The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP


Media Release

FA151 - 18 October 2002

China Releases Tibetan Prisoner

I warmly welcome China’s decision to release Ngawang Sangdrol, China’s longest-serving female political prisoner. Ngawang Sangdrol was released for good behaviour on 17 October 2002, nine years before the completion of her sentence.

Australia has been deeply concerned about Ngawang Sangdrol for some time. In concert with other governments and human rights groups, the Australian Government has urged the Chinese government to release her on numerous occasions. Her case was specifically raised during the last round of Australia-China Human-Rights Dialogue in August 2002.

Ngawang Sangdrol is the fifth high-profile Tibetan political prisoner China has released this year. The Australian Government will continue to encourage such humanitarian treatment for other political prisoners as well as overall reform in China’s approach to human rights. Her release shows that non-confrontational dialogue, in coordination with the efforts of other governments and human rights groups, can achieve practical results for the many individuals still held in Chinese prisons on political grounds.

Ngawang Sangdrol had been convicted of counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement in 1992 at the age of 15 and sentenced over a number of years to a total of 21 years in prison. She was due for release in November 2011.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) +61 02 6277 7500 / Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) +61 02 6261 1555


Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:28:38 EST


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