Mine protesters victimised in Driru

24th January 2014

Thirteen year sentence follows protest to protect sacred mountain

Three men sentenced for their alleged role in a mining protest last year are among the latest victims of China's crackdown in Driru County, central Tibet. Choechap, singer Trinley Tsekar and Tselha were sentenced to thirteen, nine and three years respectively in November, in connection with a mass demonstration against Chinese mining on a sacred site on Driru's Ngalha Dzamba mountain in May 2013.

China stamps its authority on Driru

Following the protest mining operations ceased on the site. Tibetans were assured that no legal penalties would follow from their actions. A few months later, the authorities flooded Driru with officials and security forces in an attempt to impose a "political re-education" campaign on the area. After being ordered to fly Chinese flags on their houses, Tibetans threw them into the river. The county has been the scene of intense protests and repression since. In October 2013, security forces fired on a demonstration in Driru. At least 60 Tibetans were injured in the shooting and beatings during the incident.

China breaks its promises

Despite assurances that Tibetans would not face punishment, the three men were arrested in November. A source said: "Chinese authorities did not keep their word. It is rumoured that all the Tibetans who participated in the protest will be arrested. Local Tibetans are living in fear."

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Trinley Tsekar faces the longest jail term of any of Tibet's nine Jailed Singers. Many of them have sung about their concerns for Tibet's landscape and environment under Chinese occupation. action10.jpg