Four contestants sign petition for release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

by Tsering Choedup

The four contestants with Tsering Choedup of ITSN

The four contestants with Tsering Choedup of ITSN

The four Miss Tibet contestants Rinchen Choden, Tenzin Namchoe, Tenzin Norzom and Yanchen Metok signed a petition calling for independent legal assistance and a new trial for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche (Chinese name: A'an Zhaxi), a revered religious leader and visionary advocate for Tibetans.

Rinpoche is currently serving a life sentence for allegedly "conspiring to cause explosions" -- a crime he did not commit. He was a very influential person in Lithang, Kham (Ch: Litang, Sichuan Province). Because of the popularity that Rinpoche enjoys, local authorities felt threatened and arrested him in 2002 on false charges.

This morning the girls were given a briefing on the global Tibet movement for nearly two hours. During an interaction session one of the finalists, Miss Tenzin Namchoe, who is pursuing Bachelors of Social work in Bangalore University, said, "I have always wanted to come to India to study". She fled Tibet at the age of 12 and today when she looks back she "feels extremely happy" for the decision she made then.

Members of the International Tibet Support Network are giving one last push to collect as many signatures as possible which then will be sent to Mr. Zhou Yongkang, who was Party Secretary in Sichuan Province when Rinpoche was detained. Mr. Zhou is one of the highest-ranking members of the Chinese Communist Party, with authority for overseeing implementation of the law throughout the People's Republic of China.

Those of you who haven't signed and wish to take part, are requested to go to the following link and make your voice heard: http://www.freetibetanheroes.org/home.php/profiles/tenzin-delek-rinpoche/petition

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