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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Impunity in China spreads under the passivity of governments and politicians

November 8, 2009

Letter sent to the Spanish Government and all politicians in Spain:
Comité de Apoyo al Tíbet (CAT)
November 6, 2009

Dear member of the Spanish Government,
Parliament, Senate and European Parliament:

I am writing to you as my representative in
parliament to request that you call on the
Spanish government to pressure China to release
Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan film-maker, arrested
in 2008 for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.

Dhondup Wangchen [Chinese: Dunzhu Wangqin] was
detained in Tibet on 26 March 2008 for filming
interviews with ordinary Tibetans about their
views on the Olympic Games, the Dalai Lama and
Chinese government policies in Tibet. (The
interviews have since been smuggled out of Tibet
and made into a documentary film "Leaving Fear
Behind", which gives a rare glimpse into the
reality of Tibetans living under Chinese
occupation. The film has been screened in over 30
countries and can also be seen online at http://www.leavingfearbehind.com.)

According to information provided by official
sources, Dhondup Wangchen was formally arrested
in July 2008 under suspicion of "inciting
separatism" and espionage. He was charged in June
2009. It is believed that Dhondup Wangchen's
trial has started. His family recently received a
letter from Dhondup Wangchen, which had been
smuggled out of his prison, which reads:

"A few days ago I had a terrible nightmare and I
struggled with the thought that something
terrible has happened at home. I am worried about
my aged father and mother. I am very much
worried. Would it be possible to inform me about
their situation? Please be frank with me. With
regard to my situation there is no need to worry.
I will face my fate.  While I am aware that a
release will be very difficult and I may remain
here for a longer period  there is a feeling that
I have failed to be a more caring son for my
parents.  My trial has started. There is no good
news I can share with you. It is unclear what the sentence will be."

Additionally, China recently told a foreign
government that the case was "now under judicial
proceedings". If convicted, Dhondup Wangchen may face a lengthy sentence.

China has denied initial appeals for observers to
attend Dhondup's trial. This raises acute
concerns that Dhondup Wangchen's trial will take
place in secret. In addition he has been denied
access to his family's choice of lawyer, Li
Dunyong, from the Beijing Gongxin law firm.

Further concerns that Dhondup Wangchen may not
receive a fair and open trial were raised with
the news that up to four Tibetans were executed
in Lhasa on 20 October 2009. These Tibetans were
involved in the protests that swept Tibet last
Spring. Their executions are believed to be
politically motivated and it seems those
convicted were not subject to a fair judicial process.

With US President Barak Obama due to visit China
soon (15-18 November), I believe now is a crucial
time for all governments to pressure China to
release Dhondup Wangchen and all political
prisoners, and to call on the Chinese leaders to
instigate judicial processes which will allow fair and open trials.

I urge you to call on the Spanish government to
pressure their Chinese counterparts to:

1. demand full information pertaining to  Dhondup
Wangchen's case, including the charges he faces and the status of his trial.

2. ask for permission to send observers to his
trial, to ensure that Dhondup Wangchen receives a
full and open trial as is guaranteed under
China's constitution,    and that he is allowed
legal counsel of his own choosing.

3. immediately release Dhondup Wangchen, as his
only "crime" was to peacefully exercise his right
to freedom of expression, as guaranteed under the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The law that was recently reformed in secret and
which limits the application of universal justice
in Spain has as its objective that crimes like
these and all those denounced in the High Court
go completely unpunished. Who does the law aim to
protect? What hope is left for the victims,
Chinese filmmakers, those who are arrested and
tortured? How is it possible that the great
contribution to “debate” in the Senate of this
unnecessary and shameful reform is based on such
preposterous lies as “making the law more
effective” (the Government), “all the blame lies
on those petty judges who took on cases they
shouldn’t have” (a PP senator) and "many of these
cases could be tried in other international courts" (a PSOE senator) ?

Please take action,

Yours sincerely,

Alan Cantos
Director of the Comité de Apoyo al Tíbet (CAT)
Tel. (0034) 91 350 2414 / Email: info@tibetcat.com
(and on behalf of the International Tibet Support
Network: http://tibetnetwork.org ) which includes 165 organizations worldwide.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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