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Tibetans and Tibet groups worldwide call for a retrial for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

June 18, 2010

Tibet Society
June 16, 2010

London, 16 June -- Today, in a global action, a
40,000-signature petition calling for justice for
imprisoned Tibetan community leader, Tenzin Delek
Rinpoche, has been delivered to Chinese embassies in eight countries.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a Tibetan community leader
who was originally sentenced to death in 2002
following a closed trial, later commuted to life
imprisonment, is reported by his family to be in
very ill health, suffering from high blood pressure and heart disease.

In an action to highlight his case and the
urgency of his situation, Tibetans and Tibet
supporters around the globe delivered a
40,000-signature petition (1) to Chinese
embassies in Australia, Canada, France, Germany,
Japan, Taiwan, UK and the United States (2), that
calls for a new trial for imprisoned religious
and community leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. This
petition mirrors a petition organised by Tibetans
in Tenzin Delek's home region of Lithang in Kham
(Chinese: Sichuan), which was signed by 40,000
people and which Tenzin Delek’s family in Tibet
courageously attempted to deliver to the Chinese
government in December 2009 (3).

In London, the petition was handed to a
representative at the Chinese Embassy by Tibet
Society Chair Fredrick Hyde-Chambers and Chief
Executive Officer Philippa Carrick. The petition
was accompanied by a letter from Fabian Hamilton
MP, calling on the Chinese authorities to
urgently re-examine Tenzin Delek’s case.

"Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was never granted a fair
trial and, given China’s new rules forbidding
admission of evidence gained from torture, it is
time for his case to be re-opened and a new trial
granted in accordance with international legal
standards," said Philippa Carrick, Chief
Executive Officer of Tibet Society. She added,
“Tibet groups worldwide have collected these
40,000 signatures in solidarity with Tibetans in
Tibet who bravely risked their freedom, and
perhaps their lives, appealing for the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.”

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a highly respected
community leader and staunch advocate for the
protection and preservation of Tibetan culture
and the environment, was sentenced to death in
December 2002, along with his distant relative
Lobsang Dhondup, on false charges of exploding
bombs and distributing separatist leaflets. The
sole evidence for Tenzin Delek’s conviction was a
confession, extracted under torture, from Lobsang
Dhondup who was later executed. Tenzin Delek’s
death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment
in January 2005. Tenzin Delek has maintained his
innocence throughout his detention and, during a
visit with family members in 2009, Tenzin Delek
stated, “I am not responsible for these
explosions or any other illegal actions, they
have pinned this on me…. If it is possible to
appeal, there is hope that I may be cleared of all charges.” (4)

In May new legal regulations were issued by the
Chinese government, which state that evidence
obtained through torture and intimidation cannot
be used in criminal prosecutions. On this basis
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's case should be reopened
and a new trial conducted based on evidence that
has not been elicited through torture whilst in detention. (5)

On 11 June Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that
two of Tenzin Delek's sisters were permitted to
visit him in April, apparently in response to
promises made by the Chinese authorities after
demonstrations in Nyakchukha in December 2009.
The sisters were told by the prison doctor that
Tenzin Delek was suffering from "ailments related
to bones, heart, and blood pressure". Tenzin
Delek also requested his sisters continue their
efforts to secure his release, and that he had
sent letters to 26 Chinese government departments. (6)

Tibet campaigners worldwide have taken this
action to demonstrate to the Chinese authorities
that there is widespread support for the release
of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. International actions
included delivery of petitions to Chinese
Embassies and Consulates on four continents,
faxing petitions to Beijing Ministries and
briefing foreign governments. Petitions will be
put on display in Dharamsala, the centre of the
exiled Tibetan community, and exiles from Tenzin
Delek's community will be invited to view them.
The 40,000 signatures will now be sent by courier
directly to Politburo Standing Committee Member
Zhou Yongkang, who was Party Secretary in Sichuan
Province when Tenzin Delek was arrested and now
oversees China's law enforcement agencies and Ministries.

Photo attached: 40,000 signature petition for
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche about to be handed into the
Chinese Embassy, London by Tibet Society’s Chair
Frederick Hyde Chambers and Chief Executive Officer Philippa Carrick.

Photos of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche are available on request.

For background / further information contact:
Philippa Carrick, Tibet Society: 07941 105485

Notes to editors:

1. To view an on-line version of the petition visit

2. On 16 June 2010, in a global day of action for
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, copies of petitions have
been delivered to Chinese embassies in Berlin,
Delhi, Frankfurt, London, New York, Taipei, Tokyo, Toronto, Washington D.C..

3. For a full translation of the petition from
Tibet visit:
A copy of the original, in both Tibetan and
Chinese, can be viewed on the blog
In November 2009, a group of Tenzin Delek
Rinpoche’s relatives and friends traveled to
Beijing to request the central government review
his case. The petitioners were urged to return to
Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan
province. Local people in Tenzin Delek's home
area heard about the petitioners' visit to
Beijing and decided to take action. From 5
December 2009 for several days, scores of
Tibetans in and around Tenzin Delek's village of
Orthok, Nyakchukha County, Kardze Prefecture in
Kham (Ch: Yajiang County, Ganzi Prefecture,
Sichuan Province) peacefully gathered and held
hunger strikes in support of their imprisoned
spiritual leader; there were numerous beatings by
the police and up to 90 demonstrating Tibetans
were arrested and detained for a period of time.

4. Witnesses have testified that Tenzin Delek
Rinpoche shouted out his innocence during his
trial, and in a tape smuggled out of prison in
January 2003, while awaiting the outcome of an
appeal. For further information about Tenzin
Delek Rinpoche’s original trial read Human Rights
Watch report: Trial of a Tibetan Monk available

5. A new set of legal rules were jointly released
on 30 May by five Chinese ministries and
judiciary organs, including the Supreme People's
Court, the Ministry of Public Security, the
Ministry of State Security and the Ministry of
Justice. One regulation sets out principles and
rules for scrutinizing and gauging evidence used
in cases involving the death penalty; the other
sets out detailed procedures for examining
evidence and for excluding evidence obtained in
an illegal way including torture. The new
regulations were reported by Xinhua, with
follow-up reports by Associated Press and the BBC.

6. Radio Free Asia report, 11 June, "Sisters Visit Jailed Monk"

7. The International Tibet Support Network (ITSN)
is a global coalition of 170 Tibet related
non-governmental organisations, which works to
maximize the effectiveness of the worldwide Tibet
movement. ITSN member organisations hold varied
positions on Tibet's future political status, but
all regard Tibet as an occupied country and are
dedicated to ending human rights violations in
Tibet, and to working actively to restore the
Tibetan people's right under international law to
determine their own political, economic, social,
religious, and cultural status.

Paul Golding
Campaigns Coordinator
020 7272 1414

Tibet Society
Unit 9, 139 Fonthill Road, London N4 3HF
Tel: +44 (0)20 7272 1414  Fax: +44 (0)20 7272 1410
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