KATHMANDU—Tibetan exiles and residents of the region say Chinese authorities have executed at least three people convicted of rioting during last year's widespread uprising against Chinese rule.
These would be the first reported executions in connection with rioting that erupted in March 2008 in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) capital, Lhasa. Capital punishment is administered only rarely in Tibet, experts say.
A source in Lhasa identified one of the men executed as Lobsang Gyaltsen, age 22 or 23, from Lhasa’s Lubuk township.
“His mother's name is Yudon-la and he has a stepfather. Their living conditions are extremely poor, and they are dependent on food assistance from the Lhasa city committee,” the source said.
“He was executed for allegedly killing a Chinese national by setting a shop on fire in Lhasa. He was detained around March 14, 2008,” the source said.
Before his execution, the source said, Lobsang Gyaltsen was permitted a visit with his mother. “I have nothing to say, except please take good care my child and send him to school,” he was quoted as telling her.
Others also executed
A second man identified only as Lobsang was also executed, the source said, along with a third man, from the Amdo region, and a woman identified only as Nyimo.
Another source in Lhasa, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said the executions went unmentioned in the official media, which had reported previously on the execution of Uyghurs convicted in connection with deadly rioting in July 2009.
The Uyghurs, a Turkic minority, have like the Tibetans chafed for decades against Chinese rule.
“I got information from Lhasa that three Tibetans who were involved in the 2008 protests were executed on Oct. 20, in Lhasa, around 11 a.m.. The Chinese authorities execute Tibetans in secrecy and never reveal details," another source said.
Nawang Obar, leader of an association of former Tibetan political prisoners based in Dharamsala, northern India, also said three Tibetans were executed on Oct. 20 at 11 a.m. in Lhasa.
He identified the other two people executed as a young woman and a Tibetan youth from Amdo Aba in Sichuan province.
An official at the Lhasa People's Intermediate Court referred questions about the executions to a colleague and asked reporters to phone back later, at which time the phone rang unanswered.
Rioting rocked Lhasa in March last year and spread to Tibetan-dominated regions of western China, causing official embarrassment ahead of the August 2008 Beijing Olympics. Officials say 21 people—including three Tibetan protesters—died in the violence.
The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported separately that four people were executed Tuesday.
On Thursday, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) released a report saying at least 670 Tibetans have been jailed in 2009 for activities that include peaceful protest or leaking information abroad.
By the end of April 2009, TAR courts had sentenced 84 Tibetans to punishments ranging from fixed jail terms to life, as well as to death or death with a two-year reprieve, in connection with the 2008 riots, the CECC report said.
The report detailed a widespread “patriotic education” campaign that requires monks and nuns to pass examinations on political texts, agree that Tibet is historically a part of China, and denounce the Dalai Lama.
“The government has in the past year used institutional, educational, legal and propaganda channels to pressure Tibetan Buddhists to modify their religious views and aspirations,” the report said.