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chabcha-2-13Dharamshala, India: - Eight Tibetan students have been sentenced to varying prison terms for "illegally holding demonstration" by the Chabcha (Ch: Gonghe) County People's Court for taking part in a demonstration that erupted on 26 November 2012 in Chabcha County in Tsolho (Chinese: Hainan: Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province), northeastern Tibet, according to a report published Wednesday on the official China's Tibet website.

According to the report, the county court passed the judgement on 10 April 2013 at around 10 am (local time), sentencing eight Tibetan youths from Tsolho Vocational School in Gonghe County. They were charged of "causing harm to social stability".

Sangye Bum was sentenced to four years in prison, while Kunsang Bum, Lhaten and Jampa Tsering each received three years and six months of imprisonment. Both Wangyal Tsering and Choekyong Kyab were handed three years and three months in prison. The identities of the other two Tibetans who had also been sentenced was not revealed in the report. However, it appears that they were sentenced to three years and six months in prison.

The report said over a hundred students, teachers and representatives of various schools in Tsolho Prefecture and Gonghe County attended the court hearing.

According to Dharamshala based the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the student demonstration in Gonghe County on 26 November last year witnessed an unprecedented number of protesters from local Tibetan schools in the area.

The immediate cause of the protest was the distribution of political questionnaires and propaganda booklets containing vilification of the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and propaganda attacks against self-immolation protests among Tibetan students in Tsolho Prefecture.

The protest lasted for nearly two hours before its suppression by armed police. Many students were injured in the protest as local armed police forces engaged in indiscriminate beatings. There were also unconfirmed reports of police using tear gas shell and gunshots to break up crowds of protesters. An unspecified number of students were detained, with whereabouts of some still unknown.