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China has jailed arrest-disappeared Tibetan businessman for 18 years for alleged separatism

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(TibetanReview.net, Jul26’22) – China has secretly tried and jailed for 18 years a Tibetan businessman known for his philanthropic work after it arrest-disappeared him in early 2018, said Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) Jul 25.

TCHRD said the businessman, Tenzin Choephel, 45, has been jailed on trumped-up charge of “inciting separatism” in his home township of Tarchen (Chinese: Daqen) in Sernye (Sèní) District under Nagchu (Naqu) City, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

Chinese police arrested Tenzin Choephel on Mar 30, 2018 when he landed on Gongkar airport, Lhasa, from a business trip to Chengdu City, China. They were stated to have searched his home after that to find some photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and some political literature. And he remained disappeared ever since.

TCHRD cited “a reliable source” as saying the businessman was sentenced on May 24, 2019, with deprivation of political rights for further five years, after holding him guilty of having committed a list of alleged crimes that included “inciting separatism”, “illegally sending intelligence overseas”, and “financing activities that endangered state security”.

China considers any sending out of information about human rights and related issues leaking of state secrets or intelligence.

Chinese authorities were stated to have confiscated all his personal property.

TCHRD said the TAR Higher People’s Court rejected in Oct 2019 an appeal made by Tenzin Choephel’s family.

Tenzin Choephel is said to be serving his jail sentence in the high-security Chushur (Qushui) Prison located in the outskirts of the Tibetan capital.

TCHRD said that apart from helping the poor and needy Tibetan people, Tenzin Choephel is well known for his works in protecting Tibetan culture and environment, and in promoting unity among Tibetan people.

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