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Human Rights Update 1997

Harsh new Chinese criminal laws

China announced plans on 6 March to introduce harsh new provisions to its Criminal Law targeted at “terrorist” control in Tibet and Xinjiang. Stressing the need “to deal telling blows at such offences”, the vice chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC), Mr. Wang Hanbin, announced draft provisions that would add up to 10 years in prison to any sentence for homicide, explosion or kidnapping carried out as a terrorist act. Of particular relevance to independence activists in Tibet and Xinjiang is the legal amendment whereby “offenders taking advantage of national or religious problems to instigate the splitting of the …

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Imprisoned nun: I have no fear of dying in prison

Ngawang Rigdrol is a 24-year-old nun. She is currently serving seven years’ imprisonment for taking part in a peaceful demonstration and today is almost completely blind. In mid-June 1992, she carried the forbidden Tibetan national flag during a pro-independence protest around the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. For the first one month and twelve days following her arrest, Ngawang was kept in solitary confinement in Gutsa Detention Centre. During interrogation sessions, she was reportedly stripped naked and tied to a chair. After six months in Gutsa, Ngawang was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and subsequently transferred to Drapchi Prison. In …

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Free Tibet leaflet leads to Chamdo monk’s death

In May 1996 a Chinese “work team” raided the Chamdo monastery for photographs of the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. Finding pro-independence leaflets, three monks connected to this were arrested. One of those monks is now dead, following severe beatings and torture by prison authorities. More than five hundred monks have now been expelled from the monastery. On 30 May 1996, Chinese officials raided the room of every monk in Chamdo Monastery and confiscated all pictures of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. While searching the rooms they also discovered some political leaflets calling for a Free Tibet. Three monks …

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