UNPO Condemns Lack of Free Speech In Tibet
UNPO[Thursday, November 22, 2007 18:12]
The Tibetan males, Ronggye A’drak, A’druk Lopoe, Jacmyang Goinqen (a.k.a. Kunkhen) and Lothok were respectively sentenced to eight, ten, nine and three years imprisonment on various charges leveled against them by the Chinese authorities.

Mr. Ronggye A’drak had already been indicted by the Kardze Intermediate People's Court on 29 October 2007 on four counts of “crimes” ranging from disruption of law and order to state subversion. A 52-year-old father of 11, he was arrested after a peaceful solo demonstration on 1 August 2007 at the annual Lithang horse race festival in Kardze, Sichuan province, in which he had called for religious freedom, a visit to Tibet by the Dalai Lama, release of the Panchen Lama and Tibetan independence.

Mr. A’druk Lopoe, a 45-year-old Buddhist monk from the Lithang monastery is a nephew of Mr. A’drak. Actively engaged in the fight against deforestation, he is well-known in the region. Following Mr. A’drak’s arrest, he led the call for his release. He received the heaviest sentence for “colluding with foreign separatist force to split the country and distributing political pamphlets”.

Mr. Jacmyang Goinqen, also known as Kunkhen, a Tibetan artist, had been arrested on 22 August 2007 by officials of the Lithang County Public Security Bureau for motives which the authorities failed to clarify. He was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment on charges of “carrying out splittist activities”.

Mr. Lothok, a 30-year-old Tibetan nomad and father of five, was sentenced to three years imprisonment. He had been detained since 19 August 2007, after having been arrested in a guesthouse in Chengdu.

UNPO strongly condemns these judgments announced on the four innocent Tibetans as they contradict with the principle of freedom of expression, a fundamental freedom enshrined in international human rights instruments as well as in the Chinese constitution (Article 35).

UNPO joins others in denouncing these arrests and calls upon to the Chinese authorities to immediately release Ronggye A’drak, A’druk Lopoe, Jacmyang Goinqen and Lothok. For UNPO General Secretary Marino Busdachin, “these judgements are a sad reminder that China's commitments to human rights have yet to be translated into practice, thus inflicting great damage to not only the lives of these innocent citizens, but also to China's credibility on the international stage.”