Michungri nunnery near Lhasa. She was reportedly arrested for peacefully demonstrating in Lhasa and taken to Gutsa Detention Centre. She is believed to be a prisoner of conscience. There has been no recent news of her whereabouts.

    • Tenzin Dekyong was 16 at the time of her arrest on 13 March 1993 during a peaceful demonstration in Lhasa.

    Originally from Medro county, she was a novice from Michungri nunnery, and is believed to be a prisoner of conscience. According to some reports, she was beaten at the time of her arrest and was subsequently taken to Gutsa Detention Centre.

    • Gyagpa (16), Kelsang (16), Pasang (15), and Phurbu (16), were arrested on 3 June 1993.

    All were born in Penpo Lhundrup, and are novice monks from Tsepag Lhakhang monastery in Ramoche. They were reportedly arrested with two monks in Tsepag Lhakhang and taken to Gutsa Detention Centre. The exact reason for their arrest is not known, although they are reported to be held for political reasons.

    Seven other Tibetan prisoners who were aged under 18 at the time of arrest between 1991 and 1994 but were no longer minors at the end of 1994, were reported to be still detained in Gutsa in December 1994. All of them are reported to have been arrested for peacefully advocating Tibetan independence, and are believed to be prisoners of conscience. They were:

    Changlochen (17), a monk from Tsepak Lhakhang monastery, in Ramoche, was arrested on 3 June 1993 for allegedly taking part in pro- independence activities.

    Dawa Sonam (16) and Dondup (17), monks from Ganden monastery, were reportedly arrested in May 1992 for taking part in a demonstration in Lhasa.

    Gyaltsen Drolma (f,16) and Gyaltsen Pema (f,17), nuns from Garu Nunnery in Lhasa, were reportedly arrested on 9 June 1991 for taking part in a demonstration in the Barkor, in Lhasa. According to some sources, this was the second time that Gyaltsen Drolma had been detained for her involvement in pro-independence activities.

    Lobsang Choedron (f,17), a nun from Michungri, was arrested on 3 February 1992 during a peaceful demonstration in Lhasa.

    Ngawang Dadrol (f,17), a nun from Garu nunnery, in Lhasa, was reportedly arrested on 15 June 1992 during a demonstration by sixteen nuns around the Potala palace in Lhasa.

    C. Juveniles arrested in Lhasa and likely to be still held in Gutsa.

    The following six juveniles, all of them still under 18, were reported to have been arrested in Lhasa for taking part in pro-independence activities, but no further details of their whereabouts are available. If still detained, it is likely that they are being held in Gutsa Detention Centre. – Pema Oeser was 16 at the time of her arrest on 17 August 1993 in Lhasa.

    A novice from Nagar nunnery, Chegar, in Penpo Lhundrup county, she was arrested while peacefully demonstrating with three other nuns and is believed to be a prisoner of conscience. Unconfirmed reports said she had been beaten at the time of her arrest.

    • Phuntsog Seldrag, 17 (other name: Pema Thinley), Phuntsog Tendon, 14, (layname: Migmar) and Thupten Geleg, 16 (other name: Dorje) were arrested on 31 May 1994.

    They were arrested during a brief and peaceful demonstration in Lhasa, together with five Tibetan monks, and are prisoners of conscience. Phuntsog Seldrag and Phuntsog Tendon are both originally from Nyethang, Chushur county, whereas Thupten Geleg is originally from Lokha Gongkar To-rwa. All three were novice monks from Nyethang Tashigang monastery.

    • Seldroen, was 17 or 18 at the time of her arrest on 14 June 1994 in Lhasa.

    Born in Penpo Lhundrup county, Seldroen was a novice from Shar Bumpa nunnery, in Lhundrup county, west of Kusha. She was arrested with four other nuns during a brief and peaceful demonstration, and is a prisoner of conscience. Three days after, the nunnery and the adjacent monk's quarters were reportedly raided by People's Armed Police, leading to a clash between some of the nuns and the police. It was reported that the nunnery was subsequently surrounded by security officers for several months. Other arrests linked to this incident have been reported (see above cited cases of Champa Tsondrue and Lobsang Choezin).

    • Tharpa was 17 at the time of his arrest on 24 May 1994 in Lhasa.

