ACTION: Tenzin Delek Rinpoche
[ONGOING] “I am not guilty, please appeal for justice for me … call all people together and do everything possible to help me overturn the verdict” Tenzin Delek Rinpoche


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Urgent Action
Update on Tenzin Delek Rinpoche
Background to Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's conviction
Support for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche in Tibet
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche in parliament


Tenzin 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, he was sentenced to death in 2002 in a closed door trial that failed to meet even the most minimal international legal standards and 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.

ImageUpdate: Now 59, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche has been reported to be in poor health for some years, this is thought to be primarily due to the torture he endured following his arrest in 2002 and subsequent prison conditions. Over recent months concerns about his health have deepened and current news suggests his condition has worsened considerably; he is suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease and problems with his legs. Although he is apparently receiving medical treatment, he has been denied the Tibetan medicine he requested.

His family are seriously concerned for him and are hoping the authorities will show clemency. A recent report indicates that his life sentence may have been reduced to a fixed term sentence of 20 years, which means there is a possibility of a reduction in the sentence, but this has not been confirmed.

To help his plight it is crucial that global concern for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche be highlighted during this key time to show he is still very much in people's minds and is a high profile political prisoner with international support that has urgent concern for his situation. Sign the online petition now.

Join the 40,000 Tibetans in Tibet and demand justice
On 16 June a worldwide petition, which currently has over 31,000 signatures, will be delivered to Chinese Embassies in London, Sydney, Tokyo, Delhi, Berlin, Paris, New York, Washington and Toronto.

The petition mirrors those distributed by Tibetans inside Tibet through remarkable acts of support and bravery that  demanded justice for their much loved leader. These have been signed by 40,000 Tibetans, many with their thumbprint. Be part of this worldwide action, help us reach 40,000 signatures by 16 June; add your ‘thumbprint’ now to the online petition to help free Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. Spread the word ... ask your friends and colleagues to sign, post this on Facebook and Twittter, help us show the brave Tibetans in Tibet who put their thumbprints on petitions that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is not forgotten and we want to see justice done.

Also on 16 June, in Dharamsala prayers will said for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche with members of the Lithang Community,  Tibet groups in many other countries will be faxing the petition to their Chinese Embassy and MPs will be raising Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's case in parliaments.

The  petition is addressed to Zhou Yongkang, the Party Secretary in Sichuan Province where Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is detained, who is also currently one of the highest ranking members of the Chinese Communist Party with authority for overseeing implementation of the law throughout the People’s Republic of China. It calls on him to immediately grant Tenzin Delek Rinpoche independent legal assistance and a new trial on the basis of three points:

Image that there is no proof against him
that he steadfastly asserts
his innocence

that there is a widespread belief in
Tibet and worldwide that he was framed
by Chinese officials who viewed his
influence as a threat to their power.


If, in a new trial, no credible evidence is presented against Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, the petition demands his release.


Excerpts from the petition have been published on Woeser’s blog, translated into English on High Peaks Pure Earth.
Hardcopies of the petitions are available to download and print out, please call Tibet Society on 020 7272 1414 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it to be sent or emailed a copy.

Background to Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's conviction on charges of conspiring to cause explosions
On 3 April 2002, following a bomb blast in Chengdu, provincial capital of Sichuan province, Lobsang Dhondup (a distant relative of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche) was arrested. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and some 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 Rinpoche as the conspirator, both Lobsang and Tenzin Delek 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 the proceedings neither man had access to independent legal counsel. It was reported that during the trial Tenzin Delek Rinpoche claimed he had been tortured; he also shouted out his support for the Dalai Lama.

The main evidence presented against Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was a confession from Lobsang Dhondup; Lobsang later retracted this statement claiming he had been tortured. It appears 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 Rinpoche and distributed by Lobsang Dhondup, however no specific evidence was provided that actually linked either man to these leaflets. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche has denied producing any such leaflets.
 
Following international outcry over this case, the Chinese authorities gave assurances that both Lobsang Dhondup and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche would receive a retrial. However, at the appeal hearing, on 26 January 2003, the Sichuan Higher People’s Court upheld Lobsang Dondhup’s death sentence and confirmed Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s two-year suspended death sentence. Lobsang Dhondup was executed the same day.

The immediate execution of Lobsang Dhondhup and the confirmation of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's suspended death sentence shocked the international community. Following this governments, MPs, Tibet groups and thousands of people worldwide worked tirelessly to advocate for clemency. On 26 January 2005, the Chinese authorities commuted Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death sentence to life imprisonment.

Whilst awaiting the appeal hearing in 2003, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche 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."
Further information on Tenzin Delek Rinpoche
Demonstrations in Lithang area and petition calls for release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche
In June 2009, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche told a community member who visited him in prison, “I am not guilty, please appeal for justice for me … call all people together and do everything possible to help me overturn the verdict”. 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.

In December 2009, members of Tenzin Delek's family attempted to deliver these petitions to the Chinese central government in Beijing. At the same time Tibetans in the Lithang area gathered in town centres to appeal for his release.

There were also local demonstrations on behalf of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, which were also based on concerns about his current frail health. Where these took place is not confirmed but was probably Nyagchuka (Jaijang) or Darcedo (Khanding). These actions resulted in around five people being arrested. On the 4th or 5th December, a subsequent demonstration seems to have taken place to protest against the arrests and a high number of security forces (police and military)stopped about 80 people on the road to Nyagchuka (Jaijang). It is said people were very nervous and did not want to go back their homes.

Recent information regarding Tenzin Delek Rinpoche indicates he has been transferred to Mianyang Prison in Mianyang, Sichuan province. It is not clear when the transfer took place. He was previously imprisoned in Chuandong prison.. It has also been reported that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is in ill-health, with high blood pressure and heart and leg problems. He is taking medication daily but has been denied Tibetan medicine, which he has requested. He suffered a lot of torture before his trial and even though he is no longer being tortured, he is now suffering from the poor conditions in prison.
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche in parliament
This EDM was tabled in the parliamentary session of 2009/10 before the General Election.
EDM 713  SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY OF DEATH SENTENCE FOR TENZIN DELEK
26.01.2010; Tabled by Baker, Norman
That this House notes that 26 January 2010 marks the seventh anniversary of the failed appeal by Tibetan Buddhist Lama, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, against the death sentence he received in December 2002 following a closed-door trial that failed to meet even the most minimal international legal standards; further notes Ministers' public statements voicing serious concerns that international fair trial standards were not met in recent trials in China and Tibet; calls on the Government to do more than voice concerns at this ongoing lack of observance by China's internationally accepted due legal processes and an individual's right to a fair trial; urges the Government to set out and implement policies that encourage the Chinese government to bring China's legal system in line with those that are internationally accepted and draw up benchmarks for tangible progress; further calls on the Government to appeal for clemency or a re-trial for Tenzin Delek, whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2005 but who is now suffering grave ill-health with high blood pressure, heart and leg problems; and further notes that over the summer of 2009, 40,000 Tibetans in Tenzin Delek's community in Lithang, Tibet, signed petitions asking for justice and a re-trial for Tenzin Delek.

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