January 27, 2003
H.E. Kofi Annan
Secretary General of the United Nations
The United Nations
Following up on my appeal to Your Excellency on December 10, 2002 regarding the unfair trials and denial of legal due process to Tulku Tenzin Delek, a prominent Tibetan spiritual leader and Lobsang Dhondup, I am updating you on the grave turn of events on January 26, 2003. CNN reported a court official as saying, “There’s a public notice outside the court house. The execution was carried out on January 26.” BBC, AFP and AP reported similarly.
After a sham re-trial in which the services of two accomplished Chinese lawyers were denied to the Tulku, the Sichuan People’s Higher Court upheld the death sentences passed by the Karze People’s Intermediate Court in the first trial and executed Lobsang Dhondup. The legal process that upheld their sentences was not transparent and fair. In a taped message recorded January 18 at his cell in Dartsedo for Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan Service, Tulku Tenzin Delek insisted, “Whatever [the authorities] do and say, I am completely innocent. I have always urged people to be kindhearted and caring towards others. Everybody knows what I say and practice…I want peace in the whole world.” The Tulku continued, “I have always said we should not even raise our hands at others. It is sinful…I have neither distributed letters or pamphlets nor planted bombs secretly. I have never even thought of such things, and I have no intention to hurt others. Those who are unbiased should investigate my case thoroughly.”
The execution of Lobsang Dhondup is most unfortunate. It may radicalize the Tibetan struggle, with ramifications for the Tibetans, China, Asia and the world. It is very important that Tulku Tenzin Delek and others both accounted for and missing, should not suffer the same fate. The timing of the execution suggests that China is taking advantage of the media spotlight on Iraq.
I appeal to Your Excellency, yet once again, to pressure Beijing to overturn the death sentence on Tulku Tenzin Delek and account for his associates who have disappeared. The patience and peaceful nature of the Tibetan people’s struggle for freedom and human dignity is being stretched to its limits. I hope you have the courage to hold China accountable to global standards of human rights and legal jurisprudence. Please speak up for justice and human rights. Save Tulku Tenzin Delek and other Tibetans.
With highest esteem and deepest appreciation,
Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas