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    » 11/05/2008, 00.00

    TIBET - CHINA

    Beijing continues arrests and sentencings, Tibetans seek new means of struggle



    The authorities acknowledge that 55 sentences have been handed down for the protests in March, and more than 200 people are still in jail, but they do not say what will happen to them. Meanwhile, the arbitrary arrests of monks continue. In mid-November, Tibetan leaders in exile meet in India, to discuss new political leadership and new action.

    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - China continues handing out sentences in closed-door trials, together with arrests and restrictions against the Tibetans; meanwhile, hundreds of Tibetan leaders in exile have decided to meet from November 17-22 in northern India. They intend to discuss a new approach to China, and many are critical toward the Dalai Lama as well, after his approach of nonviolent protest has produced no results. They do not contest his spiritual leadership, but they propose identifying a new political leader.

    Baema Cewang, vice president of the Chinese government in Tibet, has revealed that 55 Tibetans have so far been sentenced over the protests last March in Lhasa. According to Cewang, the police arrested 1,317 people at the time, of whom 1,115 have been released, and the others put on trial. There is no word on the charges, proposed punishments, or fate of 147 more who have not yet been sentenced. This is the first official admission since last April, when sentences of three years in the labor camps were announced for 30 people charged over the March protests, followed by 14 more people in October. In recent months, pro-Tibet groups have announced more sentences, which have not been confirmed by Beijing.

    On March 10 in Tibet, the police and army confronted the monks who were peacefully demonstrating to commemorate the victims of Chinese repression in 1959. In the following days in Lhasa, thousands of people took to the streets, and there were clashes with the army, which conducted a bloody crackdown on the protests, with dozens dead and thousands arrested. According to Tibetan groups in exile, more than 1,000 Tibetans are still in jail, and the whereabouts of many of these are unknown. Beijing has always spoken of about 20 deaths, including many ethnic Han Chinese.

    These events raised protests all over the world, especially on the occasion of the journey of the Olympic torch. These worldwide protests "forced" Beijing to open talks with a representative of the Dalai Lama. In recent days, the Dalai Lama has described these talks as "a failure," claiming that Beijing does not intend to discuss any concession of greater autonomy for the region, but is carrying out "increasing repression" against the monks and anyone who opposes the government.

    Yesterday, the monk Jigme (in the photo) was arrested, who in recent months had spread the news on the police violence in March and afterward. More than 70 policemen surrounded and then burst into the monastery of Labrang, where the "dangerous criminal" was. The charge against him is unknown.

    Last August, in a video posted on YouTube, Jigme described how he was taken away by the police without cause, detained for two months without charges, subjected to continual interrogation and abuse, beaten until he was unconscious, and hospitalized two times. After this he went into hiding, constantly moving around the boundless high plains of Tibet. According to acquaintances, he decided to return to the monastery after the police visited his family and assured them that he would not be arrested if he stayed in the monastery. With winter approaching winter, Jigme decided to trust the Chinese authorities.

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    See also

    22/04/2008 INDIA - TIBET - CHINA
    Tibetan prime minister: China has made Tibet a trap to destroy us
    Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, analyses for AsiaNews the provocations of the Chinese government and the smear campaign against the Dalai Lama, intended to weaken even further the condition of the Tibetan population. An appeal to the international community: Beijing has been ignoring you for 30 years; do something before Tibet is destroyed.

    26/02/2009 TIBET - CHINA
    Stores open for New Year's in protest of Chinese authorities
    Tibet's biggest holiday has been observed just like any other day, in order to commemorate the Chinese repression and the many killed in 2008. The authorities are taking great pains to demonstrate that everyone is happy and celebrating, and the television is showing dances and banquets, but not the ranks of soldiers.

    09/12/2008 CHINA - TIBET - UE
    Beijing asks Sarkozy government to "take effective steps to mend its errors"
    Extremely harsh reaction to meeting with Dalai Lama. China is threatening to make France pay a "heavy price." Tibetan leader in exile: China must overcome "two moral obstacles" to become a genuine superpower.

    03/07/2008 CHINA - TIBET
    Dalai Lama envoys leave Beijing at end of talks
    Nothing revealed about outcome. China had re-opened negotiations to avoid a boycott of the Olympics. But the secretary of the Communist Party in Tibet continues his campaign of accusations against the “Dalai Lama’s clique”.

    30/10/2008 CHINA - TIBET
    China-Tibet dialogue, Dalai Lama skeptical
    Meetings resume in Beijing with representatives of the Tibetan leader in exile. But he has declared that he has no faith in the Chinese government. The British foreign minister urges China to begin fruitful dialogue, and recalls the detainees of the revolt, and the lack of free access to Tibet for diplomats and journalists. A meeting to discuss Tibetan strategy in November.



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