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China Executes Tibetan for Bomb Attacks - 2003-01-27


China executes a Tibetan for bomb attacks it says were meant to promote Tibetan independence. Human rights groups question the fairness of his trial and that of another Tibetan sentenced to death.

Officials in China's southwestern province of Sichuan say Lobsang Dhondup was executed on Sunday, immediately after a court upheld his original death sentence.

The court also rejected the appeal of a suspended death sentence by Tibetan Buddhist leader Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche. In China, such sentences are likely to be commuted to life imprisonment.

The two Tibetans were tried on charges of promoting independence for Tibet and setting off several bombs in Sichuan Province that killed one person and injured others. The bomb attacks took place over the past two years. Sichuan lies west of Tibet and is heavily populated with ethnic Tibetans.

The death sentences provoked an outcry from human rights groups and the international community.

Bruce Van Voorhis, a spokesman for the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong, wonders about the speed with which the death sentence was carried out and the fairness of the trials of both men. "As soon as the verdict has been given, often times prisoners are taken to the execution field, and sometimes it's a public execution, and people are executed almost immediately… Especially in political cases like this one apparently is, there are very serious concerns about whether the person received a fair trial or not," he said.

A senior U.S. human rights envoy also raised the case of the two Tibetans during talks with officials in Beijing last month, but China rejected his call for clemency.

Since the mid-1990s, a number of militants opposed to Chinese Communist rule have carried out bombings in Tibet and nearby areas.

Chinese troops have sought to quell religious and political uprisings in Tibet by imposing an often-brutal rule, which began when troops from communist China marched into the region in 1950.

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