A Chinese court on Tuesday sentenced Ronggye A'drak eight years for "inciting to split the country" after he spoke at a gathering in support of the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet, Xinhua news agency reported.
Ronggye A'drak was convicted of subversion earlier this month after taking the stage at a horse racing festival in August to call for the exiled Buddhist leader's return.
Chinese army and government officials seated nearby sat dumbfounded as the 52-year-old whipped up the largely Tibetan crowd in the traditionally Tibetan town of Lithang in western Sichuan province with shouts of "Long live the Dalai Lama."
In a separate report, Xinhua said the Ganzi court also sentenced three other Tibetans to prison, Lubo received 10 years in prison, Jacmyang Goinqen was sentenced to nine and Lutog was given three years charges that they were "spying for overseas organizations" and trying to split Tibet from China.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) strongly condemns the sentencing of Ronggye A'drak and the three other Tibetans as their freedom to opinion and expression does not violate any of the constitutional components of Chinese law. TCHRD is gravely concerned for the fate of Ronggye A'drak, Adruk Lopoe, Kunkhen and Lothok and would like to seek immediate intervention by the governments and the international community. Since their activities constitute nothing more than an expression of their opinion, thought and exercise of their basic human rights peacefully, TCHRD calls upon the Chinese authorities to release them unconditionally.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and TCHRD.