Friday, June 25, 2010

Legally Demanding Submission

The Chinese government trusts no one.

Today a Tibetan man was sent to jail for 15 years, who in 2006 was praised by CCTV as "philanthropist of the year" for giving items from his art collection to state-owned museums. Karma Samdrup, 42, was convicted of robbing tombs and dealing in looted relics.

His lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang said the evidence was faked and the court did not provide a proper translator. Samdrup's wife claims he was beaten during his six-month custody and had lost a lot of weight.

"Tibetans do not touch coffins or corpses, they advocate sky burials, water burials, but not earth burials," Pu explained. "Also, robbing graves is taboo for them," he told the AFP.

The charges apparently date back to 1998 but there was no reason given why the police was pursuing them now.

Many believe the trial was to punish Samdrup for defending his two brothers who had publicly berated a local police chief who hunted endangered species on a Tibetan reserve.

Samdrup is the most high-profile Tibetan to be jailed in the past two years, and it sends a chill among Tibetans who had thought those who towed the party line were safe.

Apparently more than 50 Tibetan intellectuals who are not political activists have also been detained.

Even though Samdrup had a high-profile lawyer from Beijing, that wasn't enough to give him a fair chance.

"I felt like this was not a real trial, but that they just went through the motions to reach a predetermined verdict," his wife Zhenga Cuomao said.

During the trial Samdrup told the judge how there were days he was not given food or water, and that he was soaked in cold water in the dead of winter. "He never signed the confession because he knows he is innocent," Zhenga added.

This continual persecution of people on trumped-up charges just shows how desperate the government is in keeping its grip on power. It demands absolute obedience from its people, while it manipulates the legal system to its own ends. How can anyone continue to have faith in an institution like that?

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