    Originally from Medro Gungkar, Tharpa was a novice monk from Phurchok monastery, a few kilometres north of Lhasa. He was reportedly arrested with three other monks from Phurchok, during a brief and peaceful pro- independence demonstration in the Barkor area of Lhasa on 24 May 1994.

    Four other Tibetan prisoners of conscience, all under the age of 18 when arrested between 1991 and 1994 but no longer minors at the end of 1994, remain in detention. Although their whereabouts are unknown, they are likely to be held in Gutsa. They are:

    Lobsang Thupten (16), a monk from Phurchok Monastery, a few miles north of Lhasa, was reportedly arrested on 8 May 1992 for participating in a demonstration.

    Migmar (17), a monk from Chideshol Dunbu Choekhor Monastery, was reportedly arrested on 30 March 1992 after putting up posters calling for Tibetan independence. His arrest was confirmed by the Chinese Government in June 1994 in the list of 56 detainees handed to the US State Department, where he was listed as "individual awaiting sentence".

    Thapke (17), a monk from Chideshol Dunbu Choekhor Monastery, 45 kilometres south of Lhasa, was reportedly arrested in May 1993 during one of a series of pro-independence demonstration in the Upper Chideshol Valley. His arrest was confirmed by the Chinese Government in June 1994 in the list of 56 detainees handed to the US State Department. Although he was described in this list as "individual currently serving sentence", the length of his sentence is not known.

    Tseten Samdup (17), a monk from Ganden monastery, in Lhasa, was reportedly arrested in May 1992, allegedly fro taking part in a demonstration in Lhasa.

    2.3 Detention without trial, torture and ill-treatment in Sangyip Detention Centre

    Sangyip is a detention complex in the outskirts of Lhasa, on which little information is available. According to unofficial sources, it is a Detention Centre, ie used for both children and adults awaiting trial, and for those sentenced to up to two years' imprisonment or who have less than two years to serve.

    • Former detainee G., a 12 year-old-girl from Lhasa, was detained for over four months in 1990 in Sangyip Detention Centre after taking part in a demonstration.

    G. stated that she was held along with other young people in Sangyip Detention Centre and ill-treated by several armed police officers during interrogation on or around 8 March 1990. She was kicked on the head and body and given electric shocks with an electric baton while she was lying on the floor. She could not remember clearly subsequent events, but about three days later she found that her left leg had become lame. She was then sent to the hospital for treatment, but was taken back to the detention centre two weeks later. She was forced to work with a team of about 15 women detainees at various sites, including waste pits exuding suffocating odours where the women had to dig excrement and load it on to trucks. G. said that her eyes became sore and inflamed because of the gases. During the rest of her detention, she was reportedly interrogated from time to time. She was eventually released without charge after four months. She reportedly still suffers from loss of use of her left leg and right arm as a result of beatings during detention.

    Dhundup Gyalpo, a 17 year-old monk, was reportedly arrested on 26 June 1993 and was believed to be still detained in Sangyip in December 1994. He was arrested outside Gyaldong monastery, in Lhundup county, when protesting against the arrest of a young boy accused of putting up pro-independence posters. As dozens of farmers and monks, including Dhundup Gyalpo, gathered and tried to persuade the police to release the boy, the monk was reportedly beaten and threw stones in return. He is reportedly serving a three-year administrative sentence.

    2.4 Detention without trial in Trisam Reeducation-through-Labour Detachment

    Some juvenile detainees are transferred from Gutsa Detention Centre to Trisam Reeducation-through-Labour Detachment[39], on the western outskirts of Lhasa, after having been issued an administrative sentence. Treatment of prisoners at Trisam appears to be a little better than at Gutsa, with fewer reported beatings.

    • Former detainee F., a novice nun, was arrested when aged 16 and spent a year in Gutsa before being moved to Trisam and held there from September 1992 and August 1993.

    She described the atmosphere at Trisam as being "more relaxed than in Gutsa". She was not beaten and was allowed to receive visitors. The rules were less rigid than in Gutsa, but the work was harder, she said. She had to grow vegetables in a greenhouse and had t o fulfil a quota. Once she was put in solitary confinement in a small cell for seven days after she had failed to attend a "re-education" meeting at the camp.

    • Sherab Ngawang was 12 at the time of her arrest on 3 February 1992 during a peaceful demonstration in Lhasa. She is believed to be a prisoner of conscience still held in Trisam.

    Born in Thompogang village, in Medro Gungkar, she was a novice from Michungri nunnery, at the time of arrest. She was taken to Gutsa Detention Centre, where she stayed for at least two months awaiting trial, and is reported to have been beaten during detention. Other novices arrested at the same time were released within a few days, but Sherab Ngawang was reportedly sentenced through an administrative procedure in May 1992 to three years' "re-education through labour". She was then reportedly sent to Trisam. Three other women, all nuns from Michungri accused of taking part in the same demonstration, received sentences ranging from five to seven years' imprisonment.

    2.5 .Juvenile prisoners of conscience and political prisoners in Drapchi prison

    Juvenile prisoners held in Drapchi prison are aged 16 or over and have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to six years. It is not known whether Drapchi has a juvenile section or not, but none of the reports received by Amnesty International indicates that juvenile political prisoners are separated from adult prisoners.

    Drapchi prison, situated in the northern outskirts of Lhasa, is also known as "TAR No.1 Prison". More than one of three political prisoners in Tibet, including prisoners of conscience, are held in Drapchi. Drapchi prison is normally used only to hold prisoners who have been tried by a court. The majority of the political prisoners known to be held in Drapchi, whether adults or juveniles, are reported to have been convicted of "counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement". Some were convicted of forming "counter-revolutionary organizations" and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment or more. Many of them have been detained for peacefully expressing their political view and are prisoners of conscience. Testimonies indicate that torture, corporal punishment and solitary confinement have been commonly used in Drapchi prison.

    Ten of the 45 Tibetan political prisoners under the age of 18 at the time of arrest were reported to be held in Drapchi prison as of December 1994. Of these, three were still under the age 18, including one girl and two boys. They are:

    • Kunchok Tsomo, 15 years old at the time of her arrest on 17 June 1992 during a peaceful demonstration in Lhasa.

    A novice from Garu nunnery, near Lhasa, she was born in Gyama, Medro Gongkar. She is a prisoner of conscience, reported to have been sentenced to three years' imprisonment. The last report referring to her imprisonment in Drapchi prison dates from February 1994.

    • Tenzin Choephel, 16 years old at the time of his arrest on 9 March 1993.

    Born in Medro Gungkar, Tenzin Choephel was a novice monk from Ganden monastery, 40 kilometres east of Lhasa. He was arrested with seven other monks during a peaceful demonstration in Lhasa on 9 March 1993, and is a prisoner of conscience. He was reportedly charged with involvement in pro-independence activities in Lhasa. He is believed to have first been held in Gutsa Detention Centre, then transferred to Drapchi prison.

    • Trinley Gyaltsen was 16 at the time of his arrest on 4 June 1993 during a peaceful demonstration in Lhasa, and is a prisoner of conscience.

    A novice monk from Tsepak Lhakhang Monastery, he is reported to have been sentenced to three years' imprisonment. He was last reported to be held in Drapchi prison in February 1994.

    Seven other Tibetan political prisoners, including four prisoners of conscience, who were under 18 at the time of arrest between 1991 and 1994 but were no longer minors at the end of 1994, were reported to be still detained in Drapchi as of December 1994[40] They were:

    Lobsang Khedrup (16), a monk from Ganden Monastery, in Lhasa, arrested for peacefully demonstrating in Lhasa on 17 June 1992 and sentenced to five years' imprisonment; Ngawang Dawa (16), a monk from Drepung Monastery, in Lhasa, Ngawang Jigme (16) and Phuntsog Dondrup (17), both monks from Sera Monastery, in Lhasa; the three were arrested on 10 September 1991 during a peaceful demonstration in Lhasa; Ngawang Dawa and Ngawang Jigme were sentenced to six years' imprisonment, and Phuntsog Dondrup to four years' imprisonment. All four of them are reported not to have used or advocated violence and are considered as prisoners of conscience.

    Dawa Gyaltsen (17) and Gyaltsen Lodroe (17), both monks from Tsepak Lhakhang Monastery reportedly arrested on 4 June 1993, were sentenced respectively to five and six years' imprisonment; Thupten Kunkhyen (17), a monk from Chideshol Dunbu Choekhor Monastery, was arrested on 7 November 1992 and sentenced to three years' imprisonment; the exact reason for their arrest is not known, although they are reported to be held for political reasons. The circumstances of their trials are not known, but in political cases, there is little likelihood that defendants receive a fair hearing.

