Language rights activist tried, verdict delayed
[Thursday, January 04, 2018 18:16]
By Tenzin Monlam

Relatives of Tashi Wangchuk waiting outside Yushu Intermediate People's Court in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province on January 4, 2018. Photo-NYT
Relatives of Tashi Wangchuk waiting outside Yushu Intermediate People's Court in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province on January 4, 2018. Photo-NYT
DHARAMSHALA, January 4: The trial of Tibetan educational rights activist Tashi Wangchuk today ended without a verdict at Yushu Intermediate People's Court in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, the activist’s lawyer Liang Xiaojun said. “The trail conducted in Chinese went for four hours from 9:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m (local time) without reaching a verdict. The judgment will be made at an unspecified date,” Xiaojun tweeted.

The lawyer also added that the Chinese prosecutor produced the 9-minute New York Time’s video reportage, ‘A Tibetan’s Journey for Justice’ as the main evidence of him ‘inciting separatism’.

As per the official court document, Tashi is being charged under the second clause of Article 103 of Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China, which reads ‘whoever organizes, plots, or acts to split the country or undermine national unification, the ringleader, or the one whose crime is grave, is to be sentenced to life imprisonment or not less than ten years of fixed-term imprisonment’.

The document further stated that through the video reportage he was ‘also creating unrest in the society and inciting disharmony among communities, undermining the ethnic minority policies, attacking the Chinese constitution and fabricating the essence of self-immolations happening for the past few years.’

The Central Tibetan Administration and rights group maintain that he was tried for pursuing a right, bi-lingual education for Tibetans and ethnic minorities, guaranteed by the Chinese constitution. “His trial and sentencing will determine largely whether the Chinese Government is committed to upholding the internationally recognized laws and domestically accepted rule of law in China,” said President Dr. Lobsang Sangay.

Amnesty International said that the trial today of a Tibetan language education activist has ‘exposed how ludicrously unjust the case against him is’.

PEN America had said that charges against him is an ‘outrageous attempt’ to treat ‘peaceful advocacy for linguistic and cultural rights as a dangerous crime’.

The 32-year-old education rights activist was arrested on January 27, 2016 and charged with ‘inciting separatism’ on March 24, 2016, following a New York Times reportage about him pursuing legal resorts to claim rights prescribed in the Chinese Constitution. He has been held in Yushu Detention Centre in Kyegudo since his arrest.

Tashi Wangchuk had earlier been detained twice for his attempt to go to India on a pilgrimage in 2012 and for posting comments condemning the authorities in a land grab case.

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