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12october20092 Dharamshala: Among the hundreds of Tibetans who were tortured and arbitrarily sentenced to jail for protesting the 50th anniversary of repressive Chinese rule in Tibet last year, two Tibetan social activists received harsh prison sentences of 14 to 15 years from the People's Court in Lhasa, according to information received by the Central Tibetan Administration.

The Chinese Public Security Bureau arrested Migmar Dhondup, aged 36, and Tenzin Choedak, or "Tenchoe", aged 23, at separate locations in connection with the peaceful protests in Lhasa, in March last year.

Migmar Dhondup was sentenced to 14 years in jail on charges of espionage on 27 October.

Tenchoe received a sentence of 15 years in September or October, along with a fine of 10,000 Chinese yen. Tenchoe is currently doing hard labour in Chushul prison, located near Lhasa. Tenchoe was detained by Lhasa's Public Security Bureau days after last year's 10 March protest, by police who claimed to have pictures of Tenchoe taking part in the demonstrations. From the time of his detention until mid-April, Chinese authorities interrogated Tenchoa, using his father's background as a pretext. His father, identified as Mr. Khedup, was active in the Tibetan political scene for many years, until he was compelled to leave for exile in Dharamsala in 1993. The police grilled Tenchoe to determine whether his father had influenced his actions.

Both Tenchoe and Dhondup had engaged in social work in Tibet after completing their education at the Tibetan Children's Village (TCV) in Dharamsala, India.

Tenchoe was born in Lhasa, but came to India around 1990, where he completed his formal education through class 11 at the TCV in Dharamsala. In 2005, he returned to Tibet and worked for a European NGO associated with the Red Cross. He worked on environmental protection projects in many areas, particularly Lhasa and Shigatse.

12october20093Migmar Dhondup was born in the Dingri district in Shigatse Prefecture in 1973. He left Tibet in 1982, was admitted to TCV in Dharamsala, and completed his senior secondary school from TCV Bylakuppe in 1995. He studied business at a college in South India, and afterwards returned to Tibet to dedicate his service to the welfare of the people there. In Lhoka and Lhasa, he worked with local farmers and nomads to improve health conditions and make plans for social development. He also sought support from people in Western countries who took an interest in these projects.

According to information received by the Central Tibetan Administration on 31 August 2009, about 223 Tibetans have died and over 1,294 have been seriously injured since the brutal Chinese reaction to the March 2008 protests. Additionally, over 4,657 have been arrested, 371 have received prison sentences, and more than 990 have simply disappeared.

Source: Tibet.net

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