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23march20091Dharamshala: A source from Tibet said Tibetan writer and photographer Mr Gunga Tsangyang was sentenced to five years' imprisonment on Saturday by the Chinese People's Intermediate Court.

Mr Tsangyang, whose pen name is Gangnyi, or 'Snow Sun', was convicted on three counts, in the Amdho area of south Guangzhou Province, Tibet. He faced charges of writing 'splittist' articles, breaching national security, and communicating with Shingsa Rinpoche, an exiled Buddhist leader who lives in south India.

The arrest was apparently made because of political essays Mr Tsangyang published on the website Zindris, or 'Jottings'.

Mr Tsangyang, whose work is much admired by his countrymen and women, was born in Golog County, eastern Tibet. He became a monk at Lungkar monastery, later studied at Beijing University, and worked for the Nyenpo Yutsae Kyekham environmental protection group in Golog County.

At the time of his arrest in March this year, Mr Tsangyang, age 20, was studying at Labdrang monastery, south Guangzhou Province. Golog Jigme, the assistant of imprisoned Tibetan film-maker Dhondup Wangchen was arrested alongside him.

A Mr Kunchok Tsepel, the founder of the influential Tibetan literary website, Chodme (‘Butter-Lamp’, www.tibetcm.com) from Machu County, south Guangzhou Province, was also convicted on Saturday, for breaching national security. He was sentenced to 15 years.

Since last March, about 223 Tibetans have died, four been executed and over 1,294 been seriously injured, at the hands of the Chinese authorities. Additionally, over 4,657 have been arrested, 371 received prison sentences, and over 990 simply disappeared.

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