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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

CTC joins international coalition calling for immediate release of Tibetan prisoner Tenzin Delek Rinpoche on medical parole

July 03, 2015


 Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a highly respected Tibetan Buddhist monk, is known to be in extremely poor health with a serious heart condition.

Montreal, July 2, 2015 – The Canada Tibet Committee has joined an international coalition of Tibet groups [1] calling on world governments to press China for the immediate release of respected Tibetan Buddhist leader and long-term political prisoner, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, on medical parole. Rinpoche has been held in detention for more than 13 years and is known to be in extremely poor health with a serious heart condition and high blood pressure [2].

 “Tenzin Delek Rinpoche has been wrongfully imprisoned by the Chinese authorities simply for championing Tibetan identity and culture,” said Carole Samdup, Executive Director of the Canada Tibet Committee.  “For this he has been denied basic human rights and is suffering the devastating effects of prolonged imprisonment in China.”

There are precedents of international diplomacy leading to medical parole for Tibetan prisoners [3].  An official application for medical parole was made by Rinpoche’s family in 2014 but to date authorities have not responded. The Canada Tibet Committee has appealed to the Government of Canada to seek a response from its Chinese counterparts.

 Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was arrested in April 2002. He was secretly detained for seven months and denied access to independent legal representation. In December 2002 he was sentenced to death with a 2-year reprieve on charges of “crimes of terror and incitement of separatism” [4]. His conviction was based on a confession obtained under torture by his alleged co-conspirator, Lobsang Dondrup, who was also found guilty and executed on 26 January 2003.

 Rinpoche’s case was commuted to a life sentence in 2005, and subsequently reduced to 20 years. During the trial, no evidence other than the confession of Lobsang Dondrup was offered into evidence and Tenzin Delek maintained his innocence throughout. To date, no court documents have been released, shrouding the proceedings in secrecy [4].

 Notes to Editors

1. The Australia Tibet Council, Canada Tibet Committee, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibet Initiative Deutschland and Tibet Society UK form the Tenzin Delek Rinpoche Campaign Working Group of the International Tibet Network,
2. A report summarising Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s case is available at

3. Medical Parole Prisoners to 2005, Dui Hua 2005

4. Trials of a Tibetan Monk, Human Rights Watch, 2004



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