Join our Mailing List

"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Long sentences for spying and splittism follow Tibetan nomad's call for Dalai Lama to return to Tibet

November 22, 2007

ICT report, November 20, 2007

Runggye Adak, the Tibetan nomad who took to the stage during the 
Lithang Horse Festival on August 1 and called for the Dalai Lama's 
return to Tibet, has been jailed for eight years on charges of 
'inciting to split the country', according to a statement released by 
Xinhua today (November 20). Runggye Adak's nephew, Adak Lupoe, a 
senior monk from Lithang monastery, received a longer sentence of ten 
years, and Tibetan art teacher and musician Kunkhyen was jailed for 
nine years, both for attempting to provide pictures and information 
to 'overseas organizations' which were judged to 'endanger national 
security'. A fourth Tibetan, Jarib Lothog, was sentenced to three 
years in prison linked to the same case.

It is significant that the two Tibetans allegedly reporting on the 
event were sentenced to longer terms than the perpetrator, and may be 
intended to convey an intimidatory signal to Tibetans about passing 
on news about unrest or dissent to the outside world, particularly in 
the run-up to the summer Olympics in Beijing.

Since the incident on August 1, there has been a military crackdown 
in Lithang in eastern Tibet, and a climate of fear in which Tibetans 
are often too frightened to speak to friends and family on the 
telephone. Monks, government workers and other laypeople have also 
been required to engage in an intensified political campaign against 
their religious leader, the Dalai Lama, which is leading to continued 
resentment and despair. There have also been reports of Tibetans, 
including one senior lama, refusing to denounce the Dalai Lama, even 
while they know the risks of doing so.

According to a Tibetan source, during his trial in Dartsedo, Runggye 
Adak, a father of 11 children and a respected figure in his local 
nomadic community, told the court that he did not carry out his 
protest in favor of the Dalai Lama to be a hero. He said: "I wanted 
His Holiness to return, and wanted to raise Tibetan concerns and 
grievances, as there is no outlet for us to do so. That made me sad 
and made me act." Runggye Adak's government-appointed lawyer 
reportedly argued that asking for the return of the Dalai Lama to 
Tibet was purely a religious action, and not an act to bring down the 

Mary Beth Markey, Vice President of the International Campaign for 
Tibet, said "An eight year prison sentence for expressing a wish that 
is commonly held among Tibetans, the return of the Dalai Lama to 
Tibet, reveals the crackdown against fundamental freedoms in Tibet 
today and does not square well with the image China wants to present 
to the world in the buildup to the Olympics. These hardline, 
confrontational strategies only risk creating further dissent and 
unrest, and do not support China's wish for genuine stability in the 

Xinhua reported today that Adak Lupoe (Chinese transliteration: Lubo) 
and Kunkhyen (Jacmyang Goinqen) were sentenced at the Kardze 
(Chinese: Ganzi) Intermediate Court for spying for overseas 
organizations after they took pictures, made discs, and "provided 
them to overseas organizations" via Jarib Lothog (Lutog). "Some 
contents leak intelligence that endangers national security and 
interest," the court said in its verdict today (Xinhua, November 20, 

Xinhua stated that the actions of 52-year old Runggye Adak (Chinese 
transliteration: Rongji Azha), led to "public besieging of government 
offices...because local people were not clear about the truth", which 
the court said was a severe disruption of public order. This refers 
to the gathering of more than a hundred Tibetans in the compound of 
the local police station in Lithang where Runggye Adak was detained 
after his protest action during an official ceremony at the horse 
festival. During the trial, Runggye Adak's lawyer apparently argued 
that as Runggye Adak was in custody at the time, he could therefore 
have had no involvement in organising the crowds gathered in the 
compound of the police station.

The sentencing of the four Tibetans took place in an environment of 
tension and intensified repression, including a buildup of troops on 
the streets. The expressions of support among Tibetans for Runggye 
Adak's statements at the horse festival led to the launch of an 
intense 'patriotic education' campaign throughout Kardze Tibetan 
Autonomous Prefecture, in present-day Sichuan (the Tibetan area of 
Kham). According to accounts in the official press, the entire month 
of September was given over to intensive "concentrated patriotic 
education activities" in which government workers had to express 
support for the government's handling of the 'August 1 incident', as 
Runggye Adak's protest is referred to. At the prefectural 
communicaions bureau, all staff, including retired staff, at the 
bureau were required to take two days a week to study Marxist theory 
on religion and ethnicity as well as the 'August 1 incident'. (Ganzi 
Daily, September 5, 2007).

An element of the patriotic education was a requirement for staff to 
recite a scripted "public statement of political attitude" in front 
of their colleagues and bosses. In the case of Kardze Nationalities 
Teacher Training College in Dartsedo, staff were required to recite: 
"Take a firm and decisive stance against the Dalai's ethnic 
splittism; resolutely uphold the unity of the nationalities and the 
reunification of the motherland; resolutely support the decisive 
handling of the 'August 1' incident by the provincial party committee 
and the prefectural party committee; firmly establish the correct 
viewpoint of the motherland, the nationalities, religion and culture; 
support dialectical materialism and atheism." (Ganzi Daily, September 
28, 2007.)

Runggye Adak's nephew, Adak Lupoe, who was sentenced to ten years 
today, was detained on August 21. He is in his early forties and 
respected in the local area for his Buddhist scholarship and for his 
concern about the Tibetan education of young people. Kunkhyen, who 
was sentenced to nine years, is a popular local musician, artist and 
teacher at Lithang Middle School known for his skills on the Tibetan 
stringed instrument, the 'dranyan', and for painting murals in some 
of the local monasteries. Jarib Lothog is a Tibetan nomad in his 
early thirties from Lithang who was detained in a hotel room in 
Chengdu and has been sentenced to three years.

The court described the contents of the pictures and disks that led 
to the conviction of Adak Lupoe, Kunkhyen and Jarib Lothog as leaking 
'intelligence'. In Chinese law, the concept of 'intelligence' has 
been treated almost interchangeably with state secrets, especially in 
the context of disclosures to the outside world or the charge of 
endangering state security. Its definition relies on the examination 
of what should be public, and in this respect courts and legislators 
fail to provide a clear interpretation. The Chinese authorities take 
great efforts to prevent news on incidents of unrest from reaching 
the outside world as part of a broader political culture of secrecy 
and in order to maintain political control.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank