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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Dhondup Wangchen faces trial: new information on charges

September 20, 2009

ICT report, September 17, 2009

Dhondup Wangchen, who was detained last year soon after completing filming
of a documentary, may be facing charges of "inciting separatism" and
espionage, according to information from an official source passed onto
Western governments. Charges were brought against Dhondup Wangchen, who was
denied access to a Chinese lawyer of his family's choice, in June 2009.

Dhondup Wangchen was detained on March 26, 2008, soon after completing
filming of the documentary 'Leaving Fear Behind'. The film documents Tibetan
views of last year's Beijing Olympics, the current situation in Tibet and
the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet. (See: www (dot) leavingfearbehind
(dot) com). Several other people involved with or appearing in the
documentary have also been investigated by the authorities. According to
information provided by official sources, Dhondup Wangchen was formally
arrested in July 2008 under suspicion of "inciting separatism and stealing,
secretly gathering, purchasing, and illegally providing intelligence for an
organisation, institution, or personnel outside the country."

Li Dunyong, from the Beijing Gongxin law firm, was blocked from taking on
the case by the Xining judicial authorities, who informed Dhondup Wangchen's
family that the court would designate a government-appointed lawyer for the
trial. This is in violation of China's criminal procedure law and its
obligations under international human rights law, which guarantee criminal
defendants the right to choose their own defense counsel and to meet with
their counsel while in detention (Human Rights Watch report, www (dot) hrw
(dot) org/en/news/2009/08/03/china-ensure-fair-trial-tibetan-filmmaker).
According to a further report, at least one government was refused
permission to have access to any trial or hearing of Dhondup Wangchen.
Various Western governments have raised concern about Dhondup Wangchen's

Lawyer Li Dunyong is said to believe that Dhondup Wangchen's actions in
shooting footage and interviewing Tibetans for a film do not constitute a
crime under Chinese law, according to information published on a
Chinese-language blog site and sources who know Dhondup Wangchen. There are
serious fears for Dhondup Wangchen's welfare as he is being held
incommunicado, without being allowed family visits. His wife, who lives in
exile in India, also says that he is not being given medical treatment
although he is in poor health and has Hepatitis B.

Wangchen (Chinese transliterations of his name are Dunzhu Wangqing and
Dangzhi Xiangqian, was initially detained at the Ershilibu detention center
in Xining. He was transferred a few months later to a government-run
guesthouse nearby, probably for the purpose of interrogation, before being
sent to the No. 1 Detention Center in Xining. Wangchen has been suffering
from hepatitis B, for which he says he has been denied adequate medical

Jigme Gyatso, a monk from Qinghai province who worked with Wangchen on
Leaving Fear Behind, was arrested at the same time. He was released on bail
seven months later, on October 15, 2008, and reported that he had been
tortured in detention.

Mary Beth Markey, Vice President for Advocacy of the International Campaign
for Tibet, said: "Disturbing reports indicate that Dhondup Wangchen is being
deprived of a fair trial, which should include the exclusion of evidence
obtained under torture or other mistreatment, and the right to be
represented by a counsel of one's own choice. Because Chinese law provides
that trials should be open unless they involve state secrets, we are also
calling upon governments to ask to attend judicial proceedings against
Dhondup Wangchen as a matter of urgency."

ICT is also calling for Dhondup Wangchen to be given access to his family,
and to be allowed medical treatment.
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