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Tibetan Advocate’s Prison Term in China Is Condemned

June 6, 2018

Mr. Tashi expressed concerns about the fading of Tibetan culture under policies enacted by local officials. The video showed him in Beijing trying unsuccessfully to bring a lawsuit against local officials and failing to get China Central Television, the main state television network, to do a story on his mission.

A former monk, Mr. Tashi lived with his elderly parents in the center of Yushu and ran a small shop. He was also an online entrepreneur, and the giant Chinese technology company Alibaba featured him in a promotional video. Before contacting Times journalists in 2015, Mr. Tashi had begun expressing his views on preserving the Tibetan language on a blog.

The United States, several Western nations and international human rights groups denounced the sentencing of Mr. Tashi in May.

In their statement on Wednesday, the United Nations experts said, “Governments should under no circumstances undermine or repress legitimate human rights advocacy and action, such as in this case, using national security, public order or antiterrorism discourses.”

“We asked the government to provide information about specific measures undertaken to promote and protect the linguistic and cultural rights of the Tibetan minority,” the experts added. “We regret that, to date, the government of China has not yet provided us with a satisfactory response.”

Mr. Tashi’s time already served in detention counts as part of his sentence, so he will probably leave prison in early 2021, his lawyers said.