Spokespersons for the United States Government, both at the State Department in Washington, D.C., and the American Embassy in Beijing, have expressed concern at the execution of Lobsang Dhondup, saying that he did not receive a fair trial and that the execution raises “serious questions about China’s adherence to its own criminal laws and the PRC’s respect for rule of law.” U.S. officials are “closely watching” reports of 10 other Tibetans detained in connection with this case.
“We join the international community in raising concern over the reported execution of Lobsang Dhondup, and the suspended sentence of Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche,” Amanda Blatt, a spokeswoman for the State Department, told the BBC on January 28, 2003. She also said the State Department was “closely watching” reports that 10 other Tibetans had been detained in the same case.
A January 28 Press Statement from the State Department said, “We’ve repeatedly expressed our concern to Chinese authorities since December about Lobsang Dhondup and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. The secrecy with which these trial were conducted, the lack of due process accorded to these two defendants, and the severity of the sentences are evidence of china’s dismal human rights record.
“China today confirmed that Lobsang Dhondup was executed on January 26 for his role in connection with several bombings in Sichuan province. Chinese courts also upheld a death sentence with a two-year reprieve imposed on Tenzin Delek Rinpoche in connection with the same event.
“A suspended death sentence is often commuted to life in jail. The Chinese foreign ministry repeatedly assured us and other members of the international community that the Supreme People’s Court would review the cases before any sentence was carried out. It is now clear that the Supreme Court review did not take place.
“These issues raise serious questions about China’s adherence to its own criminal laws and the PRC’s respect for rule of law and international legal standards.”
Voice of America (VOA), in a report on January 28, 2003, said, “American officials worry the Tibetans did not receive a fair trial. A U.S. embassy spokesman in Beijing said Tuesday he ‘joins the international community in raising concerns’ over the execution of Lobsang Dhondup and the suspended death sentence imposed on Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche.”
The spokesman told VOA that his embassy had “repeatedly registered deep concerns over the lack of transparency and apparent lack of due process” in the case of the two Tibetans. He adds that China denied an American request to let an observer attend the trial.
China, however, defended the execution, saying that everything was done lawfully. CNN quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokewoman Zhang Qiyue on January 28 as saying, “On the matter of carrying out a death sentence, this is done in accordance with an entire set of regulations and a rigorous investigation process.”
“China is a country ruled by law. China’s judicial departments would handle any case according to the relevant laws,” she said.
“Therefore, our judicial department would deal with terrorists using bombs or any other person posing a security risk in the same manner as any other country.”
The German Government has also questioned the justification of the execution saying, “Lobsang Dhondup’s execution called into question commitments Berlin claims China made to the European Union about keeping it informed of developments in the case,” according to CNN.