Exiled Tibetans march against monk’s death in Chinese prison

Shimla, July 22 (ANI): Exiled Tibetans in Shimla held a candle light vigil recently to express their solidarity with a monk who had died in Chinese custody earlier this month.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died on July 12 in the Chuandong Prison in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.

“We are holding candle march here. The Chinese government has not given his (Monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche) body to his family. We demand that his body be given to us,” said leader of Tibetan Youth Congress, Sonam Wangchu.

On Monday, a Tibetan youth climbed atop a pole near the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi and put up a poster of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche demanding justice.

On July 18, Tibetans living-in-exile in India held a large protest in Dharamsala demanding an independent probe into the death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.

The United States, the European Union and international rights groups had called for the release of the 65-yeard-old, who was serving a 20-year sentence on charges of “crimes of terror and incitement of separatism”.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in 2002, according to Students for a Free Tibet, a rights group that has campaigned for his release. The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment and reduced to a term of 20 years.

His body was cremated in the prison on July 16 despite his family wanting the body to be released to perform last rites in his hometown.

China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since troops took over the region in 1950, and those controls often extend to ethnic Tibetan areas in other parts of China.

Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was also a supporter of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader whom China says is seeking to use violent means to establish an independent Tibet.

China fears that any unrest in Tibetan regions could pose a threat to its rule there.

China rejects criticism that it has repressed Tibetan religious freedom and culture, saying its rule has ended serfdom and brought development to a backward region. (ANI)

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