d r a p c h i   n u n s



Beginning in 1989, many nuns began pouring into Drapchi Prison in Lhasa for taking part in peaceful demonstrations against China's occupation of Tibet. In 1993, fourteen of these nuns secretly recorded songs of independence and messages to their families. This tape was smuggled out of Drapchi prison and distributed throughout Tibet, becoming a powerful source of inspiration for Tibetans all over Tibet who continue to strive for freedom from Chinese oppression. Once the Chinese authorities discovered the tapes, the nuns were given sentence extensions for recording their songs, and have since been singled out for particularly harsh abuse.

These courageous freedom fighters then became known as the DRAPCHI 14. One of the nuns, Ngawang Lochoe, died in Drapchi Prison in February 2001. The remaining thirteen nuns have all been released. Phuntsok Nyidrol was the last of the Drapchi 14 to be released on February 26, 2004. She is believed to be residing in Lhasa with her family, although little information is available about her health.

Drapchi Prison is notorious for its poor conditions and extreme maltreatment of prisoners. Severe abuse and sentence extensions are methods used both to 'punish offenders' in the prison population, and as a deterrent to others, both inside and outside the prison. Torture is widespread in Drapchi. According to the Tibet Information Network: "Police and security personnel, who are trained in the delivery of martial-style kicks and punches to a body's most vulnerable zones, frequently single out the heads and kidney areas of prisoners for particular attack during beatings. Electric batons are utilized not only to control prisoners, but to torture those under restraint. Sense organs, such as the tongue and ears, body cavities and sexual areas, especially on females, have been routine points of application for electric shocks." --Rukhag 3: The Nuns of Drapchi Prison, pg. 9.

Like so many Tibetan political prisoners, the Drapchi Nuns are in prison solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs. Their only crime is their desire for freedom, dignity and human rights.

Click here for the songs of the Drapchi 14, or go to www.drapchi14.org.

Click here for vital statistics on the Drapchi 14.

Click here for information on Tibet Information Network's Report on the Drapchi nuns.

Passang Lhamo & Chuye Kunsang -- May 1, 2002 US Congressional Testimonies, Human Rights Caucus

Passang Lhamo's Testimony.

Chuye Kunsang's Testimony.

From the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy:

News Brief 2002/NB3: Gyaltsen Dolkar released.

From the Tibet Information Network:

More information on Ngawang Choezom's release!

[ photo | tibetan nuns and former political prisoners passang lhamo & chuye kunsang ]

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