On April 29, the Intermediate People's Court in Lhasa sentenced 17 Tibetans to jail for alleged violent behavior during the March 14 protests in Lhasa, according to Xinhua New Agency, China's state-run media. The Tibetan government in exile has called the verdict unfair and stated that it has already requested an international investigation of the incident.
Seventeen Tibetans Sentenced
The Lhasa Intermediate People's Court announced the verdict in an “open trial” attended by 200 people. Seventeen Tibetans, allegedly involved in the protests in Lhasa on March 14, were sentenced to imprisonment for terms ranging from three years to life.
This followed a series of protests in March and April of this year against the communist regime's bloody suppression in Tibet and neighboring provinces.
According to Xinhua, there were 18 innocent civilians killed in the “riots.” The India-based Tibetan government in exile countered the report, saying that the Chinese communist regime's reprisals had cost more than 150 people their lives.
Earlier this month, Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the “Tibet Autonomous Region” government, revealed that by early April 403 people had been arrested for “suspicion of involvement” in the protests.
Thubten: Protests Are Against the CCP, Not Against China or the Chinese People
Thubten Samphel, spokesperson for the Tibetan government-in-exile, stated that the Chinese communist regime is distorting the truth by saying that Tibetans had targeted Chinese immigrants from other provinces. Thubten said that media controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would never report matters that show friendship between Tibetans and Chinese, such as when a young Chinese monk was protected by a Tibetan teacher during the suppression.
Thubten denied the communist regime's accusation that the Dalai Lama had instigated the protests. He added that the actual cause was that the Chinese communist regime had treated Tibetans unfairly.
The spokesperson also indicated that the protests are Tibetans' attempts to resist the failed policy of the Chinese communist regime, not protests against the Chinese people or China.
He is still waiting for detailed information about the charges of which the sentenced Tibetans were convicted. Meanwhile, the Tibetan government-in-exile has requested that the international community organize an independent investigation.
'The Chinese Communist Regime Was the Actual Instigator'
Zhang Jielian, a specialist on China issues, does not rule out the possibility that China's suppression and the verdict announcement might have been intended to impose mental pressure on the Dalai Lama before his possible meeting with the Chinese communist leaders.
According to Zhang, it could also simply be the consequence of internal struggles among Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials. Zhang said that it is possible that the Tibet suppression was a simply a “play” acted out by Hu Jintao's political foes, particularly, the Jiang Zemin and Luo Gang faction, which still manipulates China's legal system through Zhou Yongkang, to create international adversity for Hu Jintao.
Zhang also believes that the Chinese communist regime was the actual instigator of violence because military forces were ordered to shoot civilians. He said police and military forces rushed into Lhasa and opened fire on civilians, accusing Tibetans of instigating unrest. He said that the party who should stand trial is the CCP, the ones who massacred citizens.