Since the March 2008 unrest in Tibet, at least 50 Tibetans have been arrested – and in some cases sentenced to long jail terms – for sending reports, photos or videos abroad. The latest to be convicted is a netizen called Dasher who has been given a 10-year prison sentence on a charge of “separatism” for sending reports and photos of the March 2008 protests.
“The repression has never stopped since the March 2008 uprising in the Tibetan regions,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This persecution of Tibetans who take risks to send evidence of the human situation abroad is a tragic illustration of the state of exception that reigns in Tibet. We call for their immediate release.”
Dasher was convicted and sentenced by an intermediate court in Lhasa in late February. The exact date of his trial is not known. He is currently been held in Lhasa’s Chushur prison.
He has been detained ever since his arrest on 13 March 2008. In other words, nearly two years elapsed between his arrest and trial. It was a representative of the National Democratic Party, a Tibetan exile organisation, who revealed that the real reason for his arrest and conviction was his reports and photos of the protests.
Dasher lived in Nepal before returning to his country of origin. He is the son of Adri Rinpoche, the head of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery who is also being sentenced to a prison sentence by the Chinese authorities.
According to the information gathered by Reporters Without Borders and verified with the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights And Democracy (which is based in India), at least 50 Tibetans have been arrested for sending information out of China. Most of this material was sent via the Internet, which is under very close surveillance in Tibet.
One of the latest detainees is Tashi, a 24-year-old Tibetan from Rata (a village in the district of Sog, in eastern Tibet), who was arrested in mid-February. A Tibetan from the same village told Reporters Without Borders he is accused of having contact with people abroad and watching political videos online. He is currently held in the district of Nagchu.
Gyaltsing, a resident of Sog who was sentenced to three years in prison in December on a charge of “communicating information to contacts outside China” after downloading photos of the Dalai Lama (http://www.rsf.org/More-Tibetans-arrested-in.html), is able to receive family visits but is interrogated every week and is often given beatings.
Tibetan journalists say a campaign of reeducation in Sog has led to the arrest of several Tibetans for refusing to comply with the “Love your religion, love your country” campaign.