An innocent and revered Tibetan Buddhist monk and community leader has died in Chinese prison after 13 years of unjust imprisonment.


Major events in Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's life

  • April 2002


    Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and his 28-year-old nephew, Lobsang Dondrub, were sentenced to death on trumped-up charges of “crimes of terror and incitement to separatism” in 2002. Lobsang was executed shortly. After international outcry, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He maintained his innocence throughout.

  • 2004

    False charges

    Human Rights Watch stated that the legal proceedings against Tenzin Delek Rinpoche had been "procedurally flawed" and he had been charged to "curb his efforts to foster Tibetan Buddhism and his work to develop Tibetan social and cultural institutions."

  • 2013

    His Last Appeal

    Tenzin Delek Rinpoche sends out a message from prison in November 2013:
    There are some people who say that taking up my case will make things worse for me. At this point, I have fallen to my lowest point - nothing worse can come. You can make appeals and initiate campaigns for me.

  • 2014

    Eligible for Medical Parole

    Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s family applies for release based on medical parole in 2014 as he was gravely unwell. Chinese authorities never granted the parole.

  • July 2015

    Suspicious Death

    On July 12th, Tenzin Delek’s family was informed by Chinese police that he had passed away in a prison near Chengdu, China. The family demands prison authorities to release the body for final Buddhist rites.

    On July 13th, Chinese troops open fire at thousands of peaceful Tibetans who were protesting Tenzin Delek’s death in Nyagchuka County, leaving 15 people critically injured and hospitalized.

    On July 14th, more than 100 Tibetans join the family outside the prison in a peaceful mass-sit it to demand prison authorities to release Tenzin Delek’s body to his family.

    On July 15th, more than 100 Tibetans join the family outside Chuandong Prison in peaceful sit-in protest to demand the return of Tenzin Delek’s body to his family and the cause of his death.

    On July 16th, Tenzin Delek’s body was cremated in a secret prison against the wishes of his family and without respecting Tibetan Buddhist customs. Given the suspicious circumstances surrounding Tenzin Delek’s death and witnessing the state of Tenzin Delek’s body, family suspects he was murdered.

  • Today

    China must answer for this crime. His family still has not received answers about the cause of his death. Government responses to Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s murder in Chinese prison are simply not strong enough.

    Please send the letter below to the top 20 world leaders to strongly condemn China to and call for an international inquiry into Tenzin Delek’s death.


Please sign the petition