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Chinese intellectuals petition the Chinese government on behalf of condemned Tibetans

December 12, 2002

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has received a petition from 24 Chinese intellectuals to the National People’s Congress, the Chinese Supreme People's Court, and the Sichuan Province Supreme People’s Court calling for a fair retrial for Tibetan lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and his follower Lobsang Dhondup.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup, who were arrested with three others on charges of involvement in a bombing in the main square of Chengdu, Sichuan in April, were sentenced to death on December 2. Dhondup was given until December 12 to appeal an immediate death sentence, while Rinpoche’s death sentence has been suspended for two years.

The petition, signed by noted writer Wang Lixiong and other scholars, writers, activists, and professionals, notes that Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is held in high esteem by Tibetans in exile, and that his arrest and trial have raised strong suspicions within and outside of China.

The petition observes that official actions prior to the secret trial strongly suggest that the outcome was set in advance, and points out that the lack of transparency in the trial proceedings has seriously damaged the credibility of China’s legal system and transformed the case into an international incident with allegations of persecution of the Tibetan minority.

The petition notes that executing Rinpoche and Dhondup under such controversial circumstances might well cause irreparable damage to relations between the Han Chinese majority and the Tibetan minority. Conversely, the petition states, allowing Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup to appeal under open, fair and transparent conditions may be the last chance to improve relations between Han Chinese and Tibetans.

The petition makes three specific demands:

  1. that the petitioners be allowed to hire two independent lawyers to represent Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup in an appeal trial;
  2. that local and international media be allowed to cover the appeal trial and interview the government officials involved;
  3. that representatives of the Tibetan community in exile be allowed to attend and observe the appeal trial.


HRIC wholeheartedly supports the petition’s demands, which are both rational and reasonable. HRIC president Liu Qing says, “These petitioners have fulfilled the duty of intellectuals to defend justice and to work for the stability of the nation and improved relations between ethnic groups.

Their call for an appeal trial for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup is not only in compliance with Chinese law and the principles of human rights, but suggests a way to restore credibility to the Chinese judicial system’s deplorable handling of this case. It also provides the government with an opportunity to demonstrate to Tibetans and other minority groups that they do not need to fear oppression by the Han majority.”

HRIC calls on the Chinese government to demonstrate its respect of legal due process, human rights and the views of the Chinese people by agreeing to all three of the petition’s demands.

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher (English) 212-268-9074
Liu Qing (Chinese) 212-239-4495


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