Goshul Lobsang shortly before
(Photo from www.tchrd.org)
I have a family. I have siblings. I have a wife
and children. For them, I have sincere love and affection; and for
the sake of this love and affection, I am determined to sacrifice my
life. But for the sake of our own people, even if I lose this love
and affection, I will have no regrets. I am an ordinary nomad who
loves his people so I am willing to do anything for my people. I
might lose this bony and haggard body that has suffered brutal pain
and torture inflicted out of sheer hatred. I still will not have any
regrets. I have the desire to follow in the footsteps of martyrs who
expressed everything through flaming fire, but I lack courage [to do
such a thing].
However, I don’t have the desire to bow my head in surrender to an
environment which denies freedom to speak out against lies and to
struggle for equality. [Therefore], I fell into such a situation [of
torture and suffering] for which I, an ordinary nomad, have no
regrets. What I desire is a free world wherein people can enjoy a
life of harmony. I don’t want an atmosphere of darkness, a society
wherein life is subjected to oppression.
I have no regrets, although all of a sudden I may be compelled to
separate from the path of life that [I have been treading along]
with my beloved mother, siblings, wife and children. I may have to
depart with [feelings] of cold, heavy sadness, but I have no sense
of guilt in my heart.
My clear conscience is my only asset in this world. I don’t possess
anything other than this, and I don’t need anything other than this.
[But] my only regret that weighs heavily on my heart is the lack of
a profound sense of solidarity among our people because of which we
are unable to achieve a strong unified stand.
Fellow countrymen, we must have a far-sighted [political] vision and
strong unity. We must have a strong sense of faith in our culture
and tradition and a sense of gratitude to those who have contributed
so much to our nation.
Fellow countrymen of the Land of Snows, we must all uphold unity.
May this unity be sustained for tens of thousands of years!
Sept. 28, 2012
Dingxi, Gansu Province
Ed. note: In sharing this note, TCHRD added
this information below about the life, struggle and commitment of
New information received by TCHRD indicates that Goshul Lobsang, who
recently died of injuries inflicted by torture, might have received
injections designed to cause and exacerbate his pain while he was
being tortured in detention. The use of torture methods to increase
pain is consistent with other Chinese torture tactics. For example,
the Chinese adopted Soviet torture techniques to inflict pain
A source who hails from the same village as Goshul Lobsang told
TCHRD that he was arrested on June 29, 2010,2 by Machu County Public
Security Bureau (PSB) officers. For about five months, he was
subjected to severe torture, including pain-inducing injections, and
deprived of sleep and food by the interrogation officers in Machu
Another source told TCHRD that officers used sharp-pointed objects,
such as toothpicks, to repeatedly pierce and penetrate into the tops
of his fingernails and cuticles. This stabbing, applied with force
and consistency, resulted in severe bleeding, swelling and pain,
making Goshul Lobsang unable to temporarily use his hands.
Normally, the use of techniques to make torture more painful does
not result in any further violations of international law as the
fundamental question under international law is whether a person was
tortured, not how much the victim was tortured. However, in 1974,
the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution on the
Principles of Medical Ethics. While not legally binding on its
own, the resolution recognized and emphasized a pre-existing rule of
international law, i.e., that nobody is allowed to participate in
torture. The resolution emphasized that medical professionals should
not use their unique knowledge or position to facilitate torture.
The use of pain-inducing injections though on Goshul Lobsang to
facilitate and expedite his torture was not only a violation of
international law but also an extreme violation of medical ethics.
The widespread and systematic use of torture in Chinese prisons
cannot exist without the active and implied consent of medical
professionals. The medical professionals working in Chinese prisons
should use Goshul Lobsang’s death, and the participation of medical
professionals in his death, as an opportunity to support medical
ethics and oppose torture.
. . .
A source told TCHRD that Goshul Lobsang led a difficult life,
harassed by the local authorities since his return from India in the
mid-1990s. He went to India in 1992 to study in a Tibetan school. He
was first detained in the late 1990s when many leaflets apparently
calling for freedom appeared in the Machu area. He never accepted
the accusations, and the Machu County PSB officers had to release
him for a lack of evidence. However, he continued to be under police
surveillance, making it difficult for him to lead a normal life.
Thereafter, for some time, he left for Lhasa and other areas but
later returned to teach English to fellow nomads and neighborhood
During the 2008 uprising, Goshul Lobsang took part in the protests
that rocked the Machu area for three consecutive days beginning on
March 17. He even hoisted a Tibetan flag outside his nomad tent in
defiance of the Chinese authorities.
In January 2009, when leaflets calling on Tibetans not to
ostentatiously celebrate Losar (Tibetan New Year) and the local
authorities to stop colluding with human traffickers appeared in
Machu, Goshul Lobsang and others shared these incidents on the
popular Chinese instant messaging site known as QQ. The authorities
thus had one more reason to target Goshul Lobsang after this
On April 10, 2009, fed up with the authorities’ constant harassment
of local Tibetans since the 2008 protests in Machu, Goshul Lobsang
and some other Tibetans confronted the local officials in an attempt
to clarify the matter. Instead of engaging in a civil discussion,
the police officers started beating Goshul Lobsang and another
Tibetan, Dakpa. The severe beatings prompted about 400 local
Tibetans to directly confront the police with some local people
raising protest slogans and throwing stones. As the matter
escalated, the police had no choice but to temporarily release
Goshul Lobsang and Dakpa.
However, the local authorities were firm in their resolve to arrest
Goshul Lobsang as soon as possible, but they did not want to
antagonize the whole community. Therefore, on April 12, 2009, local
authorities called a meeting of major village leaders in Bhelpan
Township and served them an ultimatum to surrender the five
ringleaders of the 2008 protests, including Goshul Lobsang. It was
around this time that Goshul Lobsang left for the mountains to
escape arrest. He spent about a year in the wilderness without any
access to basic necessities, including food and medication.
On June 29, 2010, Goshul Lobsang was arrested by the Machu County
PSB, which held him for about five months in Machu County. On Nov.
26, 2010, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Kanlho
(Chinese: Gannan) Intermediate People’s Court and imprisoned at Ding
Xi, which is located about 100 kilometers from the provincial
capital of Lanzhou.
He remained in prison for about three years in extremely poor
health. By November 2013, the state of his health alarmed the prison
officials, who decided that Goshul Lobsang should not die in prison.
Shortly thereafter, Goshul Lobsang’s family members were called to
get fetch him but on the condition that they signed a letter stating
that his medical condition was caused by natural causes. The family
had no choice but to sign the letter because they knew that he would
not survive long and they wanted him to spend his last moments at
his home. He was thus released on Nov. 29, 2013.
On March 19, 2014, at about 1:00 a.m., Goshul Lobsang died
surrounded by his family members. He was cremated on March 26, 2014.
He is survived by his mother Tardon, 73; wife Tarpey, 39; son Sherab,
18; daughter Dolma, 14; and unidentified siblings.
Goshul Lobsang was born in the village of Gyutsa to nomadic parents
in Bhelpan (Chinese: Awangcan) Township in Machu (Chinese: Maqu)
County in Kanlho (Chinese: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in
1 Darius Rejali, Torture and Democracy (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 2007), p. 84.
2 Please note that this report contains new details that are
different from our previous report on Goshul Lobsang.