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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."

Imprisoned Tibetan Monk’s Birthday Celebrated in Exile

October 31, 2010

James Dunn,
The Tibet Post International
October 29, 2010

Dharamshala -- At 8:30am, today (29th October),
over 100 people commemorated the 60th birthday of
political prisoner, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. His
followers, students, relatives and Tibetan NGOs
all attended the celebration. It began with one
of his followers talking about Tenzin's life,
followed by prays for Tenzin's health and his
immediate release. The event was not only
observed in Dharamshala, but also in South India and Europe.

Yangchen Dolma, who was at the event, held at
Lhagyal-ri, Dharamshala, described the occasion
"It was very good, we saw a photo of him and I
felt very emotional because he is the only
Rinpoche and lama from my village. I also felt
very sad because he is in prison, but I hope and
pray for his release from prison."

"When I was in Tibet, he was arrested by the
Chinese police, the entire village felt very sad
and we all demonstrated. But we cannot do
anything, some of our countrymen were arrested at
that time and we couldn't do anything, we were
upset. He is a very great lama, doing lots of
work for the Tibetan people, he dared to do work." She added.

The Chinese authorities tried to arrest Tenzin
three times, but they failed because he hid in
the local forest for some months. But finally on
April 7th, 2002 they came and surrounded his
monastery and arrested him along with 4 other
monks. Lobsang Dhondup, a 28-year old assistant
of Tenzin's was among the arrested. Lobsang was
executed almost immediately in late January 2003,
marking the first execution of a Tibetan for political crimes in 20 years.

Tenzin Delek's trial began on November 29th 2002
before the Local Court in Garze, he was accused
of involvement in a bomb attack on April 3, 2002
at the central square of Sichuan's provincial
capital, Chengdu and was sentenced to death with
a two-year execution adjournment. However, due to
protests inside and outside Tibet, his sentence
was commuted to life imprisonment on 26 January 2005.

In November 2009, 40,000 Tibetans in Tenzin Delek
Rinpoche's home area signed a petition asking for
a re-trial. They staged a hunger strike at the
county seat of Lithang for a few days, which lead
to the temporary arrest of about 70 Tibetans.

Tenzin Delek is also widely known for working to
develop social, medical, educational and
religious institutions for Tibetan nomads in
eastern Tibet, as an advocate for environmental
conservation in the face of indiscriminate
logging and mining projects. He strived for an
increase in education in Tibet, telling the
Chinese authorities that "we Tibetans need
freedom of education and all Chinese people have
knowledge but we Tibetans have none." He built a
school for nomads in the area, however, this has
already been destroyed by the Chinese government.
He also built seven monasteries to keep the old
safe since they were unable to care from themselves.

Tenzin Delek Rinphoche stated the reasons why
China persecutes him, "Since I am a Tibetan, I
have always been sincere and devoted to the
interests and well-being of Tibetan people. That
is the real reason why the Chinese do not like me
and framed me. That is why they are going to take
my precious life even though I am innocent."

Ven. Nyima Wangchuk who is a student of Rinpoche
also told the Tibet Post International that
"recently a few people have been able to visit
Tenzin in prison but it is very rare, his health
is very poor. They say that he has heart disease,
that's why the Tibetan people are very worried
about him. He could not say much about his
condition because he has many police around him.
In Tibet the photo of Tenzin cannot be put on
altars or hung up on the wall. People are in a
very difficult situation because they want to see
him, especially the old people who want to see him before they die."
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