Australia Tibet Council

Enabling everyone in Australia to be part of change in Tibet

Political Prisoners

Join us in our campaign to secure the release of Tibetan political prisoners.

There are 2,110 known political prisoners in Tibet today with many more missing, according to Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. Tibetans are imprisoned for any activity that is considered a threat to the Chinese government’s authority in Tibet. These could include anything from taking part in a peaceful protest, writing a political essay or sending information about the situation in Tibet to people overseas. Some are even imprisoned for the influence and respect they gain in their local communities due to their social, cultural and environmental work.

We are part of the International Tibet Network’s Free Tibetan Heroes campaign. By taking action together, we can build international pressure on the Chinese government to release the Tibetans unjustly imprisoned for exercising their basic rights. 

Below are the individual cases we are currently working on.

Tashi Wangchuk, a language activist

Shokjang, a writer

Khenpo Kartse, a monk

The Panchen Lama


Dorjee Tso and Dorjee Tsering are two new Tibetan refugees recently settled in Australia. In their late 70s, their only wish is to see their son Dhondup Wangchen, a man who sacrificed his personal safety to tell the truth about what is happening in his country.

Dhondup Wangchen was an ordinary young Tibetan from Amdo in eastern Tibet. Knowing that the world’s eyes were on China in the lead up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008, he travelled to towns across Tibet with a video camera to interview Tibetans. The result was Leaving Fear Behind, a documentary film in which Tibetans, perhaps for the first time, came on camera to openly express their views about the impact of Chinese policies on their lives.

Speak up for Tashi Wangchuk

Published in Political Prisoners
Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Tashi wangchuk FREEThe case of detained Tibetan education advocate has reached a critical stage. His trial is expected to take place in the coming days. He could face 15 years in a Chinese prison, simply for advocating for the Tibetan people’s right to education in their language.

Tashi Wangchuk is a young entrepreneur from Kyegudu (Chinese: Yushu) from Kham province in eastern Tibet. He is also an advocate for Tibetan language rights.

In order to assimilate Tibetans into Chinese culture, Mandarin has become the main medium of education in schools across Tibet. Anxious about the survival of Tibetan language, which forms the bedrock of his culture and identity, he explored legal options to appeal to the Chinese authorities. When no law firm was prepared to take on his lawsuit and no national media outlets reported on his case, he spoke to the international media.

Pressure is building on the Chinese government. It’s time for Australia to step in and speak up.

Action: Release Shokjang

Published in Political Prisoners
Monday, 04 April 2016

Name: Druklo (Pen name - Shokjang)Shokjang
Age: 31
Summary: Tibetan writer and blogger sentenced to three years in prison on 17 February 2016 after being ‘disappeared’ for almost a year. Details of the charges against him are not known. Days after his detention, from his prison cell he wrote a powerful letter to the provincial court, challenging his prison term. But he has no access to lawyers and faces risk of torture.
Sentence: 3 years
Prison: Unknown

Sign the petition calling on the China authorities to release Shokhang immediately.

Khenpo Kartse released

Published in Political Prisoners
Saturday, 26 March 2016

khenpo kartse

Name: Khenpo Kartse
Summary: He is a respected Tibetan lama actively involved in promoting Tibetan language, culture and religion. He has been detained since December 2013 and is understood to have been sentenced to two-and-a-half-years in prison in a secret trial. He is unwell and needs urgent medical attention.
Sentence: 2 and half years (starting from December 2013)
Charge: Unknown
Prison: Unknown

UPDATE: Khenpo Kartse was released from prison at end of his sentence in July 2016