SAN FRANCISCO (September 14, 2020) — According to a reliable Chinese government source, nine Tibetans have been convicted of inciting splittism by the Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture Intermediate People’s Court in Sichuan Province since the end of June 2020.
Three of the Tibetans were also convicted of arson in a case first heard by the court in 2019.
Aside from their names in Chinese characters, the names of the crimes for which they were convicted, and the dates of their judgments, little else is known about those convicted. Their ages, genders, the time and reasons for their arrest and trial, and the length of their sentences remain unknown at this time. It is not known if the cases are related to each other.
Unless those who have been convicted appeal their endangering state security convictions – which is rare in minority areas – all nine will be sent to serve their sentences in Sichuan prisons in the coming months.
The table below summarizes Dui Hua’s findings:
As a crime, inciting splittism falls under the category of endangering state security. The penalty for inciting splittism is stipulated in Article 103(2) of the Criminal Law:
Whoever incites others to split the State or undermine unity of the country shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years, criminal detention, public surveillance or deprivation of political rights; the ringleaders and the ones who commit major crimes shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years.
According to Article 56 of the Criminal Law, convictions for endangering state security also carry a supplemental sentence of deprivation of political rights.
The penalty for arson, which is a crime of endangering public security, is set out in Article 114 of the Criminal Law:
Whoever commits arson, breaches a dike, causes explosion, spreads poison or uses other dangerous means to sabotage any factory, mine, oilfield, harbor, river, water source, warehouse, house, forest, farm, threshing ground, pasture, key pipeline, public building or any other public or private property, thereby endangering public security but causing no serious consequences, shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years but not more than 10 years.
Dui Hua has recorded 48 convictions of Tibetans for inciting splittism in its Political Prisoner Database since 2016.
Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is a predominantly Tibetan area in western Sichuan Province that borders on the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The Ganzi Intermediate People’s Court tries cases of endangering state security, among other serious crimes, in the entire prefecture. The court is known for having sentenced Lobsang Dhundop to death, and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche to death with two-year reprieve in 2002.
Individuals and organizations that have information on these convictions are invited to contact Dui Hua at duihua (at) duihua (dot) org. This statement will be updated on our website as new information is received.