China accused of Tibet repression

The Chinese government is misusing criminal charges to repress political, cultural, and religious expression in Tibetan communities, a human rights group has said.

    Many Tibetans resent what they see as Chinese occupation

    In a report released on Monday, Human Rights Watch also accused

     China of trumping up charges of bombing

    against a jailed Tibetan Buddhist monk in order to

    muzzle him

    .

    The organisation said the persecution of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a highly-respected Tibetan lama, highlighted the ongoing strictures placed on Tibetans in China.

    HRW said the case against Tenzin Delek

    , given a suspended death sentence in December 2002

    over a rash of bombings in a Tibetan-populated area of the

    southwest, was riddled with inconsistencies and procedural

    flaws.

    'Forced confession'

    Its report - based on nearly 150 interviews - said

    the government targeted Tenzin Delek after a decade of trying

    to curb his social and spiritual work.

    And to convict him it had

    to force a confession from the co-defendant who named him.

    The group demanded the immediate release of the monk and a handful

    of other Tibetans arrested in connection with his case.

    "Human Rights Watch is concerned that the Chinese

    government's treatment of Tenzin Delek is not an isolated

    phenomenon," the report said.

    Heated protests

    "In spite of China's rhetoric about legal reform, Tenzin

    Delek's case shows that when it comes to Tibet, the Chinese

    government still does not tolerate uncontrolled political or

    religious activity"

    Mickey Spiegel,
    Human Rights Watch

    "In spite of China's rhetoric about legal reform, Tenzin

    Delek's case shows that when it comes to Tibet, the Chinese

    government still does not tolerate uncontrolled political or

    religious activity," Mickey Spiegel, a researcher in the Asia

    Division of Human Rights Watch, added in a statement.

    The Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment. However, China typically rejects statements by foreign human rights groups as attempts to meddle in its internal affairs, saying its citizens are dealt with according to law.

    Despite heated protests from international rights groups

    and diplomats, China executed Lobsang Dondrup, the other

    Tibetan tried alongside Tenzin Delek, last January.

    In a tape released at the time and said to have been

    smuggled out of jail, Tenzin Delek protested his innocence from

    his cell, where he remains today.

    'Chinese occupation'

    In China, a suspended death

    sentence is usually commuted to life imprisonment.

    Beijing has shown intermittent signs of increasing

    tolerance towards the Tibet region in the past two years,

    freeing several prominent activists and allowing a

    series of rare visits by envoys of spiritual leader the Dalai

    Lama.

    But many devout Tibetans resent what they see as Chinese

    occupation and interference in their religious lives since the

    People's Liberation Army marched in and imposed Communist rule

    in 1950.

    In recent years, the Chinese government has consolidated secular control at the expense of monastic influence.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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