Ngawang Phulchung

The Tibetan monk, the Venerable Ngawang Phulchung, was first detained in 1987 after participating in a peaceful demonstration demanding human rights and the right to self-determination for Tibetans. Following international pressure Phulchung was released in January 1988, but was re-arrested together with three other monks in April 1989 for ‘forming a counter-revolutionary group’. The group had published a complete Tibetan translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and had also criticised human rights abuses in Tibet.

Ngawang Phulchung was sentenced to nineteen years in prison followed by five years’ deprivation of his political rights, on charges of ‘organising and joining a counter-revolutionary clique and spreading counter-revolutionary propaganda and inflammatory disinformation’, ‘seriously undermining national security’ and ‘collecting intelligence and passing it on to the enemy’.

Phulchung protested against the detention conditions in Drapchi prison, where prisoners have reportedly been beaten and placed in solitary confinement on several occasions. He was reportedly transferred to Chusur Prison, Lhasa, in early 2005.

Date of release: In October 2007, Ngawang Phulchung was released from prison six months early, his health having been seriously impaired by his years in prison.


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