Mianyang (AsiaNews) – About a hundred Tibetans gathered Tuesday outside Mianyang jail, in Sichuan, to demand the release of the body of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a Tibetan monk who died last Sunday whilst serving a life sentence following a procedurally flawed trial.
On Monday, Chinese police fired live rounds and tear gas to disperse a crowd of over a thousand who had gathered outside government offices in Nyagchuka.
“About a hundred have now arrived at the prison site where Rinpoche died, though it is difficult to give an exact figure,” Jamyang Nyendrak, a Tibetan living in exile in Europe, told Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan Service on Tuesday.
Nine, including two sisters of the dead monk already present in Chengdu, travelled from Lithang (in Chinese, Litang) county in Sichuan’s Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
Some monks and nuns arrived from the monastery where the monk worked (before his arrest), in Yajiang County. "Many left for Chengdu secretly on their own," Nyendrak explained.
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche had been suffering from heart problems for some time, which, according to human rights groups, were never properly treated by prison authorities. After his death, the body was not returned to the family.
He had been sentenced to death in December 2002 along with 28-year-old activist Lobsang Dhondup for a bomb attack in Chengdu in April of that year that killed one person and wounded a second.
Chinese officials always refused to hold an open trial (in violation of Chinese law) or release the verdict or indictment.
On Tuesday, about 50 protesters gathered at the Chinese consulate in New York, briefly shutting it down, said New York-based human rights activist Rose Tang. Another 40 protested outside the Chinese consulate in San Francisco.
Speaking at the hearing called by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Watch China director Sophie Richardson urged the US government to “speak more clearly and impose a price, and articulate what that price will be to the Chinese government when it does things like refuse to return the body of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche to his family and community.”
A scheduled meeting between the United States with China on counterterrorism should now be cancelled, Ms Richardson said. “To have a counterterrorism dialogue with a government that prosecuted Tenzin Delek Rinpoche on charges of terrorism is appalling,” she argued.