Annual Celebration of Utsang Choelkha (Province) of Switzerland & Liechtenstein in Rikon

Rikon: On Saturday, 14th September 2019, Utsang Choelkha of Switzerland organized 32nd Annual Celebration at Rikon. Among the chief guest of the Event, they were Chitue Dolma Tsering, Parliamentarian & Advisor of Central Utsang Province, Dharamsala, Mr. Jampa Choephel, the President of central Utsang Choelkha, Dharamsala, Mr. Dawa Tsering, Boardmember Central Utsang Choelkha Dharamsala, India. President of Belgium Utsang Choelkha and President of France Utsang Choelkha also attended the Ceremony. Other Dignitaries present on the occasion were Ven Thupten Legmen, Khen Rinpoche,Rikon Tibet Institute, Chitue Samdho Jampa, Mr. Tsamda Norbu, the President of Tibetan Community of Switzerland & Liechtenstein, Former Chitues (Parliamentarians) and Representatives of NGOs. About 400 people attended the gathering with full spirit.

Former Political Prisoner Mr. Tanak Jigme Sangpo was also invited as a Guest. Despite his old age and health condition, he attended the Ceremony.

Mr. Palden, the president of Switzerland & Liechtenstein Utsang Choelkha addressed the gathering. Other dignitaries also gave a speech on the occasion and question & answer round also took place. Colorful cultural programs were performed by Utsang Choelkha's dance group and performers from various regions of Utsang province.

At the end stage was free to all for Gorshay.

The event was concluded successfully with a vote of thanks by Gelek Dhakyel,Vice President of Switzerland Utsang Choelkha.


Tanak Jigme Sangpo, born in 1926, was first reportedly arrested in 1960 while teaching at the Lhasa Primary School. At the time, he was charged with “corrupting the minds of children with reactionary ideas.” In 1964 he received a second sentence, where he served three years in Sangyip Prison for making comments regarding Chinese repression of Tibetans.

Tanak Jigme was again sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment in Sangyip Prison for ‘counter-revolutionary’ propaganda in 1970. He had been caught attempting to send a document reporting Chinese atrocities to His Holiness the Dalai Lama via his niece, who was trying to flee Tibet. AT the age of 53 Tanak Jigme was released from prison in 1979 and transferred to the ‘reform-through-labour’ Unit No. 1 in Nyethang, 60 km west of Lhasa.

The Lhasa City Public Security Bureau (PSB) arrested him again on 3 September 1983. According to the 1983 verdict, Tanak Jigme was seen on 12 July 1983 at around 4 pm pasting a ‘personally written’ wall-poster protesting against Chinese authority on the main gate of the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. Additionally, on 15 July, he was seen wearing a piece of cloth on his chest upon which the words, “self determination for Tibetans” was written. Lhasa City Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him on 24 November 1983 to 15 years imprisonment for “spreading and inciting counterrevolutionary propaganda,” and five years deprivation of political rights. His official sentencing papers stated that he “has previously served prison terms on the guilt of counterrevolutionary crimes, but has never seriously reconsidered his past counterrevolutionary crimes.”

While in detainment, on 5 October 1987, 61-year-old Tanak Jigme, in support of the mass demonstrations happening in Lhasa at the time, shouted pro-independence slogans during the time that the prisoners were gathered for their meal. He shouted “Free Tibet”, “PRC fooled the Tibetan people” and “Chinese leave Tibet” reading from a self prepared poster. Consequently, on 1 December 1988, his sentence was increased by another five years for “spreading and inciting counter-revolutionary propaganda”.

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