US `concerned` about Tibetan monk sentence
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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.

PTI


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


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