Mainland Chinese Writer Comments on Trulku Tenzin Delek's Trial

Wang Lixiong

A Living Buddha, who is revered highly by the local populace, masterminded seven terrorist incidents. This is the year’s most important case to be solved by the Public Security Bureau of Ganze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan.

The Living Buddha’s lay name is Ahan Zhaxi (Pinyin transliteration of Ngawang Tashi). His ordination name is Tenzin Delek. He is known also as Aten Phuntsok. He was recognized as a Living Buddha in India in the 1980s.

But the Chinese authorities have never recognized him as a reincarnated lama, and insist on referring to him as Ahan Zhaxi. So far, the court has not made a final ruling on his case. Nevertheless, the Ganze Prefecture has already begun the campaign of accusation and persecution against him.

The story surrounding the case goes like this. On 3 April, there was a bomb attack in the main square of Chengdu City. Ahan’s distant relative carried out the explosion. This man had been Ahan’s attendant in the past. He testified that Ahan had directed him to carry out the attack.

Subsequently, on 7 April, the police arrested Ahan and interrogated him, in the course of which Ahan confessed to having masterminded this and six earlier unsolved cases of bomb blasts in Ganze. The matter would have ended there had not the local populace of Ganze accused the authorities of floating a one-sided story.

I have visited Ganze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture many times, and have long known Ahan Zhaxi. I also came to know first-hand about the enormous prestige he enjoyed among the Tibetan populace of southern Ganze. Ahan had visited pastoral and agricultural areas to give spiritual teachings. He was involved in a number philanthropic activities, including the opening of schools for orphans, helping the old people who had no family to support them, building roads and bridges, environment protection, and campaigns against

smoking, drinking, gambling, taking of life, etc.

Those who have given up these vices after receiving his teaching look up to him as a father who had given them a new lease of life. I visited Ahan in the past and was strongly impressed by his Spartan lifestyle. He used for himself very little of the offerings he received from his devotees. Naturally, when I heard the story of his having masterminded the bomb blasts, I could not believe it, far less those who revere him.

Being always on bad terms with the local authorities and the Public Security Bureau, Ahan had to flee twice earlier to hide at the homes of local Tibetans. This prompted a petition on, bearing tens of thousands of signatures and thumb impressions of the local people, on his behalf. The petitioners' delegation traveled to Beijing and demanded the Central Government protection for Ahan. As a result, the local authorities were unable to lay hand on Ahan. Now the bomb blast has presented them with just the opportunity for which they had waited so long, the opportunity to punish him. A massive number of local people are cynical: Isn’t this a case of the framing of an innocent man? On the one hand, the authorities are now able to humiliate Ahan. On the other hand, the local Public Security Bureau is able to show the result of their investigation of the long unsolved cases.

This is the case of killing two birds with one stone. That Ahan confessed to the charge is not difficult to understand if one has even a modicum of understanding of the Communist establishment, in which it is easy to extort confession by tormenting the mind and body. The Chinese Communist Party’s history is replete with countless cases of innocents being found guilty. How can you convince anyone that this will not be repeated now ?

I cannot say with absolute certitude that Ahan was wrongfully convicted.

Although I had met him in the past, we "can know only the physical appearance, not the mind." Having said this, I am firmly convinced that this is the case of manipulation in the black box. I believe Ahan should be given the opportunity and right to defend himself in public. Moreover, people should be given the right to suspect, question and investigate the matter. Speaking for his superiors, the head of Nyagchu township issued the following threat to the populace: "Whoever speaks in favour of Ahan will be treated as guilty as Ahan himself." Under such a circumstance, even if Ahan Zhaxi is really guilty, these thousands of people will never believe the ruling. Moreover, this incident will go down as a history of Chinese government’s oppression of Tibetans.

This article was written by Wang Lixiong, one of China’s foremost Tibet researchers. Although posted on 5 December by a friend on, it was evidently written much earlier. This is a translation of the Department of Information and International Relations’ Dharamsala (India). Translation of the original in Chinese.)