China: Stiff sentences to Tibetan agitators

So far nearly 30 Tibetans, mostly monks, have attempted self immolations in Sichuan and other areas.

Beijing: Chinese courts have handed down stiff sentences to 11 Tibetan agitators who took part in the recent protests even as self immolation attempts by Buddhist Monks calling for return of Dalai Lama continued in Tibetan areas.

Eleven people have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from three to 13 years for recent acts of violence and vandalism in southwest China`s Sichuan province, according to statements issued by local courts.

In one case, a man named Paldol and six others were convicted of robbery and vandalism in Chaggo county, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the statements as saying.

Paldol and his accomplices used stones and wooden sticks to attack a local credit cooperative, a police station, an office building, a police vehicle and a China Mobile store, the county court heard, they said.

In another case, a man named Tseyang and three others were convicted of inciting public disorder and using force to obstruct public servants in Serthar county, they said.

Their actions seriously disrupted public order and prevented local stores from engaging in business, the county court ruled.

The protests took place in January this year. According to overseas Tibetan groups, three protestors were killed and several injured in clashes between police and protesters then.

So far nearly 30 Tibetans, mostly monks, have attempted self immolations in Sichuan and other areas calling for the return of Dalai Lama from his self exile in Dharamsala.

According to International Campaign for Tibet, a 20-year-old Monk who was prevented from committing self immolation in Sichuan province last week died three days ago sparking protests in the area.

The report has not been officially confirmed. The Chinese government has accused the "Tibetan government" in exile of orchestrating the protests to separate Tibet from China.

The statements claimed that the "litigation rights of the defendants have been fully safeguarded during the trials and their relatives and local residents were present in the courtrooms during their trials".