Profile: Restaurant manager serves 12 years for “incitement” of youth

Tsering Ngodrup
Tsering Ngodrup

When Tsering Ngodup‘s advanced age determined that he could no longer be as physically active for Tibet, it did not affect his youthful spirit. In his fifties, Tsering, who ran a restaurant in Lhasa, would encourage his young customers to raise their voice for the cause of Tibet and for those who could sing the best patriotic songs he would prepare special dishes. Today he is serving a 12 year sentence in Drapchi Prison for his “counter-revolutionary incitement”.

Tsering Ngodup, also known as Pa Tsengon la and simply Pachen, is 65 years old. He was the former manager of the Lhasa Gernyer Restaurant – a restaurant run by the Stone Cutters’ Co-operative Society.

Tsering Ngodup resided in the jurisdiction of Pe-ling Municipal Committee in the south of Lhasa, but his place of origin is in Tsona county under Lhoka region. He has a daughter, Dawa, and a son, Gyamtso, who is a monk of Tse Podrang monastery. His wife passed away many years ago.

Tsering Ngodup was arrested by Public Security Bureau officials on 7 April 1989 and was sentenced on 12 September 1989 by the Lhasa City People’s Intermediate Court. The court verdict stated that 57 year old Tsering Ngodup “has often engaged in inciting those of the youths such as Penpa, Sonam and Dawa, the regular visitors at the restaurant, by saying that ‘If any pro-independence demonstration breaks out, you young people must all take part. I have grown old and, even though I feel like taking an active part in it, my age and feeble body condition bar me from doing so’.

The verdict also found him guilty of “inspiring and inciting counter-revolutionary slogans like ‘Tibetan Independence’ amongst the youth. He incited the youth to sing patriotic songs and rewarded those who sang the best by providing them with specially prepared dishes.”

The verdict found that; “On the morning of 5 March 1989 in particular, without any valid basis, Tsering Ngodup encouraged the youth by saying that the demonstrations had already been started. He called; ‘The sun has risen now, you the youth must rise up to participate in the demonstrations.’

“In March 1989 Tsering Ngodup helped the youth Penpa Tsering to transcribe patriotic songs and speeches related to Tibetan Independence and distributed them amongst the youth”, the verdict says.

On 13 September 1989, Radio Lhasa reported that during the demonstration Tsering Ngodup had not only “incited reactionary independence songs” and delivered speeches “stirring up separatist emotion”, but had also “wantonly robbed, destroyed and set on fire public and private properties, and beat up public security officers. In doing so, [he] ran utterly rampant, seriously disrupting social order and upsetting stability and unity in Lhasa.”

He was further accused in the broadcast of contacting Tibetan exile authorities and, upon his return from abroad, alleged to have engaged in “espionage activities”. This included the gathering of lists of those detained by the Chinese for interrogation and of those wounded during the demonstrations of March 5 and July 10, 1988 and attempting to send them abroad. He reportedly visited relatives in India in 1987 and wrote a coded letter in October 1988 to the “Security Department of the Dalai Lama clique”.

Having found Tsering Ngodup guilty under sections 102 and 52 of China’s penal law of “counter-revolutionary activities and threatening the unity of the motherland” and “serious crimes” of inciting young people to participate in demonstrations, the court verdict stressed that “Even under prosecution before the court he did not accept his guilt. He will therefore be punished heavily.” Tsering Ngodup was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and four years subsequent deprivation of political rights.

Jamyang Lodroe, a Tibetan refugee who now works as a driver in Dharamsala, India, knew Tsering Ngodup in Tibet and had personally witnessed Tsering Ngodup’s state of health. Jamyang reports that Tsering Ngodup now walks staggeringly because of permanent damage in his pelvic bones caused by severe torture inflicted during interrogation.

Tsering Ngodup is currently in the Fifth Division of Drapchi prison. He is due for release in the year 2001 by which time he will be 69 years old. Express your concern over his arbitrary detention due to his political convictions and write to Mr Li Peng, the Chinese Premier, and send it to TCHRD for forwarding.

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