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China May Execute Tibetan Monk


China is suggesting it will go ahead with plans to execute Tibetan monk Tensin Deleg Rinpoche - convicted of a fatal bombing in 2002. The action would be despite protests from the United States and from the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

Tensin Deleg Rinpoche was one of two Tibetans sentenced to death for their alleged roles in a 2002 bombing in the Chinese city of Chengdu in which one person was killed and another injured. After a flurry of international protests, his sentence was suspended for two years. That suspension expired on Thursday.

Both men denied having any role in the attack. Lobsang Dhondup, the other man who was convicted of the bombing, was executed in 2003.

The United States and international human rights organizations have expressed concern about China's handling of Tensin Deleg's case, saying his trial and sentencing were not carried out in a transparent manner.

At a regular briefing Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue defended the decision to execute the monk.

Ms. Zhang says the Chinese Ministry of Justice has reviewed the case of Tensin Deleg. She says that in any country, criminals who jeopardize national security and engage in terrorist activities will be punished according to the law.

A U.S. embassy spokeswoman says the United States remains concerned that, among other problems, the Supreme People's Court never reviewed the case, as required by Chinese law.

A number of U.S. diplomats, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, have brought Tensin Deleg's case in recent meetings with Chinese officials.

Speaking from India where he has been exiled for decades, the Dalai Lama called on Chinese authorities to reconsider their decision to execute the monk. Considering the politically sensitive matter of Tibet, China has sometimes commuted death sentences of Tibetans and the spiritual leader said he hoped Beijing would do the same in this case.

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