February 6, 2006

China jails Tibetans for railing at Olympics -group

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese court has jailed five Tibetan
monks and nuns for protesting against China's control of Tibet
and demanding the 2008 Beijing Olympics be called off, a rights
group reported.

The Tibetans, from China's western Gansu province, were
arrested in May 2005 for passing out letters calling for
independence for Tibet, the London-based Free Tibet Campaign
said in a statement seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

"Three Buddhist nuns and two monks (were) sentenced
following calls for no Beijing Olympic Games until the Tibet
issue is peacefully resolved," it said.

The five were jailed for terms stretching from 18 months to
three years.

Tibet has been under Chinese control since 1950, when the
People's Liberation Army marched into the vast, mountainous

China calls Tibet an "autonomous region," but critics say
that Tibetans enjoy no real autonomy and that Buddhist monks
and nuns loyal to the region's exiled gold-king, the Dalai
Lama, have been jailed and tortured.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising
in 1959, has renounced the goal of an independent Tibet and
says he only wants more autonomy.

China accuses him of continuing to spark separatist efforts
among the 2.7 million Tibetans and refuses to allow him back
inside its borders.

Overseas activists have previously urged the International
Olympic Committee to warn China its right to host the 2008
Games could be revoked if it does not improve its human rights