May 27, 2004
Despite a few positive steps, no attempt was made to introduce the fundamental legal and institutional reforms necessary to bring an end to serious human rights violations. Tens of thousands of people continued to be detained or imprisoned in violation of their rights to freedom of expression and association, and were at serious risk of torture or ill-treatment. Thousands of people were sentenced to death or executed. Restrictions increased on the cultural and religious rights of the mainly Muslim Uighur community in Xinjiang, where thousands of people have been detained or imprisoned for so-called "separatist" or "terrorist" offences. In Tibet and other ethnic Tibetan areas, freedom of expression and religion continued to be severely restricted. China continued to use the international "war against terrorism" as a pretext for cracking down on peaceful dissent.
In January Lobsang Dhondup, a Tibetan from Sichuan province, was executed after being convicted after an unfair trial of "causing explosions" and other offences. The authorities stated that his trial was held in secret because it involved "state secrets" without providing further clarification. He was executed hours after his sentence was passed, without his case being referred to the Supreme Court for review as required under Chinese law, and despite official assurances to the USA and the EU that his case would receive a "lengthy" review.
Tibet Autonomous Region and other ethnic Tibetan areas
A series of releases of high-profile Tibetan prisoners of conscience during 2002 was not maintained in 2003, and freedom of religion, association and expression continued to be severely restricted. Contacts between the Chinese authorities and representatives of the Tibetan government in exile apparently failed to result in any significant policy changes. Over 100 Tibetans, mainly Buddhist monks and nuns, continued to be imprisoned in violation of their fundamental human rights, and arbitrary arrests and unfair trials continued.
Choedar Dargye, Gedun Thogphel and Jampa Choephel, three monks from Khangmar monastery, Ngaba prefecture, Sichuan province, were tried in August. They had been arrested for distributing material calling for independence for Tibet, painting a Tibetan flag and possessing photographs of the Dalai Lama. They were sentenced to 12 years in prison. Three others were arrested in connection with the same case. Some sources indicated that they had been sentenced to between one and eight years in prison. One of the three, Jamyang Oezer, was reported to be seriously ill in hospital.
Source: Amnesty International