China puts Tibetan language advocate on trial for 'inciting separatism'

Tibetan, Tashi Wangchuk, pleaded "not guilty" to the charges. He faces upto 15 years in prison if convicted. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Beijing, China Jan 04, 2018, 12.59 PM (IST)

China today put a Tibetan on trial for "inciting separatism" even as rights group denounced the decision as a "sham" after he appeared in a New York Times video documentary  in which he criticised policies related to Tibetan language education.

Tibetan, Tashi Wangchuk, pleaded "not guilty" to the charges. He faces upto 15 years in prison if convicted.

In the New York Times video, Wangchuk was shown travelling to Beijing where he tried to file a lawsuit against officials in Yushu which is an autonomous prefecture in southwest Qinghai province.

In the video, Wangchuk reportedly said: "I want to try to use the People’s Republic of China’s laws to solve the problem," adding, it was a systematic "slaughter of our culture". 

"In politics, it's said that if one nation wants to eliminate another nation, first they need to eliminate their spoken and written language," he allegedly said in the video.

Rights group Amnesty International criticised the Chinese government for putting  Wangchuk on trial calling it "blatant trumped up charges".

Amnesty International said it was "appalling" that Wangchuk could face jail time.

Maya Wang, a researcher at Human Rights Watch told AFP that Wangchuk was merely exercising his constitutionally guaranteed rights.

"If Chinese authorities consider that 'inciting separatism', it's hard to tell what isn't," Wang said.