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Human Rights Update 1997

chinese colonisation

On 1 July 1997 Hong Kong’s democratically elected Legislative Council will be replaced by a Beijing backed provisional body. Plans to amend laws so as to ban protests on the grounds of “national security” have prompted grave concerns that Hong Kong will be subjected to many of repressive policies imposed on Tibet. While China has vowed to allow Hong Kong a large degree of autonomy, similar promises were made to Tibet in the 1950’s by the committee overseeing Tibet’s integration into Communist China. As Free Tibet Campaign commented on 24 June, 1997, “Tibet has since been treated much like a …

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A mother’s appeal to see her son

Sonam Dekyi is 59 years old, is suffering from tuberculosis and poor health, and has just one wish before she dies: to see her son, Ngawang Choephel, who has recently been sentenced to 18 years imprisonment by Chinese authorities. Sonam Dekyi fled Tibet in 1968. Heavily pregnant at the time, she made the treacherous journey across the Himalayan mountains with two year-old Ngawang on her back. On the way Sonam gave birth to her second child but the baby did not survive the journey. Sonam had to leave Tibet without her husband. He planned to follow his wife and son …

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Life sentence reduced to 18 years

Lobsang Tenzin, a former student of Tibet University, is also in Powo Tramo. He was arrested on 19 March 1988 having been implicated as the “principal culprit” in the death of a People’s Armed Police officer during the independence demonstrations in Lhasa on 5 March 1988. Lobsang was first given a death sentence but due to strong international pressure this was commuted to a life sentence in March 1991. Lobsang Tenzin was one of the political prisoners who attempted to pass a petition to James Lilley, the U.S. Ambassador to China at the time. According to a former political prisoner, …

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