03/01/2013, 00.00
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Kanlho, 9 Tibetans on trial for encouraging self-immolations

In a court surrounded by security forces the trial of a group of citizens from Luchu county opened this morning. The charges are not clear and Tibetans are not allowed to enter the building.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Chinese authorities have begun a trial against nine Tibetans accused of "inciting the self-immolation" of Buddhist monks "to challenge the Beijing authorities" power in the region. The court convened this morning under the strict control of the police in the county of Luchu in the Autonomous Prefecture of Kanlho. According to various sources, the hearing behind closed doors is part of Chinese efforts to criminalize those who do not support the Chinese government in the area.

The judges did not make public the specific charges against the nine. A source said: "The hearing was calm, given the massive presence of security forces near the court. Tibetans were forbidden from even approaching the court. The defendants are Kalsang Samdup (monk from the lamasery Dzamtsa Dongsuk) , Kalsang Kyab, Kalsang Sonam, Tsesung, Dorjee Dhondup, Kalsang Namdren, Sonam Kyi, Lhamo Dorjee, and Nima: they all come from the village of Dzamtsa Lotso, Luchu County.

For some, their arrest is connected to self-immolation of Tashi Tsering, 31, who committed suicide Nov. 29, 2012 to protest against the communist authorities and ask for the return of the Dalai Lama in Tibet. Currently, the number of self-immolated has risen to 107, although not all died after the gesture of protest. Beijing accuses the Buddhist leader - in exile in Dharamsala - of "fomenting suicides." For its part, the Tibetan government in exile has accused China of "not listening" to the legitimate demands of the Tibetan people.


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