December 3, 2004
Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama appealed to Chinese authorities
not to execute Tibetan monk Tensin Deleg Rinpoche, whose death sentence was
suspended for a two-year period which expired Thursday.
"I hope as in the past in some cases the Chinese government and concerned officials will reconsider the death sentence. I hope they reconsider the decision," the Dalai Lama said in the southern Indian IT hub of Bangalore.
Tensin Deleg, 52, was sentenced to death in December 2002 along with Lobsang Dhondup, a 28-year-old activist, for an April 2002 bomb attack in Sichuan's capital Chengdu in which one person was killed and another injured.
They were also found guilty of further explosions in the Ganzi region of west Sichuan.
Both men denied the charges and the case prompted an international outcry.
Lobsang Dhondup was executed in January 2003 but Tensin Deleg was given a two-year suspended sentence.
Suspended death sentences in China are often reduced to life imprisonment but Tibetans are treated differently due to the politically sensitive nature of Tibet.
In New Delhi three Indian MPs along with their counterparts from the Tibetan government-in-exile, headquartered in the north Indian hill resort of Dharamshala, tried to march to the Chinese embassy to hand over a memorandum seeking the monk's release. They were stopped by police.
Later, police briefly detained the Tibetan MPs but allowed the Indian lawmakers to drive to the embassy where mission staff refused to accept the memorandum. They instead asked them to leave it under the building gate, Thupen Chewang, one of the MPs, told AFP.
"We are greatly concerned by the human rights violations in Tibet and in particular, the expiry of the reprieve period of death sentence on a peaceful Buddhist monk," the memorandum said.
"We appeal to you to immediately release Tensin Deleg forthwith and unconditionally," it added.
India has hosted the Dalai Lama and officials of the Tibetan government-in-exile since the spiritual leader fled Tibet in 1959 amid a failed uprising against Chinese rule.