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Disappearances continue across Tibet: Tibetan woman sentenced for talking on telephone

November 19, 2008

International Campaign for Tibet
November 17, 2008

A Tibetan female cadre in her thirties, Walza Norzin Wangmo, has been
sentenced to five years in prison for passing on news through the
phone and internet about the situation in Tibet to the outside world,
according to two sources including the Tibetan government in exile.
Walza Norzin Wangmo, from Kyungchu township of Ngaba Tibetan
Autonomous Prefecture (TAP), Sichuan province, was convicted on
November 3; exact details of the charges against her are not known.
In a letter written upon receiving the news about her imprisonment, a
friend of hers wrote: "In your thirties, the prime of life, the
critical juncture when your child needs educating, you and other
heroes and heroines like you parted ways with your parents, split up
with your spouses, and made orphans of your children for the sake of
truth, and had to take the path alone. Five years is 1,825 days. It
is 43,800 hours. To have to spend the best years of your life in a
dark prison cell, what misery!"

A further report received by ICT details the detention of an 81-year
old man, Paljor Norbu, by People's Armed Police on October 31 in
Lhasa, according to sources in exile. According to a separate source,
Paljor Norbu, who has been in prison before, may have been sentenced
to seven years, and his whereabouts is unknown. Paljor Norbu runs a
family printing business in the Barkhor, which has printed and
published Buddhist texts for monasteries for some generations. The
business has now been shut down by the Public Security Bureau, which
also took many of the wooden printing blocks. This indicates that he
is not accused of involvement in any protests from March 10 onwards
in Lhasa, but possibly in providing publications. The same source
said: "The family wants to know what prison he is in because it is
getting cold, he is very old, and they want to get warm clothes and
blankets to him."

These cases are the latest in a wave of detentions and disappearances
across the Tibetan plateau since an unprecedented cycle of six month
cycle of protests against Chinese rule beginning on March 10. More
than 125 protests across the plateau, involving monks, nuns,
laypeople and schoolchildren, have been documented. ICT has gathered
more than 900 names of Tibetans detained following protests or
rioting across the Tibetan plateau since March, although many
Tibetans on this list have since been released, often after
undergoing extremely brutal treatment while in detention. Many
Tibetans detained were not involved in the protests, but were under
suspicion for being involved in encouraging others to protest,
speaking to people outside Tibet about the protests, or other
reasons. A list of 263 Tibetans believed to be still in detention is
published in ICT's report 'Tibet at a Turning Point' at
http://www.savetibet.org/documents/document.php?id=258. A pdf list of
1,088 prisoners, half of whom are Tibetan, is available at the
website of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China at:
http://www.cecc.gov/pages/victims/20081031_PPD.pdf.

'An ocean of inexpressible suffering'

The whereabouts of Norzin Wangmo, sentenced to five years, is
currently unknown and ICT has no details of formal charges against
her. According to one report, Norzin Wangmo underwent torture
following her detention in April.

A Tibetan friend of Norzin Wangmo wrote the following in a letter to
her: "I am constantly hoping and worrying whether you will be
released after seven months of torture in detention. This will give
me a barrage of all kinds of mental torment. Yesterday evening, one
of your colleagues and I were making various suggestions about how to
get you out of prison. I said that I held about a horse's mane of
hope that you might be released. Now today (November 3, 2008) at
around midday, I was devastated to hear that you have been sentenced
to five years, and are to be taken in a few days to some prison in
the interior. I also understood that they will not allow you to meet
relatives or any visitors for ten days...To have to spend the best
years of your life in a dark prison cell, what misery! That may be
your glory, but as you know, an ocean of inexpressible suffering lies
behind that accolade of glory. There is no certainty that the
experience will not write the final word on your youth and affection,
your dreams and ambitions. One thing that makes me happy is that they
say you kept your confidence and attitude together while in prison.
That is a great reassurance to me, for one. Dear friend!"

The Tibetan writer concludes that she will look after her friend's
son, saying: "Moreover, if you are someone who is prepared to go to
prison for the sake of truth, your son can hardly be an ordinary person."
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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