    2.6. Juvenile prisoners of conscience held outside Lhasa

    Following are juveniles who were under the age of 18 at the time of arrest outside Lhasa. They are believed to have been arrested purely for with their alleged participation in peaceful pro-independence demonstrations or for putting up pro-independence posters, and are considered to be prisoners of conscience.

    • Jampa Choejor was 16 at the time of arrest on 8 February 1994 in Tsawa Bomi, 145 kilometres south-west of Chamdo city, in Chamdo prefecture (eastern Tibet). He was reportedly detained in Shrithang prison, Poe-me county, the biggest prison in Chamdo prefecture.

    Originally from Zogang Bomi, Tsowang County, Chamdo district, he was a novice monk from Chamdo monastery. He was arrested with five other men, including his father, Tsewang Dradul, and his uncle, Dundrup Tsering, and accused of putting up illegal posters calling on the Han Chinese to leave Tibet. They are not reported to have used or advocated violence and are considered as prisoners of conscience. In early 1994 there were a series of arrests of pro-independence activists in Chamdo district, when a number a wall-posters calling for Tibetan independence were displayed in public (see page 12).

    Jampa Choejor's family has reportedly suffered a long history of repression by the authorities as a result of their political views. His brother, Khangsa Gyaltsen, was tried on political charges in July 1990 and sentenced to five years in prison: it is not known whether he is still detained.

    • Lobsang Palden, was 17 when arrested in late May 1994 in Serwa village, Joju township, Pakshoe county, Chamdo prefecture.

    A farmer and the son of the former Communist Party Secretary of Joju township, he was reportedly arrested with two other laymen after they shouted slogans calling for Tibetan independence, and is a prisoner of conscience.

    Other arbitrary arrests for political offenses have taken place in Pakshoe county since the beginning of 1993, and five monks from Serwa monastery were sentenced to between 12 and 15 years' imprisonment in July 1994 (see page 12). – Dorje, 15, Jampel Dorje, 15, Norzang, 15, Phurbu Tashi, 15, and Sonam Choephel, 12, were arrested on 30 May 1993 in Dunbu Choekhor monastery, in Kyimshi, Gongkar county, Lhokha prefecture, situated in Upper Chideshol valley, 45 kilometres south of Lhasa.

    All five are originally from Lokha Chideshol and were trainee monks from the Dunbu Choekhor monastery. They were arrested with 13 other monks. It is not clear why the monks were arrested, although it appeared to be related to the appearance of pro-independence posters on walls in the area. They are not reported to have used or advocated violence and are considered as prisoners of conscience.

    The arrests of Dorje, Phurbu Tashi and Sonam Choephel were officially confirmed when their names appeared on the list of 56 detainees given to the US State Department. They were described as "individuals awaiting sentence". According to some sources, however, Sonam Choephel was sentenced to three years' imprisonment.

    Jampel Dorje and Phurbu Tashi have both reportedly been sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment. This was said to be the second time that both had been arrested.


    In view of its continuing concerns about human rights violations in Tibet, including concerns about juvenile prisoners, Amnesty International calls on the Government of the People's Republic of China to:

    • release immediately and unconditionally all prisoners of conscience – those held solely for the non-violent expression of their political or religious views.
    • ensure that those detained without charge or held in administrative detention in connection with their alleged political activities are charged with a recognizable criminal offence and brought to trial promptly and fairly, or released.
    • ensure the release, or the speedy and impartial review of the trials, of all those sentenced in unfair political trials.
    • take immediate steps to ensure that all reports of torture, including those cited in this document, are impartially investigated, that the findings are made public and that all those responsible for torture and ill-treatment of prisoners are brought to justice.
    • provide fair compensation to the victims of all human rights violations.
    • respect its commitments to observe the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and provide juveniles with the full protection of the law, including the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty, to due process of law and not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
    • implement its own legislation and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and provide that juveniles should never be held in detention with adults, nor submitted to hard work or to work endangering their health. Provide that juvenile should be granted the right to see their parents and to pursue their education.


