Prisoner of Conscience
China announced the release of Ngawang Gyaltsen in September 2004.
Group 22 is now working on the case of Vietnam POC Brother Nguyen Thien Phung (Huan). Click here for information and suggested action.
Ngawang Gyaltsen is serving a 17 year sentence (due for release in 2006).
In 1987, he was one of 21 monks from Drepung Monastery who staged the first and
most significant pro-independence demonstration in Lhasa, setting in motion the
modern wave of political protest in Tibet. On their release from a four-month
prison sentence, following the protest, nine of the original group and one outsider
formed the 'Group of Ten' to work for the independence of Tibet and the
fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people.
The ten monks' non-violent political activities included the use of carved
wooden blocks to print copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
They also printed a document outlining their vision for the future, based on the
1963 Constitution drafted in exile by the Dalai Lama, proposing a democratic Tibet
free from Chinese occupation.
Following their arrests between April and July 1989, a closed trial was held on
November 30, 1989 where the ten monks received sentences of between five and 19 years
for "seriously undermining national security". Ngawang Gyaltsen if one of four
monks from the Group of Ten still detained in Drapchi Prison.