Tibetan executed on false charges

A recent arrival from Tibet has reported the execution of 30 year-old Gonpo Tsering who was said by Chinese authorities to have killed a Chinese official during a dispute over the collection of taxes. Gonpo Tsering is from Kamoche village of Bayer Shang in Choni county, now incorporated into the Chinese province of Gansu. One year after he was executed, the same Chinese official who Gonpo had been accused of murdering was seen alive in a town nearby.

The source reported that the Chinese authorities usually came to collect taxes in August or September of every year. In August 1995, three tax officials went to the house of Gonpo Tsering for the collection of tax. Gonpo’s family of eight members was required to pay 50 gyama (approximately 25 kg) of barley per individual as a tax to the Chinese government.

The family paid the total tax of 400 gyama (200 kg) without dispute. Later that same month the Chinese officials returned to Gonpo’s home demanding more taxes and forcibly took half a sack of barley weighing about 50 kg.

In the same month, twelve Public Security Bureau officials stormed into the house for the third time. The officials reportedly seated themselves comfortably and demanded more barley tax. Says the source, “I don’t know why that family was targeted for this harsh tax treatment. I don’t believe it was uniform, but some other families were also targeted with no apparent reason.”

He says that the family pleaded with the officials, saying that they had already paid two lots of tax and that they no longer had enough barley for their own consumption. Despite their appeals, the Chinese officials continued to demand payment and, in the confrontation that ensued, one of the officials hit Gonpo Tsering over the head with a stick.

In retaliation, Gonpo took a knife from the kitchen and slashed the head of an official. The wound was bleeding heavily and Gonpo was arrested on the spot and taken to an unknown destiny.

Two days after Gonpo was taken away, the family was notified to collect his dead body for cremation. His parents were reportedly ordered to bear not only the cremation costs but an additional 200 yuan to cover the cost of the bullets used to shoot their son. “It was known in that area that the family of someone executed by the Chinese authorities must bear the execution cost,” said the source.

The Chinese officials told Gonpo’s family that the wounded official had died two days later and that Gonpo was therefore executed for murder. Says the source, “One year later, that official who had been declared dead due to Gonpo’s actions was seen cycling around the town closest to Kamoche village.”

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