Action from Group 22 Newsletter June 2002:

Letter to Chairman of Tibet Autonomous Region

Ngawang Pekar, Tibetan Monk
Our group remains committed to work for the release of prisoner of
conscience (POC) Ngawang Pekar (naw-wan pee-kar), a Tibetan Buddhist
monk. Pekar has been imprisoned since 1989 after being arrested by
Chinese authorities for participating in a peaceful demonstration in
the city of Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, in support of Tibetan

The Memorial Day event, co-sponsored by AI Group 22, that featured
two Tibetan nuns speaking about their experiences as prisoners in
Drapchi Prison (where Pekar is being held) was a great success! It
was quite moving to hear the nuns, Chuye Kunsang, age 26, and Passang
Lhamo, age 25, tell of the harsh conditions and brutality which they
and many others were forced to endure as prisoners of conscience. And
in answer to our "big question" in last month's newsletter: Although
they never met him, Chuye and Passang said that they had heard
Ngawang Pekar's name mentioned while they were at Drapchi!
Unfortunately, they could not provide any more specific information
about him.

Some good news was recently released by the Tibetan Information
Network (TIN) regarding four nuns who belonged to a group of
prisoners dubbed the "Drapchi 14." These nuns gained notoriety after
they secretly recorded songs on an audiotape, which was smuggled out
of Drapchi, in which they expressed their feelings about conditions
in prison and conveyed a message of hope over despair. In response to
this courageous action, the nuns were subjected to severe beatings
and increases in their sentences. Recently, one of these nuns,
Ngawang Sangdrol, reportedly had her sentence reduced by one and a
half years, and another, Phuntsog Nyidrol, had her sentence reduced
by one year after both had "shown signs of repentance."
Unfortunately, both Sangdrol and Nyidrol are reportedly in quite poor
health as a result of maltreatment. The two other nuns, Tenzin
Thubten and Ngawang Choekyi, received early releases for reasons that
are unknown at this time. One can only hope that their releases were
not due to fatal medical conditions, as it is fairly common practice
for the Chinese authorities to release dying prisoners in order to
avoid "bad press."
It is imperative that we continue writing to the Chinese authorities
in order to keep them aware that there are those in the outside world
(particularly Americans) who are concerned about Ngawang Pekar's
plight. This month, we ask that you write to the Chairman of the
Tibet Autonomous Regional People's Government. Below is a sample
letter you can copy or use as a guide in composing your own:

Dear Chairman,
I am writing to you out of concern for a prisoner being held in Tibet
Autonomous Region Prison No. 1. The prisoner's name is NGAWANG PEKAR
(layname: Paljor).
Ngawang Pekar, a Tibetan monk, was arrested in 1989 for participating
in a peaceful demonstration in the city of Lasashi and sentenced to 8
years in prison. Subsequently, his sentence was increased by an
additional 6 years. Amnesty International considers him to be a
prisoner of conscience and I am concerned that he has been imprisoned
solely for the peaceful exercise of his universally recognized right
to freedom of expression. I am further deeply concerned about reports
that he has been beaten and denied access to medical care since his

I respectfully urge you to request that Ngawang Pekar's case be
reviewed and that he be immediately and unconditionally released in
accordance with the international laws to which China is signatory. I
further request that he be allowed access to independent
non-governmental agencies so that his current state of well-being may
be determined and made known.

I thank you for your attention to this important matter and would
greatly appreciate any further information that your office may be
able to provide.


Address your letter to:
Legchog Zhuren
Xizang Zizhiqu Renmin Zhengfu
1 Kang'angdonglu
Lasashi 850000, Xizang Zizhiqu
People's Republic of China