Thursday 20 January 2011

China holds 831 Tibetan political prisoners

(, Jan14, 2011)  The number of Tibetan political prisoners under Chinese rule was 831 as of Dec 30, 2010, with 360 of them having been judicially sentenced and 12 of them serving life-terms, said Dharamsala-based Tibetan centre for Human Rights and Democracy Jan 12 in its latest annual report.

The report said that during the year, 188 Tibetans were known to have been arrested or detained, with 71 of them having been sentenced by courts. It added that since 2008, over 60 Tibetan writers, bloggers, intellectuals and cultural figures had been arrested.

The report also said that since the spring of 2008, nine Tibetans had been sentenced to death, of whom two were executed, with the others being under two-year stays of execution. The latter included Sonam Tsering, Lama Lhaka and Sodor of Kolu Monastery in Chamdo Prefecture sentenced in 2010.

The report also criticised China’s education policy in Tibet, especially an order by the government of Qinghai Province which required all primary school lessons and textbooks to be in Chinese language by 2015, except in the case of Tibetan and English language lessons. The policy announcement had led to protests by thousands of Tibetan school students across the province in Oct’10.

The report accused China of further undermining religious freedom in Tibet with the announcement in Sep’10 by the State Administration for Religious Affairs of its Order No. 8, titled as ‘Management measure for Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and temples' which came into force on Nov 1. The order, among many other things, made it illegal for religious centres in Tibet to maintain connection with overseas religious figures.

With regard to the development and modernization policy in Tibet, the report accused China of ignoring a rights-based and need-based approach, with the result that Tibetan nomads and farmers still faced extreme difficulties in their living conditions.

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