Golog Jigme, a Buddhist monk and human rights activist who was jailed and tortured for making the documentary “Leaving Fear Behind”, addresses the 8th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see quotes below, followed by full prepared remarks.
On being tortured by China:
“Why did they torture me? They shackled my arms around the stove which burned my skin. Why did they do this?”
“I went through a lot of hardships, but I always continued my activities for the Tibetan people. No matter how hard they tortured me, not even one day did I give up my fight for the Tibetan people.”
On Tibet under Chinese rule:
“Today, Tibet has become like a prison under Chinese occupation.”
“Tibetans are protesting against Chinese rule through self-immolations, over 140 Tibetan heroes have self-immolated, so it is important that we talk about these people and their plight and not act as if we wouldn’t see them.”
“I’m always talking about the Chinese government as a terrorist state. With weapons in their hands they are killing people who are talking about freedom, democracy, about truth. What other name can we call them than terrorists?”
A call to action:
“I appeal to you: don’t act as if you don’t see or hear the Tibetan people suffering.”
First of all I would like to greet every one of you. My name is Golog Jigme, I was born in the nomad’s family, I am a non-violent freedom fighter, I am a social activist, I am a filmmaker. I made a documentary called “Living Fear Behind”. Because of this, the Chinese authorities arrested and tortured me three times.
Why did I make this documentary? The Chinese were propagating lies about the situation in Tibet all over the world, they fooled the international community, so I wanted to show the real situation inside Tibet. In this documentary, Tibetan people are speaking out. In Tibet there is no human freedom, no freedom of expression, no freedom of movement, no freedom of language, no freedom of religion, not even freedom of thought. Because of this situation, I made this documentary.
2008 there was a huge uprising all over Tibet, I participated in these protests. Because of all of this, the Chinese arrested me for three times. If you think about how I was arrested, it’s shocking. When you think about China being a powerful state, you wouldn’t believe how they arrested a Tibetan monk. Over 60 policemen came, over 300 military officials came and arrested me. When they arrested me, they pointed two rifles at my head, they beat me with the butt of their rifles. I fell immediately on the ground, bleeding, my whole body was wet, full of blood, that’s how they arrested me.
When I was arrested they used the most advanced military weapons, there were military vehicles all over the village. This is just shocking and unspeakable. That’s how I was arrested for the first time in 2008. So after arresting me they tortured me in prison, if you think about it, it’s something that a human being could not imagine. The Chinese introduced me to a new phenomenon, to a new thing. This is the iron chair. The Chinese call it “lohuten”. They put me on this chair and they tortured me, and they hung me on this chair nine times. It’s something – I can never express how this torture felt. One month and 21 days, day and night, I was tortured on this chair.
Why did they torture me? They shackled my arms around the stove which burned my skin. Why did they do this?
They said: “you have to give out the names of the people you talked to in this documentary. You have to tell us who participated in the peaceful protests”. That’s why they tortured me. I am a non-violent freedom fighter and today with great pride I can tell you that I did not betray one single person. I did not respond and they said: “you don’t speak? If you don’t speak your mouth is of no use,” and then with the lighter, they burnt my lips three times. The pain was unbearable, I cannot express how this felt. That’s how I was tortured for one month and 21 days.
I came here as one example. It’s not only me. There are over 2,000 Tibetan political prisoners. These are all heroes for me, and that’s exactly how they are also being tortured. I came here in front of you to bear witness to the situation, to this suffering.
That was the physical torture, but the mental torture was even worse, something you could not imagine. I still wonder why did they torture me, mentally. It was terrifying. They wanted to force me to denounce the Tibetan people’s leader, the Dalai Lama. They wanted to force me to denounce the Tibetan Youth Congress. They said “no one can protect you,” they said “the west won’t protect you, America won’t protect you, if there is someone who can protect you, you can call him, now there’s no one who will save you if we kill you now, if we put your core, your dead body into the dustbin there would be no one who would care about that”.
Is this how human beings could ever talk to each other? I went through a lot of hardships, but I always continued my activities for the Tibetan people. No matter how hard they tortured me, not even one day did I give up my fight for the Tibetan people.
2009 I was arrested for the second time, 2012 for the third and last time. As a freedom fighter, I always took pride in what I did for the Tibetan people, for the Tibetan nation.
Today, there are so many human rights activists, diplomats, I want to tell you, I appeal to you: don’t act as if you don’t see or hear the Tibetan people suffering.
Today, Tibet has become like a prison under Chinese occupation.
I escaped from this prison. I came to a free country. My body is in the free country, but my heart will always remain with the suffering of my Tibetan brothers and sisters. If I think about what they go through, there will not be one day that I could feel happy of being in a free country. Our freedom struggle needs support from you,
As I said there are over 2,000 documented Tibetan political prisoners who are going through a lot of suffering and torture. Tibetans are protesting against Chinese rule through self-immolations, over 140 Tibetan heroes have self-immolated, so it is important that we talk about these people and their plight and not act as if we wouldn’t see them.
One of my dear friends, a courageous writer for freedom, an example for the young generation of Tibet, it’s been one year that he was imprisoned. Recently he was sentenced to three years imprisonment. Inside prison he protested against this sentence. Shokjang, my friend, he is someone who has a pen in his hand, with this pen he protests against the Chinese government. The Chinese government is persecuting people with only pen in their hands who are writing for freedom.
It’s not only Shokjang. Think about 6th July 1989, what happened on the Tiananmen Square in Beijing. They killed students, they killed intellectuals. Uyghurs are also being killed, Tibetans are also being killed. I’m always talking about the Chinese government as a terrorist state. With weapons in their hands they are killing people who are talking about freedom, democracy, about truth. What other name can we call them than terrorists? This is a terrorist state, I want to state that.
There is a website for my friend Shokjang. Every one of you: organisations or individuals, please, support him! Go on this website, read about him, read his writings and support him, sign his petition, support the innocent people, please support us and don’t support the terrorist state, China!