Tibetan Protest 'Ringleader' Jailed

Chinese authorities throw an ex-monk into jail for leading protests against Beijing's rule in Tibet in 2008.

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Chinese soldiers stand guard outside a burnt building after violent protests in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, March 15, 2008.

A Tibetan who was among leaders of protests against Chinese rule in 2008 has been ordered jailed for five years by a Chinese court in restive Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) in eastern Tibet, according to exile sources.

It was not known under what charges Tsering, 26, a native of Raru village in Ngaba prefecture's Cha township in Sichuan province, was convicted by the court in Sichuan province a month ago.

"It has been learnt that on Nov. 29, Tsering ... was sentenced to five years by the Ngaba county intermediate peoples court," said monks Losang Yeshe and Kanyag Tsering at Kirti's sister monastery in India.

The Kirti monastery in the Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture has been the scene this year of repeated self-immolation protests against rule by Beijing.

Tsering, who became a monk at Kirti from a young age but was disrobed in 2007 and returned to his family in the pastoral area, had participated in protests in the Cha township in March 2008, and then went into hiding to evade arrest, the monks said.

He remained in hiding until around April 2010, when he was arrested from a restaurant in Ngaba town and has been in detention awaiting trial.

"During his time in hiding, police came looking for him many times, saying that he was a ringleader of the Cha protest, and they searched for him throughout the area," the monks said.

Sharing his personal details, they identified Tsering's father as Lori and mother as Chokyong Tso.

Tensions in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in Tibetan-populated areas in China's provinces have not subsided since anti-China riots swept through the Tibetan Plateau in March 2008.

Twelve Tibetans have set themselves on fire this year, protesting against Chinese rule in what rights groups say is a sign of desperation at increased Chinese repression.

Chinese authorities have blamed Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama for the tense situation, saying he is encouraging the self-immolations, which run contrary to Buddhist teachings.

But the Dalai Lama shot back, blaming China's "ruthless and illogical" policy towards Tibet.

He called on the Chinese government to change its "repressive" policies in Tibet, citing the crackdown on monasteries and policies curtailing use of the Tibetan language.

Reported by RFA's Tibetan service. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.


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