Ti­betan ac­tivist goes on trial in China

The Guardian Weekly - - World Roundup -

13 A Ti­betan lan­guage ac­tivist who ap­peared in a New York Times video has been put on trial in China for sep­a­ratism in pro­ceed­ings dis­missed as a “sham” by rights groups, a sign of in­creas­ingly hard­line at­ti­tudes to­wards govern­ment crit­ics.

Tashi Wangchuk pleaded not guilty to charges of “in­cit­ing sep­a­ratism” dur­ing the four-hour trial in the west­ern Chi­nese city of Yushu, where the state’s main piece of ev­i­dence against him was the nine-minute video, ac­cord­ing to his lawyer, Liang Xiao­jun.

The ac­tivist was de­tained two years ago af­ter ap­pear­ing in the video where he crit­i­cised poli­cies to­wards Ti­betan lan­guage ed­u­ca­tion, at­tempted to sue the lo­cal govern­ment and tried to en­tice China’s state broad­caster, CCTV, to re­port on his con­cerns.

He faces up to 15 years in prison if con­victed. China’s Com­mu­nist party-con­trolled courts have a con­vic­tion rate of more than 99%.

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