A court in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan has convicted of subversion a Tibetan nomad who called for the return of the Dalai Lama at a horseracing festival in August.
Ronggyal Adrak was tried at the Ganzi Autonomous Prefecture People’s Court in Dartsedo (in Chinese, Kangding) on Monday, Oct. 29, on charges of seeking to “split” the country and subvert state power during a public meeting Aug. 1 in Lithang county, sources in Lithang told RFA’s Tibetan service.
Ronggyal Adrak told the judge from the dock: “When I shouted ‘Long live the Dalai Lama’ and called for the release of Tibetan political prisoners, I was detained and then formally arrested.”
“The main reason was that there is nobody in Tibet who does not have faith in, loyalty to, and the desire to see the Dalai Lama,” he told the court. “On the contrary, the Chinese government sends out propaganda saying that the Tibetans inside Tibet have no desire to meet him and have lost faith in him.”
“That is wrong, and we have no freedom to say so.”
There is nobody in Tibet who does not have faith in, loyalty to and the desire to see the Dalai Lama.
The judge told Ronggyal Adrak that his crimes were “very severe.”
“You committed the crime of subverting the People’s Republic of China. The Dalai Lama, for whom you called for a long life and his return to Tibet, is the same person who is conniving with different foreign leaders and organizations to split our country through a variety of means and methods,” the judge said.
Ronggyal Adrak, who has met the exiled Tibetan leader twice in northern India where his two daughters are studying, was also held responsible for a mass protest by more than 1,000 Lithang nomads calling for his release, and “economic losses” suffered as a result of his public protest, the judge said.
Ronggyal Adrak is being tried according to Chinese law, and we are not wrongfully accusing him of anything. He is being charged according to the law of the land.
“You not only met him twice in India but also came back and initiated actions here in Lithang. So these actions prove that you were making plans to split and subvert this country,” the judge said.
“More than 1,000 Tibetan residents of the Lithang area rallied and forced entry into government compounds. That incident was also instigated by you,” the judge said. “You have to bear the complete burden of responsibility for these actions.”
An official who answered the phone at the Ganzi People’s Court told RFA’s Tibetan service that the charges against Ronggyal Adrak were justified. “Ronggyal Adrak is being tried according to Chinese law, and we are not wrongfully accusing him of anything,” the official said. “He is being charged according to the law of the land.”
Ronggyal Adrak was accompanied into the courtroom by Adruk Gyatso and Chaktsa Lobsang.
The judge also slammed Ronggyal’s nephew, Adruk Tseten, for “talking to all kinds of media in the world and responding to their questions,” actions which had damaged China’s international image, he said.
The judge said the final sentence would be announced to officials in the Lithang county government in six to seven days.
Ronggyal Adrak, of the Yonru nomadic group, was detained by police at a festival in Lithang on Aug. 1 after he called on Beijing to allow the Dalai Lama back into Tibetan territory under Chinese control.
Nomads and local residents besieged Lithang town calling for his release, and a 200-strong delegation was sent to talk to Chinese officials after police threatened to shoot some of the protesters.
Thousands of troops descended on the region in the aftermath of the protest, and the nomads agreed to withdraw on the condition that Ronggyal Adrak be freed.
China has ruled the Dalai Lama, who has called for real autonomy for Tibetans within the People’s Republic of China, out of Tibet’s future, and has recently launched major political campaigns in Tibetan areas of Sichuan and among Tibetan cadres in Tibet to get people to renounce him.
Original reporting in Kham dialect by Dawa Dolma and Lobsang Choephel of RFA’s Tibetan service. Service director: Jigme Ngapo. Translated and edited by Karma Dorjee. Written and produced in English by Luisetta Mudie and Sarah Jackson-Han.