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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Tibetan Gets Suspended Death Sentence in China

June 2, 2010

A Chinese court has handed down a suspended death sentence to a Tibetan man accused of taking part in the riots that ravaged the Tibetan capital more than two years ago, the state news media reported.


The same court also sentenced five other people to lengthy prison terms for their role in harboring the man, Sonam Tsering, who was convicted of “rioting and inciting the public to riot,” according to the Lhasa Evening News, which said the trial took place on Tuesday.

Prosecutors accused Mr. Tsering of standing atop a police vehicle and waving a knife in the air while shouting antigovernment slogans. The five others were convicted of “harboring a criminal” and given sentences ranging from three to seven years, the newspaper said.

A woman who answered the phone Thursday at the Lhasa Intermediate Court hung up when asked about the convictions.

At least four people have been executed and three others have been given suspended death sentences for their role in the unrest of March 2008, which left at least 19 people dead, the majority of them ethnic Han Chinese.

During the government crackdown that followed, more than 600 people were arrested, according to the United States Congressional-Executive Commission on China. Tibetan exile groups say the number of those imprisoned, and the death toll among Tibetans, is much larger.

Among those given jail time were Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan filmmaker who is serving a six-year term for making a documentary that features ordinary Tibetans talking about the approaching 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

In recent weeks a number of organizations, including Amnesty International, have taken up Mr. Wangchen’s plight in an effort to bring attention to what they say is his failing health. Family members say he contracted hepatitis B while in custody and has since been moved to a labor camp in Qinghai Province where conditions are thought to be especially harsh.

Two lawyers who were hired to represent Mr. Wangchen during his trial and subsequent appeal were forced to drop the case after they were threatened with the closing of their law firm, according to Amnesty International.

Dechen Pemba, a British woman who helped smuggle raw footage from Mr. Wangchen’s documentary out of China, said his friends and family were increasingly dispirited by their inability to obtain any official information about his health or his whereabouts.

“We’ve tried every legal channel but nothing seems to work,” she said in a telephone interview. “At this point we don’t know what to do.”


Zhang Jing contributed research.

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