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The Dragon Is Hungry for More Sacrifices

April 12, 2009

Agam's Gecko Blog
April 09, 2009

As we have been reporting here since February,
the major Tibetan religious event known as Monlam
Chenmo, the Great Prayer Festival, was banned by
Chinese authorities this year in most areas. In
doing this the authorities managed to provoke
deeper resentment resulting in further protests
in these areas. The monks of Jonang Sey Thubten
Chokgyal Ling Monastery in Ngaba County were
among those who rose to protest the banning order
on March 1 (earlier report), with hundreds of
them marching toward Ngaba town. A stand-off with
security forces was defused when the monks
voluntarily returned to their monastery.

Part of the traditional Monlam observance at Sey
Monastery includes the annual public procession
of Maitreya Buddha's statue. Last Friday, April
3, this religious procession was belatedly
carried out by monks and residents, but the
devotees became uneasy at the massive show of
Chinese force which accompanied their
celebration. A huge crowd gathered at the
monastery, and a large number of security forces
attempted to disperse the religious gathering.
These "security" forces reportedly drove their
vehicles directly into the crowds. The
whereabouts of those injured in the incident, and
whether they received medical treatment, is still unknown.

Last Sunday April 7, Jampa Sonam, a 21 year old
Tibetan, raised freedom slogans alone outside a
government building near the Kardze Monastery.
After calling out for Dalai Lama's long life and
for Tibetan independence, the Chinese police
pounced and beat him up severely before taking
him away to an unknown destination.

In a newly-reported incident on March 23, a
twelve year old boy named Dhondup Rinchen and two
of his friends pasted up hand-written posters
calling for "Free Tibet" and "long life for Dalai
Lama" in Kardze. Chinese police beat the boys
severely and they were expelled from their
school. Their families have been charged an
unknown financial penalty for the offence.

Voice of Tibet reports that another Tibetan monk
has been charged with "leaking state secrets".
Thugsam, 36, was a monk at Nurma Monastery in
Machu County, Kanlho Prefecture (Ch: Gansu
province) but he was arrested at Labrang
Tashikyil Monastery (Sangchu County, Amdo) on
March 11. Thugsam is accused of passing
information about the protests, arrests and
police-administered beatings to Tibetans outside
the country. Why aren't Chinese hackers who steal
from more than half the countries on the planet
ever charged with espionage, I wonder? (no I don't, actually)

The first known death sentences have been
pronounced upon Tibetans as a result of the March
14 riot in Lhasa last year. Lobsang Gyaltsen and
Loyak are to be executed, while Tenzin Phuntsok
and Kangtsuk also received the death sentence
with a two year reprieve. Dawa Sangpo was given life imprisonment.

The five men were said to be charged in relation
to three arson cases which resulted in deaths.
One other arson case is still being heard by the
court (and only by the court, as these affairs
are closed). An unidentified official assured
everyone that the trials were fair, and that the
accused had lawyers and translators.

Well then, we'll just have to take his word for that then, shall we?

Last year, Chinese lawyers who had come forward
to voluntarily defend some of the thousands of
Tibetans now held in Chinese prisons, had the
full weight of the Communist Party and Government
come down on their heads. Sympathetic lawyers
were banned from acting for these Tibetans, and
many had their practising licenses revoked or
withheld from renewal. This seems to be an
important piece of information to include in any
media reporting on these latest sentences, as an
indication of how fair and open the trials likely
were. Yet it is curiously missing from any
reports I've seen yet. A spokesman for the
Tibetan Government summed up the situation in a nutshell:

"These decisions are made by a kangaroo court of
law. There is no proper legal defense for the
accused," Thupten Samphel said. "These kinds of
decisions increase China's Tibet problem. China
should show magnanimity to make Tibetan people less resentful."

London-based Free Tibet Campaign reported on this
aspect of China's legal system for Tibetans in one particular case last year:

Last October Free Tibet reported lengthy
sentences passed on eight monks from the Tibetan
town of Kyabe for alleged bombing offences.
According to reliable information received by
Free Tibet from a well-placed source, the monks
were denied all access to legal counsel and
family from the time of arrest to sentencing. The
trial of the monks was conducted in camera
according to the source and the nature of the
charges and eventual sentencing of the monks were
not made public by the court. These measures, and
the failure of the court to inform even family
members of the sentences, contravene legal
safeguards incorporated into the Chinese
constitution and the criminal justice system. The
court only acknowledged the sentences passed on
the Kyabe monks after it was contacted by the Associated Press.

This is certainly a very strange way to conduct a
justice system. You can send urgent emails to
China's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Justice here.

In related news, China today executed two Uighur
men in connection with the August 4, 2008 attack
against security forces in East Turkestan (Ch:
Xinjiang province). Officials held a public rally
at a sports stadium in Kashgar to announce the
death sentences, with 4,000 people in attendance.
Azat, a 34 year old vegetable seller, and Hermit,
a 29 year old taxi driver, were then taken to
another location and executed. The execution
method was not reported, so no word on whether
one of the shiny new "mobile execution units" was
used, or just the old-fashioned bullet to the
head. China executes more people than the rest of the world combined.

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