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Rights Groups, Tibetan Exile Government Condemn China Execution of Activist - 2003-01-28


Human rights groups and the Tibetan government-in-exile are condemning China's execution of a Tibetan activist who was convicted of taking part in a series of bomb attacks in southwestern China last year.

The exiled government in Dharamsala, India, expressed profound regret over the death Sunday of 28-year-old Lobsang Dhondup. The London-based Free Tibet Campaign said that by carrying out Mr. Dhondup's death sentence in secrecy and haste, Beijing showed its determination to quash political opposition.

Chinese officials said Lobsang Dhondup was executed shortly after a court upheld his December conviction for a series of bombings that China said were meant to promote Tibetan independence. The attacks took place over the last two years. The most recent, in April, killed at least one person in Sichuan, which borders Tibet.

In Washington, a State Department spokesman said the Bush administration joins the international community in raising concerns about the execution of Mr. Dhondup. He said it is not clear whether China adhered to international standards of due process in either case.

Mr. Dhondup was accused of having assisted 52-year-old Buddhist monk Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche, who also was condemned to die but was given a suspended sentence.

The same Chinese court rejected Mr. Deleg's appeal on Sunday. Suspended death sentences are usually commuted to life imprisonment in China. Human rights groups have argued that the two men did not a get a fair trial.

Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche has said China wrongly accused him of being involved in last year's blasts because he is sincere and devoted to the interests and well-being of all Tibetans.

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