Punitive sentences for "separatism"

24th September 2014

China makes examples of Tibetan and Uyghur activists

Chinese courts have sent a powerful signal to its "minorities" that any expressions of discontent with Chinese rule will be mercilessly dealt with.

Tibetan protester silenced

21-year-old Lobsang Gendun has been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison following a solo protest in July last year. His protest, in which he called for the long life of the Dalai Lama and for the freedom of Tibet, was particularly embarrassing for the authorities because took place during official celebrations marking the 92nd anniversary of the Communist Party of China. A monk from Drongsar Monastery in the Tibet Autonomous Region, Lobsang Gendun was held incommunicado for a year following his arrest and at his court appearance claimed he had been tortured during his detention.

Life sentence for academic

On 23 September, the leading defender of the rights of the Uyghur minority in China was jailed for life after being convicted of separatism. Ilham Tohti was widely viewed as a moderate and an advocate for dialogue and when taken from the courtroom, to begin his sentence called out "it's not just". His sentence was far longer than many observers had expected. Uyghurs are a mainly Muslim group who live in Xinjiang province, north of Tibet. They face many of the same problems as Tibetans, economic marginalisation, restrictions on religious freedom and the suppression of their human rights. Many Uyghurs seek independence from China while others campaign for the protection of their rights. Ilham Tohti denies the charges against him. Unlike in Tibet, Xinjiang has seen significant violent resistance to China in recent years, with many Uyghurs and members of the security forces killed.

Take action

Contact the foreign minister of your country to demand they speak out about the abuse of human rights in Tibet and China.