Sentenced for protest over land grab
On 11 April 2016, four Tibetans were sentenced for up to three years in prison in connection with their campaign last year to reclaim land confiscated by the state in Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. They have been given parole, however, and will not serve their sentences in prison.
Rinchen Dorjee, Kirti Yeshi and Phurkho were sentenced to two year terms while Jigshi Kyab was sentenced to three years.
In 2010, authorities confiscated the land of around 20 families of Thangkor Village No 2 in Dzoege County, claiming it would be used in a rural development project. However, no work began and authorities leased it out to private individuals. After local authorities repeatedly ignored their appeals, in January 2015, local Tibetans staged a protest outside a provincial government meeting in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province (which is outside Tibet). Following their protest, the local government threatened them with imprisonment if they appealed to higher authorities again.
In April 2015, Jigshi Kyab went into hiding after police came to his home and a fight broke out. He was later arrested. In September 2015, a dozen Tibetans were detained in Thangkor town for re-occupying confiscated land. This week's sentencing follows those arrests.
Tibetan land confiscated
The taking of Tibetan land is a recurring source of grievance and protest in Tibet. Millions of nomads have been removed from their land by China, supposedly for their economic benefit and to protect the grasslands. In reality, nomads in urban environments have difficulty competing for jobs and face social and economic exclusion, while their land is often opened for commercial exploitation such as mining or damming.