GANGTOK, 21 Nov: Three Chinese diplomats were in Gangtok recently to expedite the release of fellow Chinese citizen languishing in the State Jail at Rongyek here. It is now learnt, and verified, that the sole purpose of their visit was to arrange for the release of the trader from Tibetan Autonomous Region taken into custody at Sherathang trade mart and now facing trial on espionage charges in Sikkim. The matter is now in the Courts. Media reports coming out of New Delhi had suggested that the diplomatic delegation was in Sikkim to reaffirm China’s acceptance of Sikkim’s status as an Indian state. This was obviously not why the delegation was here.
During their daylong visit to Gangtok on 19 November, the diplomats visited the state jail and met with Langki Jiancen, the 20-year-old who is in custody under the Official Secrets Act for having allegedly taken photographs of restricted areas at the border while travelling in these parts as a trader engaged in border trade.
In fact, what prompted the diplomats, who had arrived from the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi, was the report suggesting that Mr. Jiancen had opted not to be pushed back to China. When produced before the courts at Gangtok in late October he had been further remanded to judicial custody for a period of 2 months.
Interestingly, the accused had reportedly made known that he was not in favour of being deported or pushed back into China.
The refusal to be pushed back, as reported, must probably stem from the unpleasant prospect of being grilled for days on end by Chinese authorities on the other side once he is pushed back into Tibet. While the court is yet to give its final order it is being speculated that the plan of the Chinese national is to be ‘handed over’ to one of the Tibetan associations in the state for ‘deportation’ via Rangpo and eventually end up in Dharamsala.
The Chinese delegation from the Embassy are required to check in on their citizens caught in situations as Mr. Jiancen finds himself in, assure his return and more importantly report back to Beijing on the status as well as the efforts put in by them to secure their citizen. The three-member delegation included Minister Counsellor Fan Fei; Second Secretary, Hao Jian and Second Secretary, Jian Zhen.