Chinese government urged to release Tibetan environmental activists | Asia Pacific Greens

Chinese government urged to release Tibetan environmental activists

The Tibetan art collector, Karma Samdup, who founded the Three Rivers Environmental Protection Group, has been arrested charges of robbing graves and stealing cultural artefacts. Photograph:Woeser.middle-way.net
The Tibetan art collector, Karma Samdup, who founded the Three Rivers Environmental Protection Group, has been arrested charges of robbing graves and stealing cultural artefacts. Photograph:Woeser.middle-way.net

Human Rights Watch has called for Karma Sandrup, Rinchen Samdrup and Jigme Namgyal to be released

 Jonathan Watts, Asia environment correspondent,  guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 June 2010 12.45 BST 

Human Rights Watch has called on the Chinese government to release three Tibetan environmental activists who have played a major role in protecting the fragile eco-system on the roof of the world.

The latest person detained is Karma Sandrup, a wealthy Tibetan art collector who founded the Three Rivers Environmental Protection group and campaigned for conservation of the source region for the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang (Mekong) rivers.

His group has won several awards for its work, including the Earth prize, an environmental prize jointly administered by Friends of the Earth Hong Kong and the Ford Motor company.

He was arrested earlier this year on charges of robbing graves and stealing cultural artefacts that were reportedly dismissed by police 12 years ago.

His trial, originally scheduled for 1 June, has been postponed, amid claims that he is being punished for aggressively lobbying for the release of his two brothers.

His siblings – Rinchen Samdrup and Jigme Namgyal – were arrested last August after their separate environmental protection group – Voluntary Environmental Protection Association of Kham Anchung Senggenamzong – sought to expose local officials who hunted endangered animals.

Jigme Namgyal is serving a 21-month re-education-through-labour sentence for "harming national security." The authorities accuse him of illegally collecting information about the environment, natural resources and religion, organising petitions, and providing propaganda material for supporters of the Dalai Lama. Rinchen Samdrup remains in custody without a trial.

"These are test cases for the Chinese government," said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "These people embody the characteristics the government says it wants in modern Tibetans – economically successful, lending support to only approved cultural and environmental pursuits, and apolitical – yet they, too, are being treated as criminals."

The perils faced by environmental activists in China are also evident in the treatment of Wu Lihong, an award-winning anti-pollution campaigner, who said he was beaten by prison guards during a three-year sentence he has just completed.

"A state security official name Xie Lixin lashed me with a willow branch and burned me with a cigarette. A guy named Wang Kewei bashed my head against a wall, and another man surnamed Shen beat me to make me confess," he told the Guardian.

Wu was declared an "environmental warrior" by the National People's Congress in 2005 for his work in trying to clear up the contamination of Lake Tai in Jiangsu Province. He was later jailed on charges of blackmail.

Although civil society in China is tightly controlled, the central government has encouraged green NGOs to expose local authorities and factories that break environmental regulations.

But the state's reach is limited and NGOs are vulnerable to claims by security officials that they are undermining stability.

When the Guardian raised this issue with Zhang Lijun, the deputy minister for environmental protection, he declined to comment on specific cases.

"The Chinese government encourages and supports public support for environmental protection by NGOs," he said. "As long as they follow the law, all levels of government will give them support in their environmental efforts."

------

中国绿党/中华绿党《党章-名称》:
中华绿党是国际性的华人绿色政治联盟,
在中国大陆正式注册中国绿党之前,
中华绿党负责中国绿党的筹建工作。
Freedom Through Truth For Service
欢迎加入中华绿党 :)
温和 进步 清新 务实
——为_公_民_服_务_!
www.chinagreenparty.org
红火中华, 清新绿党!
您的力量, 是新希望!
自由新闻转播论坛:
https://groups.google.com/group/greenpartycn
关于中华绿党有关知识的了解,请访问:
https://groups.google.com/group/chinagreenparty
中华绿党 大众咨询留言板(服务党外):
https://groups.google.com/group/Hi-China-Green-Party
严格的组织保密制度,保障党员人身利益的安全
 欢迎加入中华 绿党 :) 

The Tibetan art collector, Karma Samdup, who founded the Three Rivers Environmental Protection Group, has been arrested charges of robbing graves and stealing cultural artefacts. Photograph:Woeser.middle-way.net