24 Jun 2010

Tibetans Fear a Broader Crackdown

Mr. Samdrup, 42, frail and gaunt after six months in police custody, was marched into a courtroom to face accusations of “tomb robbing,” a charge that had been originally dropped 12 years ago by the police.


His real crime, say friends and relatives, was trying to save his brothers from labor camp and torture — their punishment for accusing a local police chief of hunting protected animals in a Tibetan nature preserve.

Exile groups and rights advocates say the prosecution of Mr. Samdrup and his brothers is part of a broader assault on prominent Tibetans around China, a campaign that has sent a chill through a community that once thought itself immune to the heavy hand of Beijing.

Their cases might have gone unnoticed outside Tibet if it were not for the stature of Mr. Samdrup, a darling of the official media whose organization has won grants from Ford Motor, Friends of the Earth and a foundation run by the film star Jet Li.

Full story at  NYTimes.com