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Twelve Tibetans jailed for reporting and taking part in protests PDF Print E-mail
[26 April 2013] Twelve Tibetans have been handed prison sentences by the Chinese authorities for their involvement in protests. Eight students in Chabcha were jailed for participating in protests in November 2012 and four Tibetans in Malho were sentenced for distributing news and images of self-immolation protests. The sentences ranged from three to six years. A further 21 Tibetans have been detained following recent protests in Jyekundo.

Students jailed in Chabcha  I  Four sentenced in Malho  I  Detentions in Jyekundo

Eight jailed for participation in mass student protest
Kunsang BumOn 10 April, a Chinese court sentenced eight Tibetan students for their involvement in a mass student protest on 26 November 2012. The Chabcha (Chinese: Gonghe) County Peoples Court in Tsolho (Ch: Hainan) prefecture, Amdo (now incorporated into Chinas Qinghai Province) found the students guilty of causing harm to social stability by illegally holding a demonstration.

Sangye Bum was sentenced to four years in prison; Kunsang Bum (pictured right), Lhaten, Jampa Tsering and two unnamed Tibetans received sentences of three years and six months; Wangyal Tsering and Choekyong Kyap were handed sentences of three years and three months.

The eight students, from Tsolho Vocational School in Chabcha county, took part in the November 2012 demonstration which involved over 1,000 students (pictured below). The students were protesting against a new "political education" drive by the local Chinese authorities which denounced the Dalai Lama and those who had self-immolated.

Chabcha protest Nov 2012The authorities responded by sending armed police to disperse the students. Protestors were beaten and shots were fired, though it is not clear if the police fired into the crowd or into the air. At least 20 students were hospitalised. Numerous arrests were made following the protest.

Given the continued blocking of communication channels by the authorities, further details of the imprisoned students and their trial are not yet known. The condition and whereabouts of others detained following the protest is also not known.

Further reading: TCHRD I RFA I Phayul

Four jailed for sending news about self-immolations in Malho
A Chinese court has sentenced four Tibetans to prison for up to six years for distributing information and photographs of self-immolation protests. The four were charged with inciting separatism.

A report of the sentencing was published by the state-run Qinghai Daily News on 12 April, however the exact date of the sentencing is not known. The trial was conducted by the Malho Intermediate Peoples Court in Malho (Ch: Huangnan) prefecture, Amdo (now part of China's Qinghai province).

According to Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the news report said Choepa Gyal was sentenced to six years in prison with an additional three years deprivation of political rights for distributing photographs and information related to Tibetan 'separatism' and discussing 'separatist-related' subjects via the internet.

Namkha Jam received a six-year prison sentence and a further two-year deprivation of political rights for taking photographs of self-immolators and sending them to Tibetan 'separatist' organisations inside and outside Tibet.

Chagthar was sentenced to four years imprisonment and two additional years deprivation of political rights. Chagthar was accused of sending photographs and text messages regarding three self-immolations.

The fourth Tibetan, Gonbey, was given a three-year sentence and one year deprivation of political rights for distributing photographs and 'separatist' information.

Due to the blocking of communication channels to Tibetan regions by the Chinese government, further details about the four Tibetans or their court case are not known.

Further reading: TCHRD I RFA I Phayul

Protest over house demolitions leads to injuries and detentions
On 9 April, Chinese security forces clashed with Tibetan protestors in Jyekundo (Ch: Yushu), Kham (now part of Chinas Qinghai province) over the forced demolition of Tibetan homes. At least six were injured in the clashes and 21 detained following the protest.

Tibetan homes in JyekundoThe protest, by over 100 local Tibetans, called for the Chinese authorities to stop the demolition of Tibetan homes that had been rebuilt (such as those pictured right from 2012) following the April 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of Jyekundo.

According to sources cited by Radio Free Asia, the Chinese authorities claimed the occupants were not officially registered to live in the town. However, local sources say that many of the houses were rebuilt by Tibetans on they already owned and with their own resources. It is believed about 1,000 Tibetans houses in Jyekundo have already been forcibly demolished.

Voice of America reported the Chinese authorities are threatening to forcibly evict a further 600 people, mostly Tibetans, to rebuild an area as part of government plans to promote Jyekundo as an "ecological tourism centre".

Since the 2010 earthquake, which killed over 2,600 and left tens of thousands homeless, there has been a series of protests by Tibetans in Jyekundo over the Chinese government's land confiscation policies. These also include two self-immolations by Tibetan women: Dickyi Choezom in June 2012 and a yet unidentified female at the end of March 2013.

The whereabouts and condition of those detained following the 9 April protest is not known.

Further reading: RFA I VOA I Phayul

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