Action from Group 22 Newsletter July 2002

Letter to China's Minister of Foreign Affairs

Ngawang Pekar, Tibetan Monk

Our group is committed to work for the release of Ngawang Pekar, a
Tibetan monk who has been imprisoned by the Chinese authorities since
his arrest in 1989 for participating in a peaceful demonstration in

While we have no new reports concerning Pekar, there is great news
about another former Tibetan prisoner, Takna Jigme Sangpo. He was
permitted to leave China for medical reasons, and he arrived in the
U.S. on July 13. He will live with a niece in Washington, DC. (In an
interview reported on, he clarified that his family
name was Takna, "Tiger's Nose" in Tibetan, and not Tanak, as it has
generally been spelled.)

Jigme Sangpo is a 74-year-old former schoolteacher who was first
arrested in the 1960's. At his scheduled release in 2011, he would
have served a total of 41 years in prison for his nonviolent
expressions of his belief in Tibetan independence. His case was a
focus of action by human rights groups and US officials, and in April
the Chinese government released him on medical parole to the custody
of his family in Lhasa. But he was only permitted to leave his house
for hospital visits; his requests to visit the Jokhang Temple were
denied, and his health grew worse. John Kamm, president of the human
rights group Dui Hua Foundation, was allowed to visit him in June and
negotiated with Beijing for his release. Kamm describes him as
dignified, educated, and articulate, and says the world is going to
be impressed when they get to know him.

Kamm was quoted in the July 14 LA Times in regard to Jigme Sangpo's
case: "This is very much a decision made at the top of the
leadership, and it's being implemented by the central ministries in
Beijing. But at the level of the local Tibetan government, I did not
sense any enthusiasm for this release at all."
We've been sending lots of letters to local Tibetan officials, so for
a change this month let's try China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
one of whose officials accompanied Kamm when he visited Jigme Sangpo
in Lhasa. Here's a sample letter that you can copy or use as a guide.

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Tang Jiaxuan Buzhang
2 Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Beijingshi 20071
People's Republic of China
Your Excellency,

I am writing to you about a prisoner in Tibet Autonomous Region
Prison No. 1.  The prisoner's name is NGAWANG PEKAR. He was arrested
in Lhasa in 1989 for participating in a peaceful demonstration.

I believe that NGAWANG PEKAR has been imprisoned solely for the
nonviolent expression of his beliefs, and I am deeply concerned about
reports that he has been beaten and subjected to torture and denied
access to medical care. I respectfully urge that you review Ngawang
Pekar's case and that you report his present status to international

I welcome the recent release of Takna Jigme Sangpo and other Tibetan
prisoners of conscience, and I hope to hear soon of Ngawang Pekar's
release. Thank you for your attention to this imprtant matter.


(Your name and address)

Postage for a letter to China is still just 80 cents. As always,
please notify Group 22 if you should receive a response.