    Chinese legislation defines minors as people who have not reached the age of 18. Following are the main provisions in Chinese legislation for juveniles facing investigation, prosecution or detention[41]

    A. Age of criminal responsibility

    There are ranges of ages with progressively widening criminal responsibility, and punishment may be mitigated for people between 14 and 18.

    Article 14 of the Criminal Law of the PRC states: "A person who has reached the age of 16 who commits a crime shall bear criminal responsibility. A person who has reached the age of 14 but not the age of 16 who commits the crime of killing another, serious injury, robbery, arson, habitual theft, or crimes seriously undermining social order shall bear criminal responsibility. A person who has reached the age of 14 but not the age of 18 who commits a crime shall be given a lesser punishment or a mitigated punishment. When a person is not punished because he has not reached the age of 16, the head of his family or guardian is to be ordered to subject him to discipline. When necessary, he may also be given shelter and rehabilitation by the government."

    A 1992 directive from the Supreme People's Court indicates that this provision covers crimes such as "smuggling, selling, transporting and producing drugs". However, legal opinion has stated that minors between the ages of 14 and 16 who are found to have been instigated, or have been coerced or tricked into taking part in such crimes should generally not bear criminal responsibility and should instead be handled according to Paragraph 4 or Article 14 of the Criminal Law[42]

    B. Criminal procedures

    The Chinese Criminal Procedure Law[43] includes special provisions concerning the procedures for interrogation and trial of minors charged with criminal offenses.

    Article 10 states: "In cases in which a minor under the age of 18 commits a crime, the legal representative of the defendant may be notified to be present at the time of interrogation and adjudication". Article 27 states: "In cases in which the defendant is deaf, mute or a minor and has not authorized anyone to be his defender, the People's Court shall designate a defender for him." Article 111 states: "No cases involving the commission of crimes by minors aged 14 or over but under the age of 16 are to be heard in public. Cases involving the commission of crimes by minors aged 16 or over but under the age of 18 are also generally not to be heard in public".

    Juvenile courts do exist in China, but their establishment appears to have been relatively recent and there is no available report of their activities. A Chinese press article[44] stated in 1991 that Zhejiang province has had special courts for juveniles since 1988. According to the report, 84 such courts were functioning in 1991 and all courts in Zhejiang were due to have one juvenile section before the end of 1991. In 1994, another article in the Chinese press stated that 3,000 courts protecting the rights of children under the age of 16 had been set up since the introduction of the law on minors in 1992[45]

    C. Mitigated and maximum criminal punishments

    Mitigation of criminal punishments is recommended for people under the age of 18, under Article 14 of the Criminal Law. The maximum criminal sentence provided by the law for people who have reached the age of 16 is the death penalty suspended for two years. Article 44 of the Criminal Law states: "The death penalty is not to be applied to persons who have not reached the age of 18 at the time the crime is committed ... Persons who have reached the age of 16 but not the age of 18 may be sentenced to death with a two-year suspension of execution if the crime committed is particularly grave."

    D. Alternatives to criminal punishment

    Minors who have been found guilty of infringing the law or regulations, or of committing crimes, but whose offence does not deserve a criminal sentence or who may not receive a criminal sentence because they have not reached the age of 16, may undergo various forms of control or educational measures, or even administrative detention.

    They may be subjected to admonition and their guardians may be asked to control and educate them. Article 9 of the Regulations on Sanctions and Administration of Public Order (as amended in May 1994), states: "When people who have reached the age of 14 but not the age of 18 infringe the regulations on management of public order, they shall receive mitigated sanctions. People who have not reached the age of 14 and infringe the regulation on management of public order are exempted of sanctions, but they may undergo admonishment, and their guardians asked to strictly control and educate them."

    Juveniles may also be put into work-study schools (gongdu xuexiao). According to legal analysts, inmates of work-study schools are aged between 12 and 17 and have infringed the law or committed minor crimes and cannot be sentenced to a criminal punishment[46] These schools are run by the Ministry of Education with the collaboration of the Ministry of Public Security.

    They may also be put under "shelter and rehabilitation" (shourong jiaoyang), a form of administrative detention (see page 38). The Article 39 of the Law on Protection of Minors, stipulates: "Minors who have reached the age of 14 and commit crimes, and who cannot be sentenced to criminal sentence because they have not reached the age of 16, must be put under surveillance of their family's chief or of their guardian. When necessary, the government can allow them to be [held for] shelter and rehabilitation".

