News / Asia

    Tibetan Spiritual, Political Leaders Condemn China Death Sentence

    Members of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress participate in a protest against the alleged human rights violations by the Chinese authorities in Tibet, in Hyderabad, India, January 10, 2013.Members of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress participate in a protest against the alleged human rights violations by the Chinese authorities in Tibet, in Hyderabad, India, January 10, 2013.
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    Members of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress participate in a protest against the alleged human rights violations by the Chinese authorities in Tibet, in Hyderabad, India, January 10, 2013.
    Members of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress participate in a protest against the alleged human rights violations by the Chinese authorities in Tibet, in Hyderabad, India, January 10, 2013.
    Ivan Broadhead
    The head of the Tibetan monastery that saw one its monks sentenced to death Thursday for inciting self-immolation has condemned the Chinese justice system. The head of the monastery implored Beijing to be more liberal in its treatment of Tibetan dissidents.  
        
    Lorang Konchok, a monk at the Kirti Monastery in Aba county, Sichuan province, was one of eight activists to be prosecuted in a Chinese court. He was condemned to death with a two-year suspension - a sentence that usually is commuted to life imprisonment.   

    The Kirti Monastery has emerged as a hub for protests against Chinese rule of Tibet. Since 2009, almost 100 Tibetans have self-immolated.

    Focus on Kirti Monastery

    Between 15 and 30 are believed to be members of the monastery, which remains under tight control by Chinese security forces.

    The 11th Kirti Rinpoche, the head of the monastery, has been living in exile in India for over 50 years. He told VOA the situation is increasingly serious.

    “We are facing the virtual extermination of the Tibetan people and nation. It is the opposite of what China claims Tibet to be; namely a socialist paradise.

    “These immolations… are the result of individual and voluntary action. I would appeal to the Chinese government to be liberal to the Tibetan people,” he said.

    The elderly lama is participating in a four-day peace camp in the Indian capital, New Delhi, where more than 6,000 Tibetans from the Diaspora have gathered.  

    Human rights issues

    Asked whether he would condone self-immolation or reject it outright, Kirti Rinpoche responded with the following:

    “I am in no position to communicate or advise Tibetans inside Tibet. But to Tibetans living in the Free World, I would advise that there are other ways to vent your feelings and express protest.”

    As the New Delhi peace camp entered day three Friday, men and women in the large crowd wept as Tibetan children performed a play depicting Chinese human rights abuses.

    Lobsang Dawa, a 17-year-old performer, described the impetus for the play, including arbitrary arrest, torture and mass Han immigration.

    Ten years ago, Dawa’s mother had carried her son across the Himalaya on her back to escape Chinese oppression in Tibet. The young man discussed his hopes for the future.

    “As Martin Luther King said, ‘I have a dream.’ We Tibetans also have a dream: that one day we return to Lhasa with the Dalai Lama,” said Dawa.

    Protests amid deep concerns

    Also at the interfaith protest was Lobsang Sangay, the Sikyong or prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile. Sangay was critical of the trial of Lorang Konchok and the seven other activists. He called the verdicts “unhelpful and unjust.”

    He rejected comments by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, that the Dalai Lama was behind the growing wave of self-immolations, before calling on China to allow the United Nations and international media to observe future trials of Tibetan dissidents.  
    “To review their policies and introduce reform is the solution, not introduce more hardline policies. Otherwise you enter a vicious cycle of repression, imprisonment and resentment. The cycle needs to end and the best way is to find a solution through peaceful means,” said Sangay.

    Next month marks the 54th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s escape from Lhasa, and the annual commemoration of anti-China protests across the Tibetan plateau in March 2008.

    Consensus in the Diaspora is that the death sentence faced by Konchok marks the beginning of a renewed Chinese crackdown on Tibetan dissent.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Kafka
    February 04, 2013 8:13 AM
    The Dalai Lama uses his religious aura to allow young people to play toward his political ambitions, which is inhumane and sacrilegious.

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    February 03, 2013 12:12 AM
    “I am in no position to communicate or advise Tibetans inside Tibet.“
    then how the hell you assert that China oppress Tibetans inside?

    If they were not brainwashed, then why most of self immolations came from the same monastery?

    Those inciters should immolate themselves!

    by: HaleW
    February 02, 2013 1:44 PM
    Talk about being contrary. A monk is sentenced to death for encouraging self immolation(aka death). All the government is doing is making the monk a martyr which will likely encourage more self immolations. Duh!
    In Response

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    February 03, 2013 12:18 AM
    you are wrong, China did it to prove those self immolations were incited by someone behind. Those teenage monks know nothing about oppression, but brainwashed.
    Ask yourself, why normal Tibetans dont do self immolation? Because they know their life are much better than at Dalai era.

    by: Anonymous
    February 02, 2013 11:50 AM
    concerned

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