Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

Tamdring Tsering

Tashi Phuntsok

Tserang Dondrup

Tsultrim Dargye

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Free Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and the Lithang Detainees!


Zhang Fusen
Minister of Justice
Via fax 86-10-292345

Dear Minister Zhang,

I am deeply shocked and dismayed at your government's execution of Lobsang Dhondup (Ch: Luo Rang Deng Zhu), the death sentence passed down to Tenzin Delek Rinpoche (Ch: A An Zha Xi), and the arrests, detentions, and mistreatment of at least 12 other Tibetans in connection with this case.

China has flouted international political and public opinion in its treatment of these individuals, and has violated its own criminal laws and constitution. Both the US government and the President of the European Union expressed strong concern to your government about this case. The resulting assurances provided by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), including the claim that this case would reach the Supreme People's Court, have proven completely unreliable.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup were arrested in April 2002. On December 2, 2002, they were found guilty by the Kardze Intermediate People's Court of "inciting separatism, committing crimes of explosions, and illegal possession of guns and ammunition" for alleged involvement in a series of bombings in and around Chengdu. These charges were upheld at their January 26, 2003 appeal hearing before the Sichuan Higher People's Court. It is a great and tragic shame on your government that Lobsang Dhondup was executed that same day. Furthermore, it is clear that both men were denied representation by independent lawyers, and it is widely believed Lobsang Dhondup's 'confession,' later retracted, was obtained through torture. The fact that his body was not returned to his family raises further questions about torture and how exactly Lobsang died. Meanwhile, a crackdown has ensued in the Lithang area of eastern Tibet (Ch: Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province), and at least four Tibetans remain imprisoned, detained, or missing in connection with this case. They include: Tashi Phuntsok, Choetsom, and Passang, monks from one of Tenzin Delek's monasteries; and Tabo, a businessman from the Lithang area.

It is reported that torture and mistreatment have been widespread in connection with this case, and I am gravely concerned about the health of all men detained.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which China is a signatory, individuals have the right to a fair and impartial trial, open to the public, with all guarantees necessary for their defense. They are not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. They have the right to freedom of speech and to practice their religion of choice. None of these rights have been upheld in this case. I therefore call on you to:

1) Ensure that your government immediately and unconditionally release Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Tashi Phuntsok, Choetsom, Passang, Tabo and any other individuals who may be detained in relation to this case;

2) Hold an inquiry into the execution of Lobsang Dhondup, beginning with the release of all court documents of the first trial of Lobsang Dhondup and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, and all subsequent hearings, unabridged; and

3) Enter into negotiations without preconditions with the Tibetan Government-in-Exile to reach a peaceful solution to the issue of Tibet.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.


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