China sentences Tibetan NGO Worker to Life in Prison བོད་སྐད།

An Australian medical group working to stop the spread HIV in Tibet, said it had not heard from one of its staffers since march protests.

A Tibetan who worked for the Burnet Institute's Center for International Health, has been sentenced to life imprisonment and six other Tibetans to long prison terms for allegedly passing on information about the situation in Tibet.

According to a report published in the Chinese press. Wangdu, a former Project Officer for an HIV/AIDS program in Lhasa run by the Australian Burnet Institute, was charged with “espionage” by the Lhasa City Intermediate People’s Court. Three other Tibetans were sentenced from 10 to 15 years for “providing intelligence” to the “Dalai clique”, including two exile Tibetan NGOs named in the official report, and a second former NGO worker sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.

China has long been wary of nongovernmental organizations, fearing they might be acting as agents for foreign governments or encouraging defiance of the Communist Party. Groups working with Tibetans have to be careful to maintain a nonpolitical stance for fear of being evicted from the region, where China restricted access by foreigners for months after the protests.

The Washington, D.C.-based International Campaign for Tibet criticized the recent prison sentences in a statement Monday.

"The sentences are unprecedented in their severity for Tibetans accused of passing on information to people outside Tibet," it said.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and ICT.