China has jailed four Tibetans from three to 10 years on charges ranging from spying for foreign organizations to seeking independence for their homeland.

The official news agency, Xinhua, reports that three of the Tibetans were found guilty of spying and providing intelligence through photographs and discs to unnamed overseas organizations. Two were also charged with writing and distributing flyers that promoted Tibet's independence. One was sentenced after publicly voicing support for the Dalai Lama.

Xinhua says the four will be deprived of political rights for several years after their release. Those restrictions could affect their ability to travel and limit their circle of friends and associates.

The India-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy issued a statement expressing its "shock and condemnation" over the swift and extremely harsh sentences for the four men.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet for India in 1959. China accuses him of seeking independence for his homeland - a charge he repeatedly denies.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, after sending in troops a year earlier.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.