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Tibetans Jailed For Blasts

October 6, 2008

At least three Tibetans have been handed jail terms ranging from four
to nine years in connection with several explosions in Markham
county, Chamdo, during Tibetan protests earlier this year.
Radio Free Asia (RFA)
October 2, 2008

KATHMANDU -- Chinese authorities in Tibet's Markham county have
sentenced four monks to jail terms of four to nine years for
"terrorist actions" in connection with a series of small blasts
during massive anti-China protests in the region earlier this year,
according to several knowledgeable sources.

"The Tibetans were given lighter sentences for some genuine reasons,"
a security official in Markham county who declined to be named said,
confirming the Sept. 23 sentencing by the Chamdo [in Chinese,
Changdu] Intermediate People's Court.

"Those who were involved in the explosions were instigated from the
outside. There were no casualties in the explosion, and damage to
government property was minimal."

The mostly teenage monks were among dozens detained in Markham county
on or around May 14 and were charged with "obstructing the Olympics"
and "damaging national stability."

Three of the monks sentenced were named by sources in Markham county
as: Tenzin Tsangpa, 19, who was jailed for four years; Lobsang
Gyatso, 19, who received a five-year sentence; and Tenphel, 19, who
was handed an eight-year sentence. The identity of the fourth
sentenced monk wasn't immediately known.

All the monks are believed to have been from Markham county's Oser
monastery or one of its branches.

'Terrorist actions'

The security official said: "They carried out terrorist actions...If
they don't appeal, they will be taken to Kongpo for imprisonment 10
days after sentencing. None had lodged an appeal by Sept. 30."

A total of 22 Tibetans were detained in Markham county over 12 days
from May 13. Only six are known to have since been released. A
further five monks from Phunlag Gonsar and Khenpa Lung monasteries
are also believed to have been jailed in connection with the blasts.

"Another five monks were sentenced to imprisonment. Those are monks
from Gonsar monastery, and Khenpa Lung monastery. But I don't know
details about the length of the sentences."

Tibetan sources in the region reported eight separate explosions in
the Markham area during the Tibetan protests earlier this year.

No one was hurt in the blasts, three of which occurred at a Chinese
military base camp, one at the Markham county office, three at an
electric power transmission station, and one at the residence of a
Tibetan who worships Shugden, a controversial deity espoused by
Beijing but regarded with suspicion by those loyal to the Dalai Lama.

Overseas rights groups have expressed concern over the
"disappearance" of monks from Markham county following the blasts.

Detained in May

Knowledgeable Tibetan sources have identified some of the monks
detained May 24 from Gonsar monastery in Markham as: Gonpo, 20;
Choedrub, 25; Palden, 30; Ngawang Phuntsok, 17; and Kunga, 20.

The three Oser monks sentenced Sept. 23 along with Riyang, 21, and
Choegyal, 23, were also detained around that time.

The Khenpa Lung monks were identified as Lobdra, 15; Namgyal, 18;
Butrug, 13; Jamyang Lodroe, 15; Tsepag Namgyal, 15; Kalsang Tashi,
17; Jamdrub, 21; Wangchug, 22; Penpa Gyaltsen, 26; Pasang Tashi, 30;
and Lhamo Tsang.

Two detained laypeople were identified as Dargye Garwatsang, 19, and
Konchog  Tenzin, 21.

Chinese authorities have made numerous arrests and launched a
"patriotic education" campaign aimed at Tibetans after protests and
riots that began in Lhasa in mid-March and spread to other Tibetan areas.

Beijing says 22 people were killed in the rioting. Tibetan sources
say scores of people were killed when Chinese paramilitary and police
opened fire on crowds of demonstrators.

Chinese authorities have blamed exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai
Lama, for instigating the protests and fomenting what they regard as
a "splittist" Tibetan independence movement. The Dalai Lama rejects
the accusation, saying he wants only autonomy and human rights for Tibetans.

Original reporting in Kham by Lobsang Choephel. Translated by Karma
Dorjee. Tibetan service director: Jigme Ngapo. Written and produced
in English by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.
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