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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."

China Court Gives Life Sentence to Tibetan Monks: Update

October 16, 2008

October 14, 2008

New Delhi, Oct. 14 -- Eight Buddhist monks have been sentenced to
prison; two of them for life, after convicting them of bombing a
government building in Tibet during an anti-China uprising in March,
AP reported a judge as saying on Tuesday.

The monks were sentenced after being convicted of setting off a bomb
at the building in Gyanbe township, the report quoted Gang Weilai,
the judge who presided over the case at the People's Court in Chamdo,
a Tibetan prefecture, as saying.

Gyanbe, in Gonjo County (Chamdo Prefecture), is about 855 miles east
of Lhasa, Tibet's capital, where peaceful protests against Chinese
rule erupted into violence in March.

Gyurmey Dhondup and Kalsang Tsering were sentenced to life in prison
while the others received sentences between five and 15 years, Gang
said in a telephone interview. He said the monks did not appeal their

"We were first going to charge them with the crime of separating the
nation, but eventually the charge was changed to the crime of causing
an explosion," Gang said, declining to explain the decision.

Gang referred all questions to the Supreme Court, the country's
highest court. Telephones were not answered at the court Tuesday afternoon.

The London-based Free Tibet Campaign said the monks were sentenced on
Sept. 23, but it was not made public, a common practice in China for
sensitive cases. Gang refused to specify the date, saying only it
happened "a few days ago."

"This case, like so many others in Tibet, demonstrates the urgent
need for international media and independent agencies to be allowed
immediate and free access to all areas of Tibet to investigate the
accounts of arbitrary detention and abuse of Tibetans that continue
to emerge," Free Tibet Campaign's director, Stephanie Brigden, said
in a statement.

China's state run Xinhua news agency on April 13 reported an arrest
of nine Tibetan Buddhist monks from Tongxia monastery, who had been
accused of planting a homemade bomb on 23 March in a government
office building.

Chinese state media have said eight monks from the Tongxia monastery
in eastern Tibet confessed to planting the bomb, but did not explain
why the alleged bomb incident was not reported earlier at the time.
No casualties or damage were also reported in the blast.

China launched a massive crackdown in Tibet after widespread
demonstrations broke out across the region earlier this year.

Beijing maintains only 22 people were killed in the riots. The Dalai
Lama led Tibet's Government-in-exile, based in India, accuses China
of killing at east 200 Tibetans and injuring many more during the
brutal crackdown. More than 1,000 people were detained, although
human rights groups say the number could be higher.

Both Tibetan Government and Tibet continue to raise concerns that
crackdown in Tibet has not stopped. They, in fact, maintain that
Chinese repression in Tibet now is as bad as it was during the
Cultural Revolution.

The Dalai Lama has called a 'special meeting' of 'all Tibetan exile
groups for next month, mainly to discuss the situation inside Tibet
and the progress of the Sino-Tibetan talks started since 2002.

Chinese Communist troops invaded Tibet in 1950 and forced the Tibetan
leader the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans to flee into exile in
1959 after an aborted uprising against the continuing Chinese
presence in their homeland.

Phayul Bureau Report
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