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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Relatives of Jailed Tibetan Nomads Appeal Convictions in Sichuan

December 6, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

WASHINGTON — The relatives of four Tibetan nomads who were handed jail
terms of up to 10 years after one of them called publicly for the return
of the Dalai Lama have lodged an appeal with a higher court in the
southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan.

"Both verbal and written information was received by the Court," an
official at the People's High Court in the provincial capital of Chengdu
told RFA's Tibetan service.

"You will learn the decision of the Court in due course. One should
trust in the law of China," the official said in response to questions
about the appeal.

Adruk Gyatso and Chaktsa Lobsang travelled first to Chengdu to file the
appeal. Sonam Dolma, wife of Ronggyal Adrak, and Tsewang Dolma, mother
of Adruk Lopo, followed on at the request of the Court, sources in the
region said.

All the residents of Ronggyal Adrak's nomadic village submitted an
appeal asking for justice, and two representatives, Samten and Lobsang
Norbu, reached Chengdu with the documents.

"This document was signed by all the members of Khashur Village and
presented to the High Court," the source said.

'Denunciation campaigns'

Ronggyal Adrak was jailed for eight years by Karze Intermediate Court in
Dartsedo (in Chinese, Kangding), which convicted him of “splitting the
country” and subverting state power.

Adruk Lopo and Jamyang Kunkyen were sentenced to 10 and nine years in
jail, respectively, for sending photos to overseas organizations.
Another Tibetan named Lothok was jailed for three years for providing
information to foreign organizations.

"After the announcement of the sentence to Ronggyal Adrak and the others
in the court, Adruk Lopo, who was sentenced for 10 years, demanded an
opportunity to speak against the decision, but he was not allowed to
speak and was escorted away forcefully by police," a source in Kangding

"The relatives of four persons who were sentenced to 3-10 years to jail
had originally tried to appeal against the decision of the Intermediate
Court but they were not allowed to do so in the same court," the source

All four men -- the other three were identified as Adruk Lopo, Jamyang
Kunkyen, and Lothok -- protested when their sentences were read out in
court, and security officers bundled them away, witnesses said at the time.

"This is not a fair trial," they called out. "We cannot accept this

Jailed for sending photos

Court officials in the Chengdu High Court initially did not respond to
requests to lodge an appeal, the source said.

"However when they put up a joint appeal of Tibetans in the Lithang area
addressed to Beijing and to the provincial authorities, the court
officials paid more attention," the source said.

The relatives had received an official receipt of the appeal, which
meant the court was obliged to hear the case and the appellants could
also seek the services of a lawyer, the source added.

Ronggyal Adrak was arrested and charged with subversion after calling
for the return of the Dalai Lama at a meeting Aug. 1 in Lithang county
during the annual horse-racing festival.

Ronggyal Adrak is a member of the Yonru nomadic group, which lives in
the largely Tibetan regions of Sichuan, on high grasslands near the
Himalayan plateau.

The Aug. 1 incident and detention prompted a surge of nomads into police
and government office compounds, prompting the police to threaten to
shoot when tensions were at their height. Authorities managed to
negotiate an uneasy truce, but thousands of troops converged on Lithang
as a result and local Tibetan Communist Party officials were replaced
with Han Chinese.

The judge told Ronggyal Adrak in October that his crimes were “very
severe” and said he was responsible for causing the mass protests that
followed, during which hundreds of nomads surged into government and
police compounds demanding his release.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 and is regarded by China as a
dangerous figure seeking independence for his homeland, although he says
he wants only autonomy and for Chinese repression of Tibetans to end.

China has ruled the Dalai Lama out of Tibet’s future and has recently
launched major political campaigns in Tibetan areas of Sichuan and among
Tibetan cadres in Tibet to get people to renounce him.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, after sending in troops a year earlier
to “liberate” the devoutly Buddhist region.

Original reporting in Kham dialect by RFA’s Tibetan service. Director:
Jigme Ngapo. Translated and edited by Karma Dorjee. Written and produced
in English by Luisetta Mudie and Sarah Jackson-Han.
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