    E. Minimum age for detention

    Although the law permits minors under investigation to be put under the surveillance of their parents or guardians, children who have not reached the age of criminal responsibility may be held in detention for investigation at the discretion of the police without requiring judicial approval. Unofficial information indicates that this practice is common.

    The minimum age of administrative detention appears to be 14. The 1954 Act on Reform through Labour, which according to a Chinese legal analyst was in 1994 still the basic regulation for the system of incarceration[47], indicates that detention centres for juvenile criminals should hold people aged between 13 and 18. Article 21 of the Act states: "Education centres for juvenile criminals keep and educate juvenile criminals who have reached the age of 13 and have not reached the age of 18."[48] The age of 13 is also cited in an official document on education measures for juvenile criminals not deserving criminal sentences.[49] However, according to another legal analyst, a directive published in 1982 apparently established from that time the ages of detainees in detention centres for juvenile criminals as being between 14 and 18 [50] According to this analyst, juveniles detained in these special centres are sentenced to fixed terms of imprisonment, life imprisonment, the death penalty with two years' suspension, or placed under "shelter and rehabilitation".

    [1] To describe nationalist and pro-independence activities, the Chinese authorities use a word (fenlie) generally translated in English as "splittism" or "separatism", in reference to activities aimed at "splitting" the motherland, a very strong accusation in Chinese politics, since "unity and stability of the motherland" is a major slogan of the Chinese authorities.

    [2] Prisoners of conscience are people imprisoned, detained or otherwise physically restricted by reason of their political, religious or other conscientiously held beliefs or by reason of their ethnic origin, sex, colour or language, provided that they have not used or advocated violence.

    [3] Changdu Ribao (Changdu Daily), 15 July 1993, report on the education situation in Chamdo prefecture of TAR, by Xiang Xiaoli and Zhang Qing.

    [4] Report from the president of the Tibet Autonomous Regional High People's Court on the Higher People's Court activities since January 1993, issued in May 1994. Translation by Summary of World Broadcast, BBC, 16 July 94. The report was originally published in Xizang Ribao (Tibet Daily), 12 June 1994.

    [5] Xizang Ribao (Tibet Daily), cited by Reuters, 24.12.94.

    [6] Interim regulations of the TAR concerning comprehensive management of public security. Translation by Summary of World Broadcast, 10 October 1994. Document originally published in Xizang Ribao, 13 September 1994.

    [7] Report of the Swedish human rights delegates in China and Tibet (Rapport frn den Svenska MR-delegationens Besk i Kina och Tibet 20-30 Mars 1994), presented to the Swedish Foreign Ministry on 4 October 1994.

    [8] "Reference materials" for the Third National Forum on Work on Tibet held in July 1994 in Beijing, published in Xizang Ribao on 25 November 1994. The "Dalai clique" usually refers (in Chinese documents) to the Tibetan government-in-exile, led by the Dalai Lama.

    [9] Adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 November 1981, G.A. Res. 36/55. This declaration prohibits adverse discrimination against people because of their religious or similar beliefs and sets out some of the activities protected by the rights to freedom of speech, conscience and religion or belief.

    [10] Rapport présenté par M. Abdelfattah Amor, Rapporteur spécial, conformément a la résolution 1994/18 de la commission des droits de l'homme, 20 décembre 1994 (Report presented by M. Abdelfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur, in accordance with the resolution 1994/18 of the Human Rights Commission, 20 December 1994).

    [11] Ibid. paragraph 158.

    [12] Ibid. paragraphs 174 to 178.

    [13] Ibid. paragraphs 184, 190 and 194.

    [14] Ibid. paragraphs 127 and 183. The issue of novice monks and nuns seems nevertheless to be a controversial one, since other officials from the Commission for the minorities and religious affairs told M. Amor that people under the age of 18 could become monks or nuns with the condition that they were voluntarily enroling and their parents agreed (Ibid. paragraph 149).

    [15] See also Amnesty International's Concerns in Tibet, AI index ASA 17/02/92 and Repression in Tibet 1987-1992, AI index ASA 17/19/92.

    [16] 110 Political Arrests in Tibet, 1994: A Provisional List Compiled by Tibet Information Network, January 1995.

    [17] Tibet Information Network News Review, N. 22, 8 November 1994.

