“Documenting 10 Tibetan Writers and Teachers Arrested, Detained or Sentenced By Sichuan Local Authorities” By Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser that was posted on her blog on June 12, 2011. In the blogpost, Woeser lists and provides details about Tibetan writers and teachers targeted by the authorities in Sichuan province, who have been arrested or imprisoned since 2008 and appeals for international support.

For a comprehensive overview of the crackdown on intellectuals and cultural figures all over Tibet since 2008, see this report “A Raging Storm” published last year by International Campaign for Tibet.

The photo shows Tashi Rabten’s Tibetan language publication “Written In Blood” that documented the 2008 uprising in Tibet

“Documenting 10 Tibetan Writers and Teachers Arrested,
Detained or Sentenced By Sichuan Local Authorities” 
By Woeser

This is a documentation that is very difficult to write.

Because these Tibetan writers and teachers were arrested in secret, detained in secret and sentenced in secret, their current status is shrouded in darkness and even their close relatives and friends do not know any details.

Recently, media reported the sentencing of writer Tashi Rabten (pen name: Theurang) to 4 years in prison. It was also reported that on June 2, Tashi Rabten’s relatives received notice that Sichuan Province, Ngaba Prefecture’s Intermediate Law Court sentenced him “on suspicion of inciting separatism”.

Tashi Rabten of Dzoege County, Ngaba Prefecture, Sichuan Province, is now 25 years old. He graduated from North-West University for Nationalities and edited the Tibetan language journal “Shar Dungri” (where various Tibetan intellectuals bravely expressed the truth and their ideas) and he also published a Tibetan language documentation of the uprising in Tibet in 2008 “Written in Blood”. In 2009 he was detained. On April 6, 2010, he was arrested again and held until the end of the year in Ngaba Prefecture’s Barkham County Detention Centre.

What the outside world doesn’t know is that at the same time that Tashi Rabten this June was sentenced, there are still others who have been sent to prison:

  1. Choephel, from Dzoege County, Ngaba Prefecture, Sichuan Province, Teacher at Ngaba Prefecture Middle School for Nationalities, Sentenced to 2 years in prison.
  2. Tamey, from Ngaba County, Ngaba Prefecture, Sichuan Province, Masters graduate from North West University for Nationalities, Teacher at Ngaba Prefecture’s Middle School for Nationalities, sentenced to 1 year and 8 months in prison.

(Unfortunately I can’t find their photos at the moment)

The outside world also has no idea that in May this year, there were three other teachers who were handed down prison sentences by the Ngaba Prefecture People’s Intermediate Court:

  1. Kirti Kyab: from Dzoege County, Ngaba Prefecture, Sichuan Province, Graduate from North West University for Nationalities, teacher at Ngaba Prefecture’s Middle School for Nationalities, sentenced to 3 years in prison.
  2. Sonam: from Dzoege Country, Ngaba Prefecture, Sichuan Province, teacher at Ngaba Prefecture’s Middle School for Nationalities, sentenced to 2 years in prison.
  3. Tohlha: Tibetan from Qinghai (details of place of origin are unclear), teacher at Ngaba Prefecture’s Middle School for Nationalities, sentenced to 1 year and 8 months in prison. **June 16, 2011 update on Tohlha via Woeser’s Twitter**: Real name: Dorje Tsering  (Tohlha is an alias), from Kazhur Township, Dowi County, Qinghai Province, graduate of Qinghai University for Nationalities, sentenced in May 2011.

(Unfortunately I can’t find their photos at the moment)

Additionally, due to their writings about the Tibetan protests of 2008, three writers who were sentenced to prison terms on December 30, 2010 by Sichuan Province’s Ngaba Prefecture Intermediate People’s Court (this has been reported by media) are:

1) Jangtse Dhonkho, (Official name on his ID: Rongke, Pen name: Nyen): Born in 1978, from Kyungchu County, Ngaba Prefecture, Sichuan Province, working for Kyungchu County local office for historical affairs. Member of Sichuan Province Writers Association, published a collection of poetry, recipient of many Tibetan Literary Awards. Sentenced to 4 years in prison.

2) Bhudha, (Pen Name: Buddha): Born in 1979, from Ngaba County, Ngaba Prefecture, Sichuan Province, graduated with a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from Chongqing University, working in the hospital in the town of Barma in Ngaba County, poet, editor of Tibetan language periodical “Modern Self”. Sentenced to 4 years in prison.

3) Kelsang Jinpa, (Pen name: Garmi): Born in 1977, from Labrang, Kanlho Prefecture, Gansu Province, was living in Ngaba County doing business, poet, editor of Tibetan language periodical “Modern Self”. Sentenced to 3 years in prison.

At the moment, there is a writer, teacher facing imminent sentencing: 

Dawa: from Ngaba County, Ngaba Prefecture, Sichuan Province, a teacher at Ngaba County Middle School for Nationalities. Founder of monthly Tibetan language periodical “Modern Self”, also an editor and writer. Arrested on October 1 2010, currently held at Jinchuan County Detention Centre, no family visits are allowed, denied legal representation.

Also, on my blog I have documented several Tibetan writers and authors who have been sentenced:

1) Kunchok Tsephel, from Machu County, Kanlho Prefecture, Gansu Province, