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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?"

A Letter of Appeal to the Authorities by Dolkar Tso, Wife of Karma Samdrup

July 12, 2010

High Peaks Pure Earth
July 8, 2010

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a letter of
appeal written to government officials on June
25, 2010, by Dolkar Tso after learning that her
husband, Karma Samdrup, was sentenced to 15 years
in prison for charges of alleged tomb-robbing and dealing in looted relics.

The letter of appeal was posted online on the
blog of Karma Samdrup's lawyer, well-known
Chinese civil rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang on this
URL:
http://puzhiqianglawyer.blog.sohu.com/155565868.html  
However, this post is now inaccessible. The
letter can be read on Woeser's blog where it was
re-posted in full on June 29, 2010.


High Peaks Pure Earth has posted several
translations of blogposts by Dolkar Tso.

-----------------------
To the honoured reader:

I am from the town of Jyegu in the Yushu
Prefecture of Qinghai Province, my name is Dolkar
Tso. Not that long ago, I was just an ordinary
housewife, a happy wife and mother. My husband’s
name is Karma Samdrup; he is from the Chamdo
District of Gonjo County and for a long time had
dedicated most of his energy to protecting
culture and the environment, he was widely
respected. We have two lovely daughters together
who are lively and kind-hearted and who currently
go to a primary school in Chengdu. But now, my
innocent husband has been sentenced to 15 years
in prison accused of "robbing ancient graves,"
our two unaware daughters still hope for a phone
call from their father day and night. The past
year’s earthquake and many other unexpected
events have gradually destroyed our simple but happy family.

If my husband had really broken the law, I would
by no means beg for leniency on his behalf; but
we -- all his relatives, friends and I -- have
known Karma for many years, and especially after
his three-day trial from 22 to 24 June, we are
more convinced than ever that Karma is innocent; he is no criminal.

Karma was born in a remote mountain village,
never received any formal education but has
always been kind-hearted and intelligent by
nature. Starting from small business activities
in his childhood, later on, he turned into a
respected and well-known businessman.
Nevertheless, compared to those wealthy
contemporary families, our family still looked
quite poor. This is because Karma invested all
his hard-earned money into his activities of
protecting culture and the environment. He also
built bridges, renovated schools and supported
widowed elderly people in his hometown. He also
set up the "Three Rivers Environmental Protection
Group," which has been awarded many prizes of
special honour. Moreover, he was very devoted to
the protection of cultural antiquities and
established the “Tibet Gzi (Heavenly Beads) Road
Cultural Communication Company Limited”. He often
cooperated with provincial museums and even
managed to sign an agreement with the China
Tibetology Research Centre preparing to donate
200 cultural items to the state. He has always
dedicated everything to the harmonious existence
between different people and between people and
nature and has always believed that the
protection of culture and the environmental go
beyond the notions of nationality or state. For
this reason, he has received varies different
awards from the government. He has always obeyed
the law, has always loved the country and his
family and has gained trust and respect from
friends of different ethnic origins. He
particularly liked to make friends with inland
intellectuals; he liked to study radiant Han
culture and never entertained any separatist
thoughts. His friends and relatives all think
that his words and deeds have always represented
the unity of ethnic nationalities and that he is
in fact a role model for law-abiding citizens.
But this person was taken as a captive, was
tortured to confess to an extent that I couldn’t
trust my own eyes when I was at the opening of
the trial on June 22 and saw the tall and
heavyset, even a little chubby Karma was now
skinny and small, his body was crooked so that we
already started shedding tears like rain before
he had even started telling us about the cruel
torture he had suffered. I already more or less
knew what he had gone through, but when we heard
his statement about how he had been forced to
wrongly confess by means of numerous different
methods, how he had been tormented day and night,
we just couldn’t bear it any longer up in the
public gallery. In the past half year, he led a
life that wasn’t worth living; he often bled
through the seven holes in his head and fainted,
he did not have any food, was not given any time
to rest and we only found out at the court that
his left ear had almost gone deaf, his vision was
blurry and his whole body was in agony. Yet, with
a determination, which we are unable to imagine,
he persisted in not telling lies, but in
remaining an honest person, something, which made
his friends and relatives feel proud and shaken.

For a housewife coming from a family like mine,
this trial was so obviously not fair. The
collegial panel only listened to the words of the
prosecutor and turned a deaf ear to the questions
of the defending advocates. The prosecutors’
proceedings revealed too many loopholes and the
evidence, which they submitted was contradictory
and full of flaws, making him a suspect on false
grounds. But when Karma and his defenders
requested evidence or wanted to call in a
witness, which are all very legal requests, they
were refused. According to the sentence, Karma
should stay in prison for 15 years; this is so
unjust and signifies the loss of any
impartiality. Just as Karma said in his last
statement, how can a person who protects
antiquities and feels sad every time any cultural
artefact is being destroyed be accused of
“destroying ancient graves”? How can a person who
grew up with traditional customs that taught to
be superstitious about tombs be so defaming and
“sell coffins and dried corpses” or “rob ancient
graves”? We really don’t understand how Karma can
endure such immense misfortune when we have such
an advanced Party and Government and wide-ranging legal system in place?

Recently, our country has promulgated new laws
and regulations against giving false evidence
thus, strengthening citizens’ rights, putting an
end to unjust cases out of pure hatred. This
makes me feel very hopeful that the collection of
evidence and investigations are being carried out
according to the law and I believe that justice
will be done to Karma. He has been serving his
country for all his life and will certainly keep
doing what he can do, will not strive for idealism and contribute to society.

Today, the heavy burden of the family, the
business and the lawsuit entirely rests on my
shoulders. Our innocent children still don’t know
what calamities their dad is experiencing. Apart
from Karma, his older brother, Rinchen Samdrup,
and his younger brother, Chime Namgyal, were also
arrested in August last year. To the present day,
the older brother’s trial has not commenced and
the younger brother was transferred to a hospital
under strong surveillance on 11 June due to his
disability. A different cousin was sentenced to
one and a half years in prison for “being the
instigator of a group of villagers appealing to
the higher authorities” at the end of last year.
Yet another cousin, Rinchen Dorje, was also
seized by Ku'erle (in Xinjiang) city police in
connection with Karma’s case and his whereabouts
remain unknown. Already 5 family members have
been arrested, every time I think of the peaceful
life in the past, I cannot help but feel sadness welling up.

I earnestly request the respective departments to
urge the local law enforcement offices to
strictly follow the law and I also call for
treating a good person like Karma in a humane
way. A case like this can also stand as a model
case in accordance with the newly promulgated
laws and regulations. It will not only give back
an honest person who has endured cruel punishment
his legitimate right to live, it will also be a
valuable experience helping to prevent similar
cases in the future. But most importantly, it
will be a great encouragement for people from all
nationalities to do everything for the unified
and harmonious existence of all nationalities.

Once more, I earnestly request the officials in
charge to pay attention to this case and to pay
attention to Karma Samdrup. For this I show my
highest respect, appreciation and compliments. Tashi Delek!

Dolkar Tso
June 25, 2010

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