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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibetan Singer Gets Prison

March 9, 2010

Radio Free Asia (RFA)
March 7, 2010

Rare court papers also show jailing of a Tibetan monk.

KATHMANDU -- Authorities in a Tibetan area of
western China have sent a local singer to prison
after he recorded and distributed CDs of songs
protesting Chinese rule over Tibetans, according
to legal documents made available to Radio Free Asia (RFA).

In the first of two judicial documents recently
smuggled out of China, Tashi Dhondup, 30, was
sentenced by the Malho [in Chinese, Huangnan]
municipal re-education through labor committee to
15 months’ “re-education through labor.”

The sentence did not require a court trial.

A second set of legal papers, which along with
the first offer a rare glimpse of government
actions against those suspected of opposing
Chinese rule in the region, recounts the trial of
a Tibetan monk in connection with a region-wide
uprising against Chinese rule in early 2008.

Tashi Dhondup, an ethnic Mongol from Yulgan [in
Chinese, Henan] county, Malho [Huangnan] Tibetan
Autonomous Prefecture, in Qinghai province,
"violated laws" by singing songs in support of
Tibetan independence and of the Dalai Lama,
according to a written decision by the Yulgan
county re-education through labor committee.

"Tashi Dhondup ... violated laws as given below.
He was detained Dec. 3, 2009, by county Public
Security officials for separatist activities,"
said the decision, issued by the re-education
through labor committee and dated Jan. 5.

According to the document, Tashi Dhondup was
interrogated by Yulgan Mongol Autonomous County
police on April 16 and April 18, 2009, and warned
not to sing a song titled "1958" —evoking the
failed 1958-59 uprising against Chinese rule
during which thousands of Tibetans fled across the border to India.

Thousands of CDs

The singer was detained again in Xining city, the
Qinghai provincial capital, after thousands of
copies of his "Torture Without Marks" music CDs
began to appear on market stalls in the region.

"He and some other associates copied about 3,000
CDS and distributed them in 11 counties in
Qinghai, Sichuan, and Gansu," according to the document.

Investigators found that Tashi Dhondup had
continued to sing "1958," which described "a dark
year, a year of fear, a year of internal
conflicts, the killing of citizens by a black earth."

"These songs were fabricated and contained
serious provocative themes," the labor re-education board said.

Other songs had included the singer’s wish for
Tibetan independence, his longing to see the
exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and the looting of Tibet’s treasures.

"The person who composed the lyrics and tune
escaped, but Tashi Dhondup sang the songs, made
copies, and distributed them," the document said,
adding that the singer had "acknowledged his
activities without any hesitation.”

The evidence presented to the board included
lyrics of songs sung by Tashi Dhondup, translated
from Tibetan into Chinese, some of his songs in
which he calls for Tibetan independence, drawings
and photos of him singing, and statements of witnesses.

"In accordance with Clauses 4 and 13 of the
re-education through labor policy of the State
Council of China, Tashi Dhondup is sent for one
year and three months’ hard labor from Dec. 3, 2009 to March 2, 2011.”

Tashi Dhondup had the right of appeal to the
labor re-education committee within 60 days, or
to the county court within three months of the decision, it said.

Huangnan’s population is majority Tibetan,
together with a large number of Mongolians and a smaller number of Han Chinese.

Monk jailed for 2008 role

A second document from the trial in Gansu
province of a Tibetan monk convicted in
connection with a 2008 region-wide uprising
against Chinese rule paints a detailed picture of the case made against him.

Dated May 21, 2009, a verdict from the People's
Intermediate Court in the Kanlho [in Chinese,
Gannan] Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture found
Tibetan monk Thabkhe Gyatso guilty of carrying
and distributing Tibetan snow-lion flags in March
14 street protests, shouting slogans for Tibetan
independence, and passing on information to outside "separatist" groups.

The three-judge panel said the 31-year-old monk,
from the prominent Labrang monastery, was
detained on March 22, 2008 in the midst of a
widespread Tibetan uprising that swept through
the region and prompted a deadly crackdown.

He was formally arrested on April 29, 2008, a
procedure that in almost every case precedes a
conviction, and is said in the court papers to be
"currently detained at the Gansu Provincial Public Security Detention Center.”

"Tsondu Gyatso, who was also a participant in the
protest, testified regarding the presence of
Thabkhe Gyatso in the March 14 protest," the verdict said.

Another witness, Sonam Gyatso, testified that he
"heard Thabkhe Gyatso raising slogans, and
putting up flags ... Four photos indicated the
presence of Thabkhe Gyatso during the protests."

"The defendant confessed that he held the
snow-lion flag during the protests ... Evidence
of Thabkhe Gyatso’s involvement was found in the
documents and computers seized by the Kanlho
security office. The court rejects the
defendant’s argument that he did not raise
slogans for independence when other witnesses
confirmed his commission of activities"

"Therefore the Court has concluded that Thabkhe
Gyatso instigated others for committing
separatist activities and found him guilty of
violating Articles 55, 56, and 103 of the
Criminal Code of the People’s Republic of China
and sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment and
deprivation of his political rights for an additional five years."

The verdict notes that Thabkhe Gyatso had the
right to appeal within 10 days to the Gansu
Higher People's Court, and is signed by Presiding
Judge Bai Yuanlian, Judge Cho Lhamo, and Judge Li Yuanhong.

In March 2008, a protest against Chinese rule in
and around the Tibetan regional capital, Lhasa,
sparked rioting throughout the region in which
Beijing said 22 people, mostly Chinese civilians, died.

Chinese authorities blamed Tibet's exiled leader,
the Dalai Lama, and his followers.

The Tibetan government-in-exile in India says
about 220 Tibetans died and nearly 7,000 were
detained in the subsequent regionwide crackdown.

Original reporting by Dolkar for RFA’s Tibetan
service. Translated from the Tibetan by Karma
Dorjee. Tibetan service director: Jigme Ngapo.
Written in English by Sarah Jackson-Han and Luisetta Mudie.
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