Tashi Wangchuk is passionate about making sure every Tibetan child in China has access to their native tongue. He fears the gradual extinction of the Tibetan culture and that kids were only learning Mandarin in Chinese schools. He decided to do something about it, and is now facing 15 years in prison.
In 2015, the New York Times produced a short documentary called ‘A Tibetan’s Journey for Justice’. It showed his immense, yet unsuccessful efforts to peacefully challenge Chinese policy on languages in schools. The documentary revealed how no law-firm would take on the case and no TV station would report the issue.
In January 2016, Tashi was taken into custody and then formally arrested two months later on suspicion of “inciting separatism”. The authorities accused him of attempting to discredit the Chinese Government’s international image, and used the documentary footage as evidence against him.
Tashi had limited access to legal representation and no contact with his family for six months.
Recently the Chinese Government enacted sweeping laws that could be used to silence dissent in the name of national security. Those from ethnic minorities, like Tashi, are especially vulnerable under these notorious laws.