    [18] Questions of the Human Rights of all Persons Subjected to any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, in Particular: Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr Nigel S. Rodley, submitted pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1992/32. Report 1993: Ref. E/CN.4/1994/31 paragraph k. Report 1994: f E/CN.4/1995/34, paragraph 115 c.

    [19] A few months after his release on 30 October 1994, Lobsang Yonten was reported dead by the Tibetan government-in-exile.

    [20] Op. cit.

    [21] The PAP (paramilitary troops) is a major force in security work in Tibet and is responsible with the Public Security Bureau (PSB, police) for the detention and interrogation of detainees.

    [22] See Fourteen Monks arrested in Tibet, AI index: ASA 17/08/95.

    [23] See Prison terms increased for nuns in Tibet, AI index: ASA 17/11/94.

    [24] See "China: Heavy prison sentences for nuns in Tibet", ASA 17/03/94, 2 February 1994.

    [25] The Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China, 1980. Foreign Languages press, Beijing, 1984.

    [26] The Law on Prison of the PRC issued in December 1994 repeats those provisions forbidding torture and ill-treatment of prisoners, and the Law on Compensation introduced in early 1995 provides the victims of such abuses to be entitled to compensation.

    [27] In the Tibetan tradition for funerals, the bodies are cut into small pieces and left on a designated mountain and devoured by vultures. The process is carried on by people known as "topden".

    [28] Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr Nigel S. Rodley, submitted pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1992/32. Ref E/CN.4/1995/34, paragraphs 107 and 108.

    [29] Before the Law on Prison of the PRC was issued in December 1994, several regulations provided that in case of death in custody, the causes of the death must be determined under the supervision of the Peoples's Court and indicated to the relatives. The new law also provides for medical evaluation, but conducted by prison authorities, with the possibility for the Procuratorate to order a new evaluation in case there are doubts. See Article 54 of the Act of the People's Republic of China for reform through labour (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Laodong Gaizao Tiaolie), 1954, and Article 25 of the Interim detailed regulations for guard work in prisons and reform-through labour detachments (Jianyu, Laogaidui Guanjiao Gongzuo Xize -Shixing), 18.2.1982; Both texts in: Laogai Faxue Cidian, Sichuan cishu chubanshe, Chengdu 1989. See also Article 55 of Prison Law of the PRC, published by New China News Agency on 29.12.1994.

    [30] Prisoners released on medical parole are expected to return to their place of detention after their health is considered to have improved sufficiently.

    [31] For more details on the legal provisions about juveniles in the PRC, see Appendix 1.

    [32] For more details about legal provisions on juveniles in China, see Appendix 1.

    [33] The Constitution of the People's Republic of China, 1982.

    [34] The Law on Protection of Minors of the People's Republic of China, (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Weichengnianren Baohu Fa), 1991. In: Renmin daibiao dahui changwu weiyuanhui gongbao, 1991, 5 hao.

    [35] Report on how to stress the importance given by the Party on the resolution of the problem of juvenile who break the law and commit crimes (Zhonggong zhongyang zhuanfa zhongyang xuanbu deng bage danwei "Guanyu tiqing quandang zhongshi jiejue qingshaonian weifa fanzui wenti de baogao" de tongzhi), 17.8.1979. In: Zonghe Zhili Shehui Zhi'an Gongzuo Shouce, Jilin renmin chubanshe, 1986, p. 3.

    [36] The Law on Prison of the People's Republic of China, 1994. Published by the New China News Agency on 29 December 1994.

    [37] This situation was acknowledged in 1987 by a legal analyst, who explained that this situation was due to the "limited material conditions of the detention and to the needs of production work". See Cao Manzhi: Zhongguo Qingshaonian Fanzui Xue. Qunzhong chubanshe, 1987, page 498.

