Runggye Adak to serve 8 years in prison

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Free Tibet Campaign demands UK denounce the sentence

Runggye Adak, the Tibetan nomad who called publicly for the return of the Dalai Lama, has today been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Adak had been convicted two weeks ago of the crime of "splittism", loosely defined by the Chinese authorities in occupied Tibet as any action or speech which supports the idea of Tibet separating from the Chinese "motherland". (To the Chinese regime, the most dangerous "splittist" of all is the Dalai Lama.)

Adak's conviction for splittism followed his arrest in August after he took to the stage at the Lithang horse festival to call for the return of the Dalai Lama and freedom for Tibet.

Free Tibet Campaign last week delivered thousands of postcards about Adak's plight to Lord Malloch-Brown at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). The group will, at a meeting with FCO officials tomorrow, renew calls for the UK government to officially denounce this harsh sentence.

Free Tibet Campaign said:

"Runggye Adak is an ordinary man who could not be beaten down by nearly 60 years of occupation and oppression by the Chinese authorities in Tibet. He should be celebrated globally for the courage it took to speak out. Instead, heÕs being imprisoned for eight years.
"'Travesty' may be an overused word, but in this instance it is the only word to describe the case. This isn't an isolated incident.
"We hope just one of the athletes who wins a medal in Beijing next year will dedicate it to Runggye Adak."

Free Tibet Campaign is grateful to Norman Baker MP for raising Adak's case and other Tibetan issues in Early Day Motion 216.
(1) Campaign members in the UK will be asked to contact their MPs and urge them to show support for Tibet by signing this EDM.

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Notes to editors:

EDM 216, Detention and Conviction of Runggye Adak, states:

"That this House notes with concern the detention and subsequent conviction of Rongyal Adak, a respected Tibetan nomad, simply for calling publicly for the return of the Dalai Lama to his native country after 48 years in exile; condemns the brutal action of the Lithang police in response to the protests against his arrest, including the use of tear gas and rubber bullets; further notes with alarm the intensifications of effort by the occupying power, China, to suppress the free expression by Tibetans of their religious beliefs; observes that the free access provided to journalists to Tibet by China as part of that country's Olympic bid is not being honoured; and calls on the British Government to raise with the Chinese authorities the case of Rongyal Adak, and to demand that access to Tibet by journalists be allowed unimpeded."

Write to your MP on behalf of Runggye Adak as part of our urgent campaign.
Please make sure to refer your MP to the EDM, giving them the following link:
http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=34318&SESSION=891