The death sentences passed on two respected Tibetans, Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup on Dec 3, 2002 by a court in western China’s Sichuan province shocked the Tibetans all over and the international community. Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup were accused in a bomb blast incident on April 3, 2002 in the main square of Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan.
Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is a widely respected Buddhist teacher and is known for his good work and unflinching belief in non-violence.
A statement issued by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) reported that Rinpoche was taken into custody the night of April 7, 2002 along with three other students but no other information was forthcoming until the trial. Sichuan People’s Daily corroborated the TCHRD statement with a report on December 3, 2002. Reliable reports indicate that the trial was carried secretly and the available information regarding the trial proceedings was sketchy and contradictory.
Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) deeply regrets this sudden volte-face by the Chinese authorities. Just when there was seeming flexibility in Beijing’s stand vis-a-vis a possible dialogue with HH the Dalai Lama, China comes up with most extreme gestures as handing out death sentences to two Tibetans with any access to free, fair and independent trial.
The fate of Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup may be decided today, January 10. There are reliable reports indicate that both the defendants were tortured extensively while in custody and are reportedly in very poor health. On January 6, 2002, Chinese officials who flew in from Beijing and interrogated Rinpoche who apparently told them that since they were not interested in justice, he had nothing further to say to them and began a hunger strike at that time. Both men’s appeal hearings Both men’s appeal hearings are reportedly scheduled today. This may be our last chance to prevent the executions.
TWA request every Tibetans and Tibet supporters worldwide to pray for the release of two Tibetans and that justice prevails.
TWA further call on the Chinese authorities to repeal this horrendous verdict, resume the trial in an open and independent manner, put an immediate stop to further custodial torture, provide proper medical facilities and give them access to independent legal counsel and a fair appeal hearing.
We hope and believe that justice and truth will prevail and Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup will be released unconditionally.
Issued by Tibetan Women’s Association, Central Executive Committee, Dharamsala (HP) on January 10, 2003.