Samdhong Rinpoche

Samdhong Rinpoche

The Chairman of the Tibetan Cabinet, Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche, has asked China to release three who were reportedly arrested in Lhasa on June 16, 2003. In a statement on June 27, 2003, Rinpoche urged “the international community to impress upon China to ensure that they are given the right to a free and fair trial. ” He also called for the release of 19 Tibetans detained in Nepal.

On June 26, 2003, Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan service reported that three Tibetans identified as Lhasa City Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) member Yeshi Gyatso, Dawa Tashi and Buchung (both students at Tibet University in Lhasa) were arrested in Lhasa after being accused of “activities to split the motherland.” RFA based its report on “sources who asked not to be identified.”

The Tibetan Department of Information & International Relations said in its statement, “Involvement in activities to split the motherland,” is “a general and ambiguous term that covers everything from the exercise of free expression to possessing a photograph of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”

Rinpoche said, “We urgently urge the Chinese authorities to release the three Tibetans who were arrested in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa in the morning of 16 June. We would also urge the Chinese authorities to ensure that the three Tibetans are given a free and fair trial and that they are not mistreated while under police custody.”

Rinpoche also referred to the report of detention of 19 Tibetans by Nepali authorities on June 17. “Rinpoche has urged the royal government of Nepal to release into the custody of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the 19 Tibetans the Nepalese police has detained on 17 June in the western district of Achham. Kalon Tripa urges the Nepalese authorities not to hand these Tibetans back to Chinese authorities as they have done in the case of 18 Tibetans who were deported to Tibet on 31 May this year,” the statement said.