Chinese Court Jails Four Tibetans on 'Separatism' Charge

By Richard Finney
2013-04-15
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Map showing Malho prefecture in Qinghai province.
RFA

A court in northwest China’s Qinghai province has handed jail terms of up to six years to four Tibetans for sharing photographs and other information related to self-immolation protests with contacts outside the region, a Tibetan advocacy group said on Monday.

The four were convicted on charges of “inciting separatism” and sentenced on an unspecified date by the Intermediate People’s Court in Qinghai’s Malho (in Chinese, Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, according to the India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), quoting media sources.

TCHRD identified them as Choepa Gyal, Chagthar, Namkha Jam, and Gonpo, citing an April 12 report by the official Qinghai Daily News.

Choepa Gyal was handed a six-year term followed by three years of deprivation of political rights for sending images and information related to Tibetan “separatism” through the Internet and for participating in “separatist”-related discussions online, TCHRD said in a statement.

Namkha Jam also received six years  followed by two years’ deprivation of rights for sending photographs of self-immolators to Tibetan “separatist” organizations outside and inside Tibet, TCHRD said.

Chagthar received a four-year term followed by two year’s deprivation of rights for producing and distributing images of self-immolators, and Gonpo was handed a three-year term followed by one year of deprivation of rights for distributing photographs and other “separatist” material.

A total of 115 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze to date in protests challenging Chinese rule or policies in Tibetan-populated areas and calling for the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Chinese authorities have tightened controls in Tibet and in Tibetan prefectures in Chinese provinces to check the fiery protests, cutting communication links with outside areas and jailing Tibetans they believe were linked to the burnings.

More than a dozen have been jailed so far, with some handed jail terms of up to 15 years.

'Severe torture'

TCHRD also reported that Chinese authorities have released two Tibetan prisoners in poor health at the end of five-year terms served in the notorious Chushul prison near Tibet’s regional capital Lhasa.

The two monks, jailed for five years for taking part in a March 2008 protest in Lhasa calling for Tibetan independence, were freed last month, TCHRD said in a separate statement.

Lobsang Ngodrub, 34, and Soepa, 35, were released after serving their full terms, TCHRD said, citing reports given by Tibetan sources in the region to the online Tibet Express.

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An undated photo of Soepa (Photo courtesy of TCHRD).
Both had been held in Chushul Prison near Lhasa and were released in poor health, with Soepa exhibiting signs of mental disturbance, TCHRD said.

“The state of Soepa’s mental health indicates that he had endured severe torture at the hands of prison authorities in Chushul,” TCHRD said.

Soepa has now returned to his former home at Mang-Ge monastery in Sershul (in Chinese, Shiqu) county in Sichuan’s Kardze (Ganzi) prefecture, where security personnel “are keeping a close watch on his movements,” the rights group said.

Lobsang Ngodrub is meanwhile receiving medical treatment at a hospital in the Qinghai provincial capital of Xining, TCHRD said.

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Anonymous Reader

CCT should stop to bully Tibet people even they have unfairly occupied their country. Why UN is quiet ? Give back their land to their hand. Han people think they are great, but actually is opposite. Even Hakka people actually built China by their skill, They didn't even given a dictrict to stay. Now they are almost dissappeared. How bad people are they.

Apr 19, 2013 09:00 PM

Wangchuk

from NYC

These 4 Tibetans committed no crime. All they did is report on actual events. But apparently in occupied Tibet under the CCP, merely reporting or discussing politically sensitive events or protests by Tibetans is a crime. This shows the lack of genuine free speech in Chinese-occupied Tibet. These convictions are retaliations to prevent future Tibetan self-immolations and to intimidate Tibetans into not reporting such protests to the outside world. The CCP does not want the world to know what's truly going on inside Tibetan areas.

Apr 17, 2013 11:11 AM