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tenzin-delek-2012Dharamshala: - A worldwide signature campaign launched by Students for a Free Tibet-India on Saturday, April 7,  is calling on China to release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, the imprisoned Buddhist leader of Tibet. Over 45,000 signatures were already registered on websites such as www.freetenzin.org, according to campaigners who have said the Buddhist leader is innocent.

"Today, April 7, 2012, marks the 10th year of injustice of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's imprisonment, Students for a free Tibet network everywhere, we're launching a petition campaign to highlight his cause. So far, website such as http://freetenzin.org, we have managed to collect over 45,000 signatures and we will be forward more signatures, all will be deliver to Mr. Zhou Yongkhang, who was Sichuan party secretary when Rinpoche was arrested on false allegation in 2002," said Tenzin Jigdal, program director for Students for a Free Tibet-India.

"10 years too long; Tibetans escalate campaign for release of innocent Buddhist leader on anniversary of his arrest. Top Chinese official Zhou Yongkhang targeted for his rile in Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's imprisonment," said in a statement released by Student for a Free Tibet-India.

"On the 10th- year anniversary of this arrest, Tibetans and their supporters worldwide have wowed to escalate the campaign for the release of Tenzin Deleks Rinpoche, a highly revered Buddhist leader framed and subsequently imprisoned by Chinese authorities for crimes he did not commit. This week thousands of letters appealing for his release have sent to Zhou Yongkhang, the politburo Standing Committee member who is currently facing speculation of a connection to the Bo Xilai scandal that rocked China last month. Zhou was Sichuan Party secretary in 2002 when Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was arrested for this alleged involvement in a series of explosions in Chengdu; allegations that are unproven to this day," the statement added.

In a global campaign effort today, students for a free Tibet-India is gathering signatures in McLeod Gan and several other Indian cities for a worldwide petition demanding Rinpoche's immediate and unconditional release.

"On this day 10 yeast ago, Chinese authorities arrested Tenzin Delek Rinpoche for the simple fact that he was a Tibetans whose influence was growing because of this social work and community leadership. Rinpoche was since been a prisoner of the Chinese state, and every day he spends in prison is one day too many," said Tenzin Dolkar, Grassroots Coordinator of Students for a free Tibet-India.

Zhuo Yongkhang served as the party secretary of Sichuan from 1999 to 2002, during which time Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was arrested and sentenced to death in a closed-door trial on bombing charges. After a high-profile global campaign to save this life, China commuted his death sentence to life imprisonment in 2004. Shortly after Tenzin Delek's conviction Zhou was promoted as Minister of Public Security. In his current position head of the powerful Central Political and Legislative Committee, Zhou oversees China's security forces and law enforcement institutions and has the authority to order Tenzin Delek's release.

"Zhou boosted his career by overseeing the politically motivated arrest and imprisonment of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a strong advocate of Tibetan cultural and religious rights. Zhou may sit at the top of China's authoritarian hierarchy but he will face escalating global pressure and scrutiny until he orders the release of Tenzin Delek. This innocent monk should suffer one more day in prison," said Tenzin Jigdal. Tenzin Delek is innocent, Zhou Yongkhang is the real criminal responsible for the outright repression of an innocent Tibetan monk, we demand this injustice immediately rectified.

Due to the torture and abuse Tenzin Deleks has suffered in prison, his health has deteriorated in the past ten years. He suffers from a heat conditions and high blood pressure for which he is not receiving medical attention. Rinpoche's relatives, students, and local Tibetans are actively petitioning for the release of their beloved and respected Buddhist leader. In 2009, in a remarkable act of support and bravery, 40,000 Tibetans inside Tibet signed petitions demanding justice for their Buddhist leader.

"The global petition for the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche comes as protests inside Tibet are intensifying with thousands of Tibetans taking to the streets since January 2012. These demonstrations are part of an unprecedented wave of political protests, including 33 Tibetans who self-immolated since 2009 in an effort to bring international attention tot the oppressive realities inside Tibet," it further stated.

"Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is known for his dedication to preserving Tibetan religion and culture and protecting the environment. He built many schools, monasteries, and orphanages in his area, and is an advocate of the Dalai Lama's philosophy of nonviolence. Because of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's influence in his community and his efforts to preserve Tibetan identity, he was an obstacle to the Chinese authorities' control in the region. Over the course of a decade, he was the target of harassment, intimidation, and control by Chinese officials."

Overview
Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a highly respected Buddhist spiritual leader from Lithang county, eastern Tibet, was sentenced to death on December 2nd, 2002 on charges of involvement in a series of unsolved explosions. His co-defendant, Lobsang Dhondup, was executed shortly after. Thousands of people around the world advocated for the release of Tenzin Delek and after years of intense campaigning, his sentence was finally commuted to life imprisonment in 2005.
Human rights organizations around the world believe he was framed because he is viewed by the Chinese government as a threat to their control of Tibet. The Chinese government did not present credible evidence against Tenzin Delek Rinpoche or any of the Tibetans detained in connection with this case. They were denied access to independent lawyers and did not have a fair trial. Now, ten years after his arrest, he is still serving a life sentence for crimes he did not commit.

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