Sunday, January 1, 2017

Tibetan nun speaks of torture by China

Tibetan nun speaks of torture by China
Japan Today[Thursday, November 07, 2002
By Janice Tang
TOKYO - A Tibetan Buddhist nun spoke Wednesday of her four and a half years of detainment and torture by Chinese authorities that followed her participation in a peaceful pro-independence demonstration in Lhasa in 1992 at the age of 14.

"The Chinese officers beat us. Then we were made to stand at the wall with our hands up and were beaten again," 25-year-old Ngawang Wangdon told an audience at Tokyo's Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, hoping to bring to the world's attention of what is happening in Tibet.

After she was arrested for taking part in a peaceful demonstration for human rights for Tibetan people in February 1992 with colleagues, she was detained in a solitary cell for a month. "Every five days, I was taken to questioning and was beaten," Wangdon said.

"Some Tibetan prisoners were beaten for not being able to speak Chinese," she said.

After being detained for 17 months and twice writing to Chinese authorities asking for a sentence, Wangdon finally received one to three years of imprisonment for political subversion by promoting Tibetan independence.

At Trisam prison, "every morning, the officers made us face the sun and stand for 45 minutes. Anyone who moved was beaten," the nun said. "Every Saturday, we had to learn to sing songs of the Chinese Communist Party, and there was also some kind of military training."

Wangdon and her fellow nuns at the prison once sang pro-Tibetan songs as a protest over the death of a nun, who they believe had died of torture while imprisoned.

"We were beaten from 10 p.m. until 3 a.m. with our hands cuffed and tied with ropes. The officers shocked us with electric prods," she recalled. There were also other occasions when she was made to kneel on the ground, was beaten and shocked with a prod on the back of her neck and in her mouth.

Even after she completed the prison term and was released, Wangdon was not given freedom as she was not allowed to go back to her monastery and was constantly harassed by Chinese officials at her home, she said.

Wangdon says she still suffers from kidney problems caused by the torture during her years of detention and imprisonment.

"I felt there was no hope in Tibet and decided to join others to go to India," Wangdon said. "I felt if I go to India, I can work for my people, including my parents who are suffering."

"I am happy that I can talk freely now with people who are concerned about Tibet as well as those who are suffering the same kind of suppression," said Wangdon, who now lives in Dharamsala in northern India and works for a movement seeking the independence of Tibet.

"I believe basic human rights are universal. I want people to recognize and support the universal human rights, including those of Tibetans," she said.

Wangdon has been invited by Amnesty International Japan on a month-long speaking tour from Nov 3 to Dec 1 in 13 cities across Japan including Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima and Kagoshima, as part of the organization's global campaign against torture.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader in exile, has been living in India since fleeing the Tibetan capital of Lhasa in 1959 with thousands of supporters after an abortive revolt against China, which took over Tibet in 1951. (Kyodo News)