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Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet says "China has his blood on its hands"
London — Tibet Society is greatly saddened and outraged by the news of the death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche who died in a Chinese prison on 12 July. "Tibet Society condemns the Chinese government for not releasing Tenzin Delek Rinpoche on medical parole after an application was submitted by his family in 2014 and subsequent requests were made by numerous governments, including the UK during the April UK-China Human Rights Dialogue," the Tibet Society of the UK said in a statement on Monday.

"The death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche exposes the true nature of the Chinese government's attitude towards Tibet," said Fabian Hamilton MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet. Mr Hamilton, who raised Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's case during a parliamentary debate on 18 June 2015, added, "China has disregarded the concerns of the international community over Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, flouted universally-accepted norms on legal processes during his case and refused medical parole despite his serious illness. Now China has his blood on its hands."

Philippa Carrick, CEO of Tibet Society said, "Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was an influential community leader whom the Communist Party could not control. Rather than work with him to bring progress and raise standards within local society, the authorities framed him for a crime he did not commit and then left him to die in prison. To China, enforcing its oppressive ideology and silencing the Tibetan population is of greater concern than human rights or individual lives."

A much respected and popular Tibetan community leader, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche had been serving a life prison sentence. Arrested in 2002 on false charges, he was initially sentenced to death after a trial that Human Rights Watch described as, "procedurally flawed". In 2002, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He was known to be in seriously ill health for a number of years, with a heart condition and high blood pressure. Despite numerous international requests for medical parole over the last 18 months, the Chinese government failed to respond, with tragic consequences.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died on 12 July 2015 in Chuandong prison in Sichuan province. His family were informed of the 65 year-old's worsening condition but arrived after he had died. According to Radio Free Asia, the authorities have not released Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's body to his family.

Tibet Society calls on the Chinese government to officially confirm the death in prison of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and release his body to his family to allow traditional funeral rites. Tibet Society also demands that the Chinese government conducts an official enquiry into Tenzin Delek's death and make the findings public.

Tibet Society has passed on the information to the UK Foreign Office and requested a statement from the UK government condemning the death.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com