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ACTION: Medical Parole for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche PDF Print E-mail
[UPDATED 9 June 2015] Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a highly revered Tibetan Buddhist leader, is serving a life sentence on false charges of causing explosions. The only evidence presented at his trial was extracted by torture and he has consistently maintained his innocence.


Sadly, it was announced on 12 July 2015 that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died in prison. The Chinese authorities have refused to disclose any details on his death. On 17 July, the Chinese authorities cremated Tenzin Delek's body against his families wishes. Please take the updated action - call on China to launch an investigation into the death of Tenzin Delek and make the findings public. Also call on the UK government to make a strong statement condemning the death. Click here to take the updated action.


Tenzin Delek Rinpoche has been in prison for over 13 years and is now in very poor health, suffering from a serious heart condition and high blood pressure. An official application for medical parole was made by Tenzin Deleks family in 2014, however they have yet to receive a response.


Sign the petition calling on China to grant Tenzin Delek Rinpoche medical parole.


Take Action  I  Background  I  Links

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche"I have done nothing against the law. I am wrongly accused. To prove my innocence I appeal to all for your support."
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche (date unknown)


I am not responsible for these explosions or any other illegal actions, they have pinned this on me, I have always taught people that one should not harm any life, not even that of an ant, how could I then possibly be responsible for such an action?
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche (2009)



TAKE ACTION

1. Sign the international petition
2. Write to your MP
3. Write to the Chinese Ambassador
4. Download leaflet and distribute


1. Sign the international petition calling for medical parole
Click here to sign the petition. Then help spread the message via social media.

Suggested text for Twitter:
#FreeTenzinDelek. Call on #China to grant medical parole for falsely imprisoned #Tibetan lama. Sign petition http://bit.ly/FreeTenzin_TibetSoc

Suggested text for facebook: Sign the petition calling on China to grant medical parole for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who is serving a life sentence on false charges and is seriously ill. http://bit.ly/FreeTenzin_TibetSoc

Petition link: https://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1762&ea.campaign.id=39400
Short link:
http://bit.ly/FreeTenzin_TibetSoc


2. Write to your MP
Ask your MP to request the Foreign Secretary to urgently call on the Chinese government to grant medical parole for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.
► In particular, note that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is in serious ill health, suffering from a heart condition and high blood pressure, that he is eligible for medical parole under Chinese law, and that his family made an official application in 2014 to which they have received no reply.
► Also, China should be called upon to provide Tenzin Delek Rinpoche with any required medical treatment and allow regular visits from his family until he is released.

In the UK: go to www.writetothem.com to find your MPs contact details.

Outside the UK: write to your parliamentarian and ask them to raise Tenzin Delek's case with your Foreign Ministry.

3. Write to the Chinese Ambassador in your country
Call on the Chinese government to:
► Provide assurances that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is not ill-treated whilst in prison, given any required medical treatment and medication and allowed regular visits by his family.
Release Tenzin Delek Rinpoche immediately on medical parole, given his ill-health. Note that he is eligible for medical parole under Chinese law, and that his family made an official application in 2014 to which they have received no reply.


Chinese Ambassador to the UK
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming
Chinese Embassy
49-51 Portland Place
London W1B 1JL.
Email:
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Salutation: Your Excellency

Outside the UK: check the
Chinese government's webpage listing embassies for contact details of your nearest ambassador and embassy.

Note: The Chinese government occasionally disables email addresses (so your email is returned). If that happens please try
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it and/or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . If these fail please send a letter.

If you receive a reply to your email or letter, please send a copy to Tibet Society, as this helps us to monitor the situation.
Click here for Tibet Society contact details.
TDR leaflet
4. Download leaflet and distribute
Download and distribute our Tenzin Delek Rinpoche leaflet with background info and action points. (Last updated October 2014.)


Background
(updated June 2015)
i. Case Summary
ii. Before his arrest
iii. Arrest, trial and sentence
iv. "I am completely innocent"
v. Protests inside Tibet for Rinpoche's release

vi. Concerns for Rinpoches health
vii. Medical parole


i. Case Summary
Tenzin Delek RinpocheTenzin Delek Rinpoche, a highly revered Tibetan Buddhist lama and community leader from Lithang, eastern Tibet, is serving a life sentence in a Sichuan prison for allegedly "conspiring to cause explosions".

Along with one of his students, Lobsang Dhondup, Tenzin Delek was sentenced to death in 2002 in a closed trial that failed to meet even the most minimal international legal standards. No credible evidence has ever been found linking him to this crime. Following an international campaign on his behalf, Tenzin Delek's death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2005.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, now 65, is in very poor health, with a heart condition, high blood pressure, and other medical issues. He is eligible for medical parole under Chinese law.

ii. Before his arrest
As well as his religious role, Tenzin Delek worked on numerous social, medical and educational projects, including helping to build an old peoples home, opening a school for orphaned children and setting up a number of religious institutions. He also campaigned for the protection of Tibets fragile environment and worked to stop indiscriminate logging and mining activities.

Tenzin Delek first came under close Chinese government scrutiny after returning from religious studies in exile in India in the 1980s, where the Dalai Lama recognised him as a reincarnated lama and gave him the name Tenzin Delek (note: Rinpoche is a term of respect given to senior monks).

