11/06/2010, 00.00
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Three Tibetan writers on trial for having spoken of 2008 protests

Detained for months, they are accused of separatism for writing in a Tibetan language magazine. During the trial they argued that the same things had been written in many Chinese newspapers. Beijing continues its attempt to wipe-out the identity of a population.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Three well-known Tibetans writers detained for months, were tried on October 28 by the Court of Aba (Ngaba in Tibet, Sichuan) for "activities that incite to divide the nation." Chinese authorities relentless persecution against the Tibetan identity and language continues.

Jangtse Donkho, Buddha and Kalsang Jinpa were arrested in June and July for articles written in their local Tibetan language newspaper Shar Dungri (Eastern Mountain snow) on the Tibetan protests in 2008.

Local sources told Radio Free Asia that the trail lasted about half a day. The three accused declared themselves innocent. Buddha spoke in fluent Chinese saying that articles similar to those covered by the prosecution were also published by in Han Chinese newspapers, so that their sentencing would be "an inequality between citizens of different nationalities although of the same country."

The other defendants spoke in Tibetan, but family members complain that the interpreter did not faithfully translate their words. The verdict is still unknown.

The prisoners, handcuffed, were allowed to greet family present at the trial, for a few minutes under police surveillance. A source said that Buddha asked his wife to make sure that their two year old child learns the language of Tibet.

According to International Campaign for Tibet, in recent months the Chinese authorities have arrested a number of Tibetan artists, writers, singers, but also professors, claiming that the practice of encouraging the identity, culture and civil rights of Tibetans are among the causes of the protests in the region. Over 60 years of Chinese rule in Tibet have not weakened Tibetans sense of identity and desire for freedom.

Ben Cardus, director of ICT, said that "despite a good knowledge of the risks, [the Tibetans] still dare to publish their opinions and exchange them with each other, about the situation in Tibet."

Previously, Chinese authorities have also focused their attention on monasteries and arrested several monks and nuns keeping them under close surveillance.

Beijing’s latest initiative is its attempt to remove the Tibetan language from education in many Tibetan schools, and replace it with Mandarin Chinese. This has caused the vigorous but peaceful protest of thousands of students.

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