From Asia Times Online: “A controversial Tibetan lama – to China he’s a subversive and a terrorist and to many Tibetans a saint and patriot – has been spared execution, a bullet to the back of the head. A Chinese court on Wednesday commuted the death sentence of Lama Tenzin Delek to life imprisonment, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
China, not wanting a martyr on its hands, already had suspended the lama’s death sentence for two years; that period expired this week, and the persisting prospect of martyrdom and the unrest it might generate in Tibet may well have contributed to the decision to commute. International outrage and appeals also may have played a part in China’s decision. Still, a life sentence, even a few years in a Chinese prison, is considered by many to be, in effect, a sentence of death, or suffering and disability. ”