DHARAMSHALA: A Chinese court in Tsongkha Khar in Tsoshar in eastern Tibet’s Amdo Province (incorporated into China’s Qinghai Province) on Monday (18 March) sentenced three Tibetans for allegedly spreading information on self-immolations in Tibet. Kalsang Dhondup, Jigme Thabkey and Lobsang have received prison terms of six, five and four years, respectively.
The online announcement of the court sentence said that the men used self-immolations by Tibetans for publicity purposes and circulated texts and photographs related to Tibetan independence, spreading “bad influence locally and internationally, the New York Times reported Thursday.
The Central Tibetan Administration strongly deplores the harsh prison sentences meted out to the three Tibetans. It once again calls on the Chinese government to address the basic grievances of the Tibetans instead of engaging in counter-productive measures.
The EU member states and the US had raised their concerns at the UN Human Rights Council last week that such measures to criminalise Tibetans have exacerbated tension in the Tibetan areas. Speaking on behalf of the 27-member states, the EU said it encourages China to re-engage in constructive dialogue with the Tibetan people to resolve the issue of Tibet.
Since 2009, at least 109 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibet. The self-immolation protests persist despite the Central Tibetan Administration’s consistent appeals to Tibetans to refrain from taking drastic actions.