By Kalsang Rinchen
This photo obtained June 18, 2010 by The Associated Press shows Rinchen Samdrup in Lhasa in western China's Tibet region. Samdrup and his brother Chime Namgyal were detained in August 2009 after accusing local officials in eastern Tibet of poaching endangered animals. Chime is serving 21 months of re-education through labor for 'harming national security.' (AP Photo)
Dharamsala, July 3 – China today sentenced brother of recently jailed Tibetan environmentalist Karma Samdrup to five years in prison and three years’ deprivation of political rights for “inciting to split the country”.
Rinchen Samdrup ran an environmental NGO in mountainous Gonjo county, in the Tibet Autonomous Region near Sichuan Province. His NGO mobilized about 1,700 local villagers into reforestation drive and anti – poaching.
His lawyer told Reuters
that he was accused of posting a pro-Dalai Lama article on his website. He has 10 days to appeal the sentence.
On June 24, his brother Karma Samdrup, a wealthy businessman and an environmentalist was sentenced to 15 years on charges of excavating and robbing ancient tombs, a charge which had already been dropped more than a decade ago.
Rinchen Samdup and Chime Namgyal, both environmentalists and brothers of Karma Samdrup, had publicly denounced Chinese officers for poaching endangered Tibetan species in their native Chamdo. Chime Namyal is currently serving 21 months of reeducation through labor.
However, exile Tibetans and supporters say Rinchen has been framed on false charges of “illegally compiling three discs of audio-visual materials on the ecology, environment, natural resources and religion of Chamdo Prefecture, illegally possessing reactionary propaganda materials from the Dalai clique abroad and supplying photographs and material for the illegal publication 'Forbidden Mountain, Prohibited Hunting.'"
Rinchen Samdrup was praised in an article published on China’s ministry of environment website for being a "protector of the environment" who "exudes the pure tranquility of an intellectual."
Rinchen received an award from the Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environment Protection Grants (China) in 2006 as well as an award from Jet Li's One World Foundation.