Procuratorate flees Tibet to learn the truth

Lhakpa Tsering, 24 years old, from Toelung Dechen Dzong, near Lhasa, was one of the staff at the Dzong (county) Procuracy Office (the Chinese governmental office responsible for investigating and prosecuting criminal cases), earning a salary of 670 yuan (around US$ 85) per month. He confirms the much-reported futility of the Chinese appeal sytem in Tibet and reveals why, despite his well-paid, privileged position in the Chinese administration, he felt compelled to leave Tibet in May 1997.

“I was able to attend a Lobchung (primary school) for five years in Tibet, a Lobdring (secondary school) in China for three years and then for three years I studied law in a special technical secondary school.

“In 1993, after completing my studies, I returned to Tibet to work as a procuratorate. There were 12 other staff in my office, all Tibetan except for the Chinese office head. Cases of political prisoners did not come under my category but I know that the procedure of appeal is useless. The appeal system exists solely for the sake of formality and has never been successful.

“I did not agree with the attitudes of Communist China but to be honest I had no personal problems with Chinese. I was fortunate compared with other Tibetans to have received education and my post as a procuratorate meant that I enjoyed a lot of facilities.

“But it pained me immensely that I hadn’t been educated about Tibet. There are so many youngsters in Tibet who do not know the real history of Tibet. Ever since I was able to think and act for myself, I could not bear what was happening to my country. Especially after reading books on Tibet and listening to the VOA, I felt I could no longer tolerate being a Tibetan in Tibet.

“In Tibet, when riots or protests break out, the media plays a manipulative role. I had previously felt that the Chinese were justified in punishing the monks as in Tibet we are always shown television broadcasts of monks indulging in mob-like activities such as throwing stones at the police. When I came to India I saw a video tape of the same incident but this time I saw monks being beaten by groups of policemen or being thrown off the roof of the Tsuklakhang (Lhasa’s main temple). I was so sad and distressed because I had never before seen such things.”

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