China jails Tibetan anti-corruption activist for disturbing social order

December 8, 2019 5:44 am0 commentsViews: 140

Anya Sengdra, a Tibetan anti-corruption activist. (Photo courtesy: RFA)

(TibetanReview.net, Dec07’19) – Chinese authorities in Qinghai province have on Dec 6 jailed a Tibetan anti-corruption activist for seven years for allegedly disturbing social order. The two-day trial and conviction of Anya Sengdra, a 47-year-old resident of Kyangche Township in Gade (Chinese: Gande) County of Golog (Guoluo) Prefecture, came after he was arrested on Sep 4, 2018.

Sengdra’s field of activism covered official corruption, illegal mining, and illegal hunting and poaching of protected wild animals.

“His arrest and conviction fits a wider pattern of harassment of Tibetan activists and environmental defenders, which has seen hundreds of arrests,” said London-based Free Tibet group which reported on his sentencing Dec 6.

The group suggested that he was persecuted as a part of China’s crackdown on so-called “criminal gangs” which in the case of Tibetan regions include every kind of activity deemed to be critical of Chinese rule.

Sengdra had also made his campaign complaints online.

Free Tibet cited Chinese human rights lawyer Lin Qilei, who represented Sengdra, as saying the activist will continue his fight, including by appealing the verdict against him.

In 2014, Sengdra was elected as the Kyangche Township chief. That was the year in which he and fellow-Tibetan nomads formed a voluntary organization called ‘Mang Dhon Ling’ (Public Affairs Forum) which filed a petition calling for investigation of corrupt activities of the Gade County authorities and the hardships endured by the poor people in his township.

Sengdra was earlier arrested in Dec 2014 and jailed for 15 months after he raised questions about government corruption. He reportedly argued with the local authorities over mismatch between funds announced by the government and what they were actually spent on.

The prison condition and the hard labour he had to undergo were stated to have damaged his health.

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