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Life sentence for top Tibetan businessman PDF Print E-mail
[25 August 2010] Dorje Tashi, one of Tibet's top businessmen has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Dorje Tashi was sentenced on 26 June, following a three day trial at the Lhasa Municipality Intermediate Peoples Court. The exact charges are not known and news of the sentencing only emerged in August. However, it has been suggested the harsh sentence may been due to a donation made to the Dalai Lama.

Dorje TashiThe owner of Lhasa's Yak Hotel, Dorje Tashi was considered by the Chinese authorities as one of Tibet's top ten businessmen. He was the recepient of numerous business awards from state organisations and government bodies, and he regularly donated to government appeals, particularly for poverty and disaster relief projects. In 2005 he met Chinese president Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao at a meeting of the National Youth Federation, and was listed as a delegate to the Chinese People's Consultative Conference.

Radio Free Asia quoted sources who said Dorje Tashi had been sending funds to Buddhist monasteries in India. One souce also said the Chinese authorities had discovered a letter in Dorje Tashi's house from the Dalai Lama, thanking him for a donation of 20 million yuan (almost US$3 million). If true, then such donations would have been considered of a political nature by China, and would have contributed to the severity of his sentence.

Dorje Tashi was arrested shortly after the protests began in Lhasa in March 2008. He was held incommunicado and without charge until his trial in June. His elder brother, Dorje Tseten, was jailed for six years.

This case is a further example of China's current crackdown on Tibetan intellectuals and prominent community figures. (See also the cases of environmentalist Karma Samdrup, author Tragyal and film-maker Dhondup Wangchen).

Further reading
RFA: Jailed Tibetan Made Donations (13 Aug)
AP (in the Guardian): Tibetan businessman gets life in prison (12 Aug)
High Peak Pure Earth: Profile of Dorje Tashi (translated from Chinese website)


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