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Liz Lynne outrage at wave of arrests in Tibet

September 10, 2010 3:22 PM
Originally published by Liz Lynne

LibDem Euro MP Liz Lynne is backing a protest in the European Parliament against a new wave of arrests and trials by the Chinese authorities against Tibetan intellectuals, artists and activists.

Liz Lynne is supporting a declaration highlighting the prison sentence imposed on Karma Samdrup, a sociologist and community worker who exposed illegal hunts of Tibet's endangered wildlife organised by Chinese officials in Chamdo province.

The MEPs backing the declaration say the 15 year prison sentence is part of a wave of repression of artists, campaigners and intellectuals which has not been seen in Tibet since the Cultural Revolution.

Liz Lynne, a longstanding human rights and Amnesty International campaigner, said recent news from Tibet was very worrying.

"Mr Samdrup exposed this outrage of Chinese government officials organising hunts of endangered local wildlife, and was then thrown into prison on a trumped up charge of 'robbing ancient tombs', a claim that even other Chinese officials threw out as unsupported in 1998.

"He and his brothers Rinchen Samdrup and Chime Hamgyal have been tortured for months. We want the authorities to release them immediately and take his prison sentence to an appeal in an independent court.

"The really concerning news that I and many MEPs from different parties want to highlight is that this is not an isolated incident. There are worrying reports that the Chinese authorities have sanctioned a brutal clampdown on Tibetan society, targeting intellectuals and artists in a way not seen since the days of Chairman Mao.

"It is particularly sad as the Dalai Lama has made clear he no longer seeks independence but autonomy and self government for Tibet, which cannot pose any threat to the Chinese state. He has bent over backwards to try to come to an agreement.

"It seems that hardliners are once again in control when it comes to Tibet. We hope that by highlighting this crazy prison sentence and outrageous conduct that the European Union can step up pressure for change."

"China depends on world trade, much of it with EU nations, and this kind of lobbying can work."

The declaration needs to be signed by a majority of Euro MPs to become adopted.

ENDS

NOTE: 0063/2010 Written declaration on the prison sentence handed down to the Tibetan activist Karma Samdrup

The European Parliament, - having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas on 25 June 2010 the People's Court in the province of Xinjiang sentenced the Tibetan sociologist and community worker Karma Samdrup to 15 years' imprisonment and deprivation of political rights,

B. whereas Karma Samdrup had been brought before the court on a charge of 'robbing ancient tombs' - a charge that had already been dropped in 1998 due to a lack of evidence,

C. whereas Karma Samdrup and his brothers, Rinchen Samdrup and Chime Namgyal, have been subjected to torture for a number of months, having aroused the displeasure of the authorities in Chamdo by accusing officials at the local Public Security Bureau of organising illegal hunts for animals threatened with extinction,

D. whereas these sentences form part of a new wave of arrests and trials targeting, for the first time since the Cultural Revolution, Tibetan intellectuals, activists and artists,

1. Calls on the Chinese authorities to release Karma Samdrup and his brothers immediately and to have Karma Samdrup's case reviewed by an independent court;

2. Calls on China to abide by its human rights obligations;

3. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Council and Commission and to the parliaments of the Member States.