UK & US government statements on death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

The UK government issued a statement late on 13 July via a Foreign Office spokesperson saying, “We are saddened by reports that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche has died in detention in China. We raised his case with Chinese authorities on a number of occasions, including during the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in April this year.”

Tibet Society is disappointed at such a weak statement from the UK government and the lack of any condemnation of China’s treatment of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche or their refusal to grant medical parole. Tibet Society has written to the Foreign Office, calling for a stronger statement.

Conversely, the US government called on China to investigate the death and to return the body to Rinpoche’s family. The statement, issued by the US State Department on 13 July said, “We are saddened to learn that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a Tibetan lama who has been a political prisoner since 2002, has died in prison. We express our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and supporters. The United States had consistently urged China to release Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, most recently out of concern for his health. We hope Chinese authorities will investigate and make public the circumstances surrounding his death. We urge Chinese authorities to return his body to his family or to his monastery so that customary religious rituals can be properly performed.”

UK statement (via Reuters) I US statement