Name: Gonpo Tserang
Status: Serving a three years in prison
ARRESTED FOR TEXTING AND EMAILING NEWS ABOUT THE SITUATION IN TIBET.
Gonpo Tserang is a well-respected expedition guide with much experience of leading foreign celebrities on treks in Tibet and for participating in high profile mountain rescue efforts. In 2009 he was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of “inciting separatism”, for sending information by text during the 14 March 2008 protests in Lhasa.
The Dui Hua Foundation obtained documentation about the indictment and verdict, which read that the “defendant Gonpo Tserang used the internet to deliberately fabricate rumors, distort the true situation and incite separatism”. It also stated that such acts are deserving of severe punishment. The content of the messages sent by Gonpo were not specified.
It appears that Gonpo Tserang was not represented by a lawyer at the hearing; lawyers in China are reluctant to take on criminal defense work in political cases due to threats of serious consequences to their profession. This is particularly true in cases involving Tibetan political prisoners.
The case of Gonpo Tserang illustrates the extent to which the Chinese authorities are engaged in monitoring communications between Tibetans and outsiders. The severity of the monitoring and the potentially severe consequences explain the caution of many Tibetan who are discouraged from reporting to the outside world what they have experienced and witnessed.