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US `concerned` about Tibetan monk sentence

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 12:49

Washington: The United States Wednesday voiced
concern about China`s 11-year sentence to a Tibetan lama over a young monk`s self-immolation and urged Beijing to address grievances in the region.

The State Department in a statement questioned whether
China followed either international or its own legal standards
when the court handed down the sentence, which followed
Tibetan protests against Beijing`s rule.

The State Department said it was "concerned" by the
11-year sentence handed down to a monk named Drongdru, who was
charged with "intentional homicide" for allegedly preventing
the wounded monk from getting medical treatment.

"We urge the Chinese government to ensure transparency
and to uphold the procedural protections and rights to which
Chinese citizens are entitled under China`s Constitution and
laws and under international standards," the statement said.

"To resolve underlying grievances of China`s Tibetan
population, we urge Chinese leaders to address policies in
Tibetan areas that have created tension and to protect Tibetans` unique linguistic, cultural and religious identity," it said.

Kirti monastery, in a largely Tibetan area of
southwestern Sichuan province, has been tense since 2008 when
security forces sealed off the monks in an effort to stop
protests across the region against Chinese rule.

The monk, Phuntsog, died in a hospital after setting
himself on fire on March 16, triggering fresh protests and a
renewed clampdown.

The Chinese court`s verdict contradicted earlier
assertions by rights groups that monks at the Kirti monastery
had rescued Phuntsog from police who began to beat him after
extinguishing the flames.

Phuntsog was the second Tibetan monk to kill himself by
setting himself on fire in recent months. China`s state-run
Xinhua news agency said Phuntsog was 16, but the International
Campaign for Tibet put the monk`s age at 20.


First Published: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 12:49

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