p o l i t i c a l p r i s o n e r s
January 21, 2002 -- NGAWANG CHOEPHEL IS FREE !!
Ngawang Choephel, the 34 year old Tibetan Fulbright scholar who has been in prison in Tibet since his 1995 detention for 'espionage' while documenting traditional Tibetan music and dance, was released this weekend on medical parole. He arrived on a flight from Beijing into Detroit at 10:48 a.m. yesterday.
Thanks and congratulations to everyone who worked so hard for his release! This incredible news is a direct result of YOUR efforts on his behalf. Every letter or petition or email you sent helped secure his freedom.
give all Tibet supporters renewed enthusiasm in our struggle for a free
Tibet. While Ngawang's release is a cause for great joy, we must remember
that there are still hundreds of Tibetans imprisoned in Tibet and China
for their beliefs. Conditions in Tibet continue to deteriorate, and
it is only through a political solution that human rights will improve.
The international community must press China to enter unconditional
negotiations with the Tibetan government-in-exile and secure a peaceful
resolution to their brutal occupation of Tibet. The Tibetan people must
be given the right to decide their own future. While political prisoner
releases have occurred in the past, usually as a gesture to improve
relations prior to major diplomatic events, this is the first time that
the Chinese government has given a high-profile Tibetan political prisoner
early release. This comes just five weeks before US President Bush's
scheduled February 21-22 State visit to Beijing, and before the annual
UN Human Rights Commission meetings in Geneva in March.