DHARAMSALA, April 8: Tibetans in Dharamsala on April 7 marked the 12th anniversary of the arrest of Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a renowned Buddhist teacher sentenced to life imprisonment by the Chinese government.
As part of the “Global Day of Action for the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche” being observed across the world, Students for a Free Tibet-India and students of Tenzin Delek rinpoche organized a photo action at the main temple where 30 nuns from Dolmaling nunnery sat on a day long hunger strike.
Later in the day, an evening talk and a video screening was held at the TCV Day School to mark the occasion.
“Tenzin Delek is an innocent man. We came to know that his health condition has deteriorated in prison and is critical. Every day he spends in prison is one day too many,” said Geshe Nyima, a student of Tenzin Delek.
“Today, on the Global Day of Action for the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Tibet campaigners and supporters are coming together with his family and students across the world to create the public attention this campaign deserves. Today is a one-day global action call, and this is an ongoing campaign that we will work on over the year,” said Dorjee Tseten, Asia Director of Students for a Free Tibet-India.
On April 7, 2002 Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was arrested on alleged charges of being involved in a bomb blast on April 3, 2002 at the central square Chengdu, Sichuan’s provincial capital.
Chinese authorities sentenced him to death in December 2002 along with his 28-year old assistant, Lobsang Dhonsup. Lobsang was executed almost immediately in late January 2003, marking the first execution of a Tibetan for political crimes in 20 years. Trulku Tenzin Delek’s sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment on 26 January 2005. Supporters of Trulku Tenzin Delek still continue to fight for a fair retrial.
Trulku Tenzin Delek is also widely known for his efforts to develop social, medical, educational and religious institutions for Tibetan nomads in eastern Tibet. He is also an ardent advocate for environmental conservation and had challenged indiscriminate Chinese logging and mining projects on many occasions in the past.