10/28/2014, 00.00
TIBET - CHINA
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Tibetan Buddhist monk sentenced to 12 years for "separatism"

Tsangyang Gyatso, chant leader at a monastery in Trido, was arrested in March with three other monks. The charges against him have not been made public, and the fate of those who were arrested with him remains unknown. A flurry of arrests is carried out in the area, where graffiti say, "Tibet is independent".

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - Tibet's Communist authorities sentenced Tsangyang Gyatso, a Tibetan monk, to 12 years in prison on charges not yet made public.

Tsangyang Gyatso, who was chant leader at his monastery in Trido Township, was arrested on 17 March in Trido Township along with three others, Tsewang, Atse and Gyaltsen.

It is unclear whether they were tried or not. According to a local source, Ngawang Tharpa, Gyatso was convicted for "separatist" activities and "plotting" against the government.

Right after the four were arrested, the source told the Tibetan newspaper Phayul that six other monks from the same monastery were severely beaten on 19 March after they approached the authorities with an appeal to release the four monks.

On March 20, several Tibetans, including women and elderly members of Trido Township, approached the Chinese authorities for the release of the six monks, which eventually occurred some time later.

A few weeks before Gyatso's arrest, the authorities arrested five Tibetans for allegedly sharing "banned contents" on the micro-messaging service WeChat.

Four others were arrested on suspicion of involvement in painting a graffiti that said, "Tibet is independent" on an iron bridge near the town.

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