www.TibetanReview.net, November 07, 2008
In one of its rare sporadic comments about arrests and trials of Tibetans, China said Nov 4 that it had so far sentenced 55 Tibetans for their involvement in the Mar 14 unrest in Lhasa. Baema Cewang, vice chairman of the regional government, made the remarks during a meeting with Michael Andrew Johnson, a visiting member of the Australian House of Representatives, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Nov 4.
The bald comment was devoid of any details about names, charges, jail terms, dates of the trials and other details. What this does mean, however, is that 13 more Tibetans had been tried and sentenced after Sep 3. Before that, China tried and sentenced to jail terms of up to life a total of 42 Tibetans in two batches on Apr 29 and Jun 20-21 for “arson, robbery, disrupting public order and attacking government offices, among other crimes”.
Cewang has said the authorities detained 1,317 Tibetans in connection with the Mar 14 unrest in Lhasa, of whom 1,115 were subsequently released. The authorities had earlier said no Tibetans had so far been sentenced to death, raising the possibility of such punishment in future trials.
China said 18 civilians, including three Tibetans, and a Chinese policeman died in the Mar 14 unrest in Lhasa. The exile Tibetan government maintains that as of Jul 31, there had been 218 confirmed deaths of Tibetan civilians, 1,290 Tibetans injured and 6,705 Tibetans detained or arrested across the Tibetan Plateau in the Chinese crackdown on the March Tibetan uprising. It said the actual figures in all these cases were likely to be much higher, with the Dalai Lama telling the French newspaper Le Monde, in its Aug 21 edition, that 400 had been killed in the Lhasa area alone.
Johnson, a pro-China Australian MP, was leading a media delegation of two from his country at a time when China had refused to respond to an existing request from members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet to undertake a fact-finding mission to Lhasa.