Ngawang Sangdrol is a Buddhist nun who believes that Tibet should be independent from China.
At the age of 10 she was arrested for the first time by Chinese authorities. Her only crime was to participate in a peaceful demonstration for the independence of Tibet from China. When she was 13 she again took part in a peaceful demonstration. She was too young to be brought to trial under Chinese law, nevertheless Chinese authorities held her for 9 months.
In June 1992, at the age of 15, she was once more arrested by Chinese authorities for trying to stage a peaceful demonstration with fellow nuns. Subsequently she was accused for subversive and separatist activities - and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment in the notorious Drapchi prison. Her sentence was extended for another 6 years in October 1993. The reason for this was the fact that she had sung a recorded independence song in the prison together with 13 other nuns. The tape with those songs was smuggled out of jail and distributed throughout Tibet.
In 1996 Ngawang Sangdrols sentence was again prolonged for another 8 years as she shouted- Free Tibet- while standing in the rain in the prisons yard.The third extension of Ngawangs sentence was announced in October 1998 when she refused to acknowledge the Panchen Lama, whom the Chinese authorities had chosen. The Panchen Lama is the second most important political and religious dignitary of Tibet. He died in 1998 and ever since there has been a dispute between Chinese authorities and the Dalai Lama about who was the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. Including this last extension of 4 years her total sentence amounts to 21 years. Together with other prison inmates in the Drapchi prison Ngawang Sangdrol suffers under inhuman treatment including beating and solitary confinement with reduced food rations. Today she has problems with her kidneys as a result of torture.
- Alas this sad song in my mind I send to those who help prisoners. These feelings in this dark season - I will never forget the horrible tortures. May this present misery in prison, Never be inflicted on any sentient being.
This inhuman treatment of Ngawang Sangdrol and prisoners throughout China is a clear violation of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which prohibits torture at all times and under any circumstance.
A report issued by the Tibet Information Network (6/10/2000), cites accounts by other nuns released from Drapchi Prison claiming that they were severely beaten, shocked with cattle prods and are forced to stand in the sun for days.They beat us so savagely that there was blood everywhere, on the walls and on the floors, recalled former prisoner Norzin Wangmo. Describing the police response after nuns shouted Tibetan independence slogans. They beat us with their belts until their belts broke.. she said.
In 1950, Chinese soldiers invaded Tibet, which was operating as a de facto independent state. During the next several decades of Chinese occupation, an estimated 2700 Tibetan monasteries were destroyed and 1.2 million Tibetans died as a result of torture, execution, war or starvation, according to the Tibetan government in exile, led by the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled in 1959.
Chinese officals, by contrast, portray the invasion as a - peaceful liberation - of Tibet, which was ruled at the time under a feudal theocracy. Beijing insists that Tibet has been part of China since the Yuan Dynasty(1271-1368).
Please support Amnesty International in its fight to support prisoners of conscience like Ngawang and other prisoners in China and the rest of the world.
Ngawang Sangdrol was released from Drapchi prison on October 19/10/2002.
by Amnesty International
21 Years in Prison to free Tibet.