Beijing Based Lawyer Tried to Represent Several Tibetan Defendants in Lhasa བོད་སྐད།

Speaking in Lhasa last week, Gong Bao Zhai Xi, Secretary General of the Tibetan Autonomous Region government said 84 people that participated in the riots have been punished, and some given the death penalty.

Gong said, "Altogether 84 people who participated in the riots have been punished by law, among them, some of them have been sentenced to death. People who killed others were punished by law, this is the usual practice in international society, and it is also a part of China's tradition."

Last year, Chinese state television, CCTV showed the protesters in Lhasa being sentenced for their alleged part in the uprising.

Arrests and detentions across Tibetan areas were widespread. Though 80 have been sentenced in quick trials, hundreds remain jailed awaiting trial. The harsh security and invective have served to further alienate many Tibetans and aggravate tensions, according to some Tibetans and Tibet support groups.

The government has never given a complete accounting and details of punishments continue to trickle out. One Beijing-based lawyer, Zhang Tianyong tried to represent several Tibetan defendants in Lhasa, but he said it was not possible to defend their cases.

"Many Tibetans and their families do not want to hire lawyers for their defence, they want to choose their own lawyers, but this is not possible. The court is appointing lawyers for them. In China, especially with this type of sensitive case, and accusations, I have serious doubts that a state appointed lawyer could make a fair defence," he said.

The Chinese flag flutters outside Lhasa's high court, where many of those involved with the uprising in Tibet were sentenced.

But Zhang said that although the verdict of the trial in Lhasa was aired on state television, the questions about many cases in other Tibetan areas remain unanswered.

He said he has travelled to various Tibetan areas to meet with families of those involved, but is still trying to investigate what really happened last March. The judicial system and the media have both been denied access to the truth, said Zhang.

"Not only foreign media, the Chinese media is also barred from the reality of the situation, the lawyers are also denied access to the truth. Up to this moment, I think that me included; no one knows the truth of the process that took place. This is very sad," he said.

This report was provided by APTN.