Eight people were arrested out of a group of around 50 protesters, who gathered outside the Chinese Consulate in Sydney on Wednesday, to protest over the death of prominent Tibetan monk, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who died in prison last Sunday.
The Buddhist monk and leader was arrested in 2002, and was sentenced to death.
Despite many human rights groups and UN experts protesting against the validity and fairness of his trial, his sentencing was changed to life imprisonment in 2005.
Despite Rinpoche’s arrest during a raid in 2002, on charges of orchestrating five bombings, many still believe in his innocence, noting his community efforts in Tibetan culture and identity, and the environment. In 2009, 40,000 Tibetans from Rinpoche’s home province petitioned for a re-trial, proving unsuccessful, and resulting in the arrest of 70. Rinpoche eventually died in Chinese prison last Sunday, one of his last statemen’s being:
“I am not guilty, please appeal for justice for me… Call all people together and do everything possible to help overturn the verdict.”
Upset protestors managed to access the Chinese Consulate on Wednesday through a gate that was opened for an entering truck. One demonstrator removed the Chinese flag from the flag pole.
“They don’t know what exactly is going on in Tibet because the Chinese cut everything. All information is kept secret.”
“They feel so much grief and so much frustration, which is why when they went into the consulate they just wanted to express their emotion and show the Chinese government, especially the Chinese consulate that what they are doing is wrong.”
Tibet previously shared a border with China before it became a territory of the People’s Republic of China in 1950.
The Chinese government has since ruled Tibet with a hard-line approach, particularly towards followers of the 14th Dalai Lama, who escaped Tibet during a rebellion in 1959, with the aid of the CIA, for fear of his life.