A Tibetan AIDS activist disappears in Tibet

A Tibetan AIDS activist disappears in Tibet

The whereabouts of Tibetan HIV/AIDS activist, Wangdue (one name only), remains unknown to his family members since he was arbitrarily detained by the Lhasa City Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials from his home on 14 March 2008 in Lhasa, according to confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

Wangdue, now in his early 40s was born in Taktse County (Ch: Daxi/Dagze Xian), Lhasa Municipality, "Tibet Autonomous Region" ("TAR"). He is a former political prisoner initially arrested for his involvement in the March 1989 protest in Lhasa and was later sentenced to three years to "Re-education through Labour" in Sangyip Prison, otherwise known as "TAR" PSB Detention Centre. His prison sentence was further increased by four years by the Lhasa City Intermediate People's Court for his involvement in a protest in Sangyip, and he was later transferred to the notorious Drapchi Prison in Lhasa where he completed his remaining prison term. Following his release in 1995, Wangdue studied English language besides working in Lhasa.

Wangdue later came in contact with a foreign NGO working on an HIV/AIDS awareness program in Lhasa City and worked to create HIV/AIDS awareness in various brothels around Lhasa city, in schools in neighboring counties and towns, and organized talk series in various nightclubs mushrooming in the holy city. The NGO also published and printed numerous education booklets, posters and pamphlets on HIV/AIDS awareness in Tibetan and Chinese language for free distribution to educate the general public on the deadly disease which is gradually gaining ground in Tibet. Due to their success, numerous schools, government offices including the "TAR" Police Academy invited the NGO to give lecture on the HIV/AIDS awareness to their students, staffs and recruits.

Like the Chinese democracy, environmental and AIDS activist, Hu Jia, who has been nominated by the Nobel Committee for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, Wangdue has been spearheading a noble community service project in educating the masses about the HIV/AIDS in Tibet. Wangdue who has disappeared since his arbitrary detention on 14 March, deserves a similar respect and adulation from the international community for his selfless community service and the international community, should therefore, urgently press for his early release so that he can continue with his noble mission of creating awareness on HIV/AIDS, an epidemic which is gradually spreading at an alarming rate in the Tibetan holy city of Lhasa and other neighboring towns and cities.

TCHRD expresses its deepest concern over the safety of Wangdue and urgently calls upon the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to ascertain his whereabouts and physical conditions. The Centre appeals to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance (UNWGEID) to urgently issue intervention to locate him and his current status.

NB: For photos of Wangdue, please click http://www.tchrd.org/press/2008/pr20081009.html