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China jails Tibetan property tycoon for life time

Posted by Author on August 14, 2010

Jane Macartney, The Times, Via The australian, August 13, 2010 –

CHINA has sentenced to life imprisonment a property tycoon believed to be the country’s richest Tibetan businessman.

Once hailed by authorities as one of Tibet’s top ten outstanding young people, Dorje Tashi, 37, was sentenced on June 26 by the Lhasa Municipality Intermediate People’s Court, Tibetan sources told The Times.

Dorje Tseten, his elder brother, was jailed for six years.

Details of the charges were not available, but if they were political then such secrecy is not unusual in Tibet – where officials are anxious to avoid further unrest.

Many in the deeply Buddhist population resent Beijing’s rule and yearn for the return of the exiled Dalai Lama.

The absence of any reports in China’s state media underscored the possibility that the arrests may have been related to activities deemed political.

However, court sources said that the conviction was based on “illegal business operations” involving Mr Dorje’s Yak Hotel, the best-known and oldest in Lhasa – the capital of the region.

The court confiscated Mr Dorje’spersonal property, estimated to be 4.3 billion yuan ($707 million). He was arrested in March 2008, shortly after an anti-Chinese riot rocked Lhasa, even though he had been praised at the time for supporting the government crackdown and providing supplies to security forces.

Mr Dorje was well known in Lhasa after he founded the popular hotel.

He operated many other enterprises, from property to trading companies, and had close links with Chinese authorities. Shortly after his arrest, however, there were reports that he had made donations to monasteries, or even the Dalai Lama – donations which would have enraged Beijing.

The Australian

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