    [38] Chinese legislation provides little detail about the nature and conditions of work for juveniles in detention. The Act on Reform Through Labour Detachments, issued in 1954, states that juveniles may work under conditions allowing them only a little more sleep and study time than adult prisoners. Article 52 stipulates: "The actual daily duration of work for detainees is in general fixed between nine and ten hours, and the seasonal production work must not exceed twelve hours. Sleep time is usually eight hours. Study time may be fixed according to the concrete situation, but must not be less than one hour per day. Sleep and study time for juvenile criminals must be longer. Criminals not taking part in work must have every day one or two hours of exercise outside. The rest day for detainees is in general one day every fortnight; one day every week for juveniles." The Law on Prisons issued in 1994 is no more precise on work for juvenile prisoners. Article 75 states only: "Reform through education should be the mainstay in enforcing criminal punishment for juvenile delinquents. Labour for juvenile delinquents should tally with the juveniles' characteristics, laying emphasis on elementary education and production skills". More generally, Chinese legislation prohibits the employment of juveniles under the age of 18 in work units of the state administration , but allows "work-study" at school and allows work "permitted by the local governments" (Law on protection of minors, article 28; Regulation on prohibiting the employment of child labour, Articles 2 and 4).

    [39] Re-education through labour (laodong jiaoyang) is a form of administrative detention, that allows detention without charge or trial for periods of up to four years. It affects alleged offenders – including people accused of political offenses – whose "crimes" are considered "too minor" for them to go through the normal judiciary process under the Criminal Law.

    [40] Chinese legislation provides that people who reach the age of 18 while in detention should move to adult sections only if they still have to serve more than two years. The Article 76 of the Law on prison, provides that: "When a juvenile delinquent has a term of less than two years to serve in the time of his or her 18th birthday, he or she may complete the remaining term in a juvenile correctional facility."

    [41] According to Wang Jingrong, vice-chairman of the Supreme People's Court (cited by China Daily on 24.12.94), about 20,000 minors were detained in China in 1992, both in prison and labour camps. In 1993, 32,000 "young criminals" were prosecuted or sentenced. During the first nine months of 1994, 27,000 juvenile delinquents (under the age of 18) were officially "punished". The nature of punishment was not specified.

    [42] See: Supreme People's Court: An advice about how to implement the law in cases of people aged between 14 and 16 who commit crimes such as smuggling, selling, transporting and producing drugs (Guanyu man shisi yu buman shiliu sui de ren fan zousi, fanmai, yunshu, zhizao dupin zui yingdang ruhe shiyong falu wenti de pifu). In: Zuigao renmin fayuan gongbao, 1992, 3 hao.

    [43] The Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, 1980. Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1984.

    [44] Shanghai Fazhi Bao (Shanghai Legal News) 26.8.91.

    [45] China Daily, 18.2.94, p. 3.

    [46] State Council: Advice on how to handle work-study school, cited in Legal advices for Chinese women and children (Zhongguo Funu Ertong Falu Guwen), Zhongguo renkou chubanshe, 1991, pages 182-183.

    [47] Su Xiaoli: Theory and practices of the system of reform through labour in China – history and present facts (Zhongguo laodong gaizao zhidu de lilun yu shijian – lishi yu xianshi). Zhongguo zhengfa daxue, 1994.

    [48] Act of the People's Republic of China for reform through labour (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Laodong Gaizao Tiaolie), 1954. In: Laogai Faxue Cidian, Sichuan cishu chubanshe, Chengdu 1989.

    [49] Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Education: How to handle properly help through educational work towards juveniles who committed abuses or minor crimes (Guanyu zuohao you weifa huo qingwei fanzui xingwei qingshaonian bangzhu jiaoyu gongzuo de jidian yijian) 21.4.1983 In: Zonghe Zhili Shehui Zhi'an Gongzuo Shouce, Jilin renmin chubanshe, 1986.

    [50] "Declaration of the Public Security on Conditions of Custody and Shelter in Houses of Detention for Juveniles" (Guanyu shaonianfan guanjiaosuo shouya shourong fanwei de tongzhi", Ministry of Public Security, 28.3.82. Cited in "Zhongguo Funu Ertong Falu Guwen", Zhongguo renkou chubanshe, 1991, p. 185.

  • Comments:
    This report is about continuing human rights violations of concern to Amnesty International against members of the Tibetan minority in the People's Republic of China during past the two years (1993-1994). The report describes the context of repression against political dissent within which human rights violations occur. Arbitrary arrests, long-term detention of prisoners of conscience, detention without trial of political prisoners, unfair trials, widespread torture and ill-treatment of adult and juvenile detainees are among Amnesty International's major concerns in Tibet. This report also has a section highlighting Amnesty International's specific concerns about juvenile Tibetan political prisoners.

    This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.