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Stop pressurising expats, US warns China

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Washington: US diplomats have warned China to stop using covert law enforcement agents on US soil to pressure Chinese citizens into returning home to face justice, often on corruption charges, US officials said.

Placing a law enforcement official here without notifying American authorities is criminal, CNN quoted the officials as saying.

They acknowledged the US and China have a legal cooperation treaty but stressed that it requires Beijing to share evidence and work through the US legal system.

China responded on Monday through its state news agency, Xinhua, saying it was simply fighting corruption with a programme called Fox Hunt 2015.

“China’s operation is legitimate and has been approved in bilateral agreements reached earlier this year,” China said. ” ‘Fox Hunt 2015,’ which targets corrupt officials of government departments and state-owned enterprises, is an important effort of China to crack down (on) corruption.”

Xinhua said US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson promised to actively support China’s “Sky Net” and “Fox Hunt” operations, which aim to bring back corrupt officials.

China apparently issued its statement in response to stories in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal about the US warning.

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John Kirby

State Department spokesman John Kirby addressed the issue in general terms on Monday at a press briefing, saying it’s a criminal offence for “an individual other than a diplomatic or consular officer to act in the US as a law enforcement agent of a foreign power” without notifying the US attorney general.

(IANS)

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Tibetan Activist Sentenced to 5 Years of Imprisonment in China

A Tibetan education activist was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court for inciting separatism, Amnesty International (AI) said, calling the sentence "unjust" and urging his immediate release.

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A Tibetan education activist was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court for inciting separatism, Amnesty International (AI) said, calling the sentence “unjust” and urging his immediate release.

The main evidence against Tashi Wangchuk, who was sentenced by a court in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai province, was a 2015 video by the New York Times about his campaign for saving the Tibetan language, according to his lawyer.

“Today’s verdict against Tashi Wangchuk is a gross injustice. He is being cruelly punished for peacefully drawing attention to the systematic erosion of Tibetan culture,” AI East Asia Research Director Joshua Rosenzweig was cited as saying by Efe news.

Before his arrest, the 31-year-old activist had expressed concern over the fact that many Tibetan children could not fluently speak their native language, contributing to the progressive extinction of the Tibetan culture.

Representational Image: Tibetan Teachings
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Tashi must be immediately and unconditionally released,” demanded AI, pointing out that the activist had already spent two years in detention without access to his family.

Rosenzweig claimed that Tashi Wangchuk “was a human rights defender and prisoner of conscience who used the media and China’s own legal system in his struggle to preserve Tibetan language, culture and identity”.

In the New York Times video, the activist had highlighted “the extreme discrimination and restrictions on freedom of expression that Tibetans face in China today”.

Also Read: An Attempt to Preserve Ancient Tibetan Literature

Non-profit Human Rights Watch (HRW) also criticized the prison term for Tashi Wangchuk, whose “only crime was to peacefully call for the right of minority peoples to use their own language”, a right safeguarded by the Chinese Constitution.

“His conviction on bogus separatism charges show that critics of government policy on minorities have no legal protections,” said HRW China Director Sophie Richardson. (IANS)

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