A Tibetan language activist who appeared in a New York Times video has been put on trial for separatism in proceedings dismissed as a “sham” by rights groups, a sign of increasingly hardline attitudes towards government critics.
Tashi Wangchuk pleaded not guilty to the charges of “inciting separatism” during the four-hour trial in the western Chinese city of Yushu, where the state’s main piece of evidence against him was the nine-minute video, according to his lawyer, Liang Xiaojun.
The activist was detained two years ago after appearing in the video where he criticised policies towards Tibetan language education, attempted to sue the local government and tried to entice China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, to report on his concerns.
He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, and the judge said he would deliver a verdict at a later date. China’s Communist party-controlled courts have a conviction rate of more than 99%.