(TibetanReview.net, Jul18’20) – China has imposes exemplary punishment on 10 Tibetans, including two Buddhist monks, who had tried to block the construction of a slaughterhouse on land confiscated from local residents in Sangchu (Chinese: Xiahe) County of Gansu Province, reported the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Jul 15. The protesters had demanded compensation for their confiscated land. Chinese authorities claimed they had “disturbed social order” and tried them over Jun 28-29.
They were given prison sentences of eight to 13 years and also fined 50,000 to 70,000 yuan.
Tashi Gyatso and Tsewang, both monks of Namlha Monastery in Sangchu, were jailed for 13 years and fined 70,000 yuan (U.S. $10,008) each.
The report said the two monks were members of the monastery’s democratic management committee and had been appointed by local residents to lead the protest.
The 10 accused persons were arrested in 2019 after their failed attempt to block the construction of a slaughterhouse and their demand for compensation for Tibetans whose land had been taken for the project.
Four of them – Nyingchak, Gyal-lo, Sonam Gyal, and Takthar Gyal – were jailed for nine years and fined 50,000 yuan each, with the remaining four—Tenpa Gyatso, Tamdin Dorje, Tamdin Tsering, and Choepa Tsering—jailed for eight years and fined 50,000 yuan each.
All were reported to have pleaded not guilty to the charges of obstructing government construction projects and “causing social disturbances.”
Against the apparent accusation that the monks had misappropriated a partial compensation amount paid by the Hui Muslim owners of the slaughterhouse, the monks have told the court in a televised proceeding that the money had gone to the monastery.
Another accused person, an elderly person named Gyal-lo, is shown pleading ignorance of any rules he and the others, all aged 50-70, might have broken and seeking clemency.
The report said that after failing to block the construction of the slaughterhouse at Barka Thang township in Sangchu County, local Tibetans had protested over several years to demand compensation for land lost to the project and damage to structures along a road being built, including cracks in the walls of a local restaurant.
Although the case concerned with the controversial project involved interests not only of local Tibetans but also of Chinese officials, Chinese business owners, Chinese workers, and Hui Muslims, it was just the 10 Tibetans who ended up being given harsh sentences.