Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is a highly respected Tibetan religious leader and community organizer who is currently serving a life sentence in a Chinese prison. Sentenced to death in December 2002 on false charges of exploding bombs and distributing Tibetan independence leaflets, Delek's sentence was lessened to life imprisonment after an international campaign was launched on his behalf in January 2005. Under Chinese law, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche did not receive a fair trial. Now is the time for his case to be re-opened and a proper trial to occur.
On April 27, Chinese officials from the Lithang County police station sought out Rinpoche's two sisters, Sonam Dekyi and Dolkar, in order to arrange for a private meeting between the three in the nearby city of Chengdu. Prior to the meeting, his doctor informed the women that Tenzin Delek was suffering from bone and heart ailments as well as high blood pressure. The sisters were surprised to find their brother fat and healthy and not at all as the doctor had explained. The meeting was photographed and recorded, and the photos later surfaced in the media. This unusual behavior caused suspicion among Tibetans because they feared that the Chinese government might be planning to do bad things.
The sisters told Tenzin Delek that they had gone to the high court in Beijing to fight for his appeal in December. This was to no avail because they lacked proper sentencing documents. Four days after their trip to Beijing, the women returned to discover 10,000 people from Lithang and Nyachukha counties protesting the injustice of Delek's sentencing.
Tenzin Delek encouraged his sisters to continue their efforts as well as personally sending 26 letters to various Chinese government departments. When the letters deemed ineffective, Rinpoche summoned his sisters to fight for a second appeal at the Beijing high court. In order to fight this case effectively, Rinpoche will need an educated Chinese or Tibetan lawyer.
The fight for justice continues today. At the end of May, five Tibetan women (Sonam Dolma, Vodor, Rilril, Amuk, Dhonbe) went to Sichuan province to fight for an appeal. The law states that if a prisoner is unhealthy or has a serious disease then the government is required to release the prisoner for proper treatment. The women demanded this as the Tibetan monk was in bad health prior to his jail time. Ultimately, the government will be held responsible if anything bad happens to Rinpoche.
Chinese Sichuan province authorities responded by saying that they will check the Tibetan monk's health and if he has a disease then they will follow the rule of law. But, results are still pending.