As Tenzin Delek became a popular community leader, both amongst Tibetans and Chinese, the authorities viewed him as a threat to their control in the region and he became a target of increasing harassment and intimidation.

iii. Arrest, trial and sentence
TEnzin Delek RinpocheOn 3 April 2002, following a bomb blast in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan province, Lobsang Dhondup (aka Lobsang Dondrub, a distant relative of Tenzin Delek) was arrested. Tenzin Delek and some of his close associates were detained four days later.

On 29 November 2002, after a three-day closed trial, during which Lobsang Dhondup was portrayed as the bomber and Tenzin Delek as the conspirator, both men were found guilty of "conspiring to cause explosions". On 2 December 2002, they were sentenced to death, with Tenzin Delek Rinpoche receiving a two-year reprieve.

Throughout their detention and during the trial, both Tenzin Delek and Lobsang Dhondup were denied access to independent legal counsel and subjected to coercive methods of interrogation including beatings and torture. During the trial Tenzin Delek stated he had been tortured and shouted out his support for the Dalai Lama. During his sentencing, he declared the trial unfair, rejected all of the charges against him and proclaimed his innocence before being removed from the court.

The main evidence presented against Tenzin Delek was a confession from Lobsang Dhondup, which Lobsang later retracted claiming he had been tortured.
[Note: In November 2013, the Chinese Supreme Court called for the exclusion of evidence obtained by torture (see BBC & Human Rights Watch reports).]

The only other evidence put forward was the presence of political leaflets at the scene of the bombing; the authorities claimed these were produced by Tenzin Delek and distributed by Lobsang Dhondup. However, no specific evidence was provided actually linking either man to the leaflets. Tenzin Delek denied producing any such leaflets.
 
Following international outcry over this case, the Chinese authorities gave assurances that both Lobsang and Tenzin Delek would receive a retrial. However, at the appeal hearing on 26 January 2003, the Sichuan Higher Peoples Court upheld Lobsang Dhondhups death sentence and he was executed on the same day. The court also confirmed the suspension of Tenzin Delek Rinpoches death sentence for two years.

The immediate execution of Lobsang Dhondhup and the confirmation of Tenzin Delek's suspended death sentence shocked the international community. Following a world-wide campaign calling for clemency, the Chinese authorities, at the end of the suspension on 26 January 2005, commuted Tenzin Delek Rinpoches death sentence to life imprisonment.


iv. "I am completely innocent"
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche has consistently protested his innocence since his arrest and continues to appeal to have his name cleared in a court of law.

Whilst waiting for the appeal hearing in 2003, he said, "I am completely innocent... I have always said we should not raise our hand at others. It is sinful... I have neither distributed letters or pamphlets nor planted bombs secretly. I have never even thought of such things, and I have no intention to hurt others."


v. Protests inside Tibet for Rinpoche's release
Since Tenzin Delek's arrest there have been numerous protests by members of his community in Lithang, calling for his release.

For example, on 1 August 2007,
Runggye Adak stood up on stage at the annual Lithang horse festival and called for the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, the Panchen Lama and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. He was promptly arrested by Chinese security personnel. He was sentenced to eight years in prison for provocation to subvert state power.

In December 2009, local Tibetans gathered in town centres in the Lithang area to appeal for Tenzin Delek's release. The protests were timed to coincide with the attempted delivery of a petition by Tenzin Delek's family to the Chinese central government in Beijing. In a remarkable act of support, 40,000 Tibetans in his community signed petitions - many signatures being in the form of thumbprints - demanding justice for their leader.

Prayer gathering in Golog Oct 2014On 12 October 2014, Tibetans gathered in Golok, Lithang county for a prayer ceremony (pictured right) to call for Tenzin Delek's release. According to
Radio Free Asia, the crowd, described as "large", gathered at local stupas and raised two large posters, one of the Dalai Lama and the other of Tenzin Delek. Speakers blamed government officials for Rinpoche's imprisonment, including former Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang, who is currently under investigation for corruption. Local authorities are said to have not intervened in the prayer ceremony.


vi. Concerns for Rinpoches health
Tenzin Delek has been suffering from poor health since his arrest, which will have been exacerbated by the torture and beatings he has received.  In April 2014, it was reported that Tenzin Delek was in very ill-health and has not been receiving medication or allowed proper medical treatment.

He is understood to be currently suffering from a serious heart condition and high blood pressure. He has also suffered from dizzy spells and had problems with his feet which caused him to fall on a number of occasions and required him to start using a walking stick.

During a rare visit to see Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, his family spoke to a doctor who told them that he believed Tenzin Delek Rinpoche needs surgery for his heart condition.


vii. Medical parole
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is eligible for medical parole under Chinese law, being chronically unwell and having served at least seven years of his sentence. An official application for medical parole was made by Tenzin Deleks family in 2014. To date, his family have not heard from the authorities about this legitimate application. They have also not been granted visitation rights since making the application.


Further information
Free Tibetan Heroes: Tenzin Delek Rinpoche profile (site run by International Tibet Network, of which Tibert Society is a member)
TCHRD: 12 Years Too Many: Release Tenzin Delek Rinpoche (April 2014)
Human Rights Watch: Report: Trials of a Tibetan Monk (February 2004)


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