At a secret trial in Lhasa, Dorje Tashi (born 1973) was found guilty of unspecified charges and sentenced to life in prison. The millionaire hotelier, tourism entrepreneur, and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) member has not been seen or heard of since his arrest.
Sources inside Tibet told Radio Free Asia that Chinese authorities searching Dorje’s house found a letter from Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, thanking him for a donation of 20 million RMB (2.94 million USD). A source later said that this letter was kept hidden in a vase at his home.
For Dorje, such a donation would highlight his religious devotion; for the Chinese authorities, it is a separatist act of treason. In Tibet, the Chinese Communist Party has banned the teachings of the Dalai Lama, and has made owning any image or writing by the leader a criminal offence.
Fall from grace
Dorje Tashi was considered a concrete member of Tibet’s business elite. Alongside thriving business partnerships in the tourism industry, he is the owner of the Yak Hotel, one of the most famous hotels in Lhasa.
He joined the CCP in 2003 and was named by the Chinese administration as one of “ten outstanding youth of Tibet”. He also served as a delegate to the National Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a key political advisory body to the Chinese government.
Chinese media have still not reported on the entrepreneur’s arrest. However, sources in Tibet, including the manager of Dorje Tashi’s Yak Hotel, have confirmed that he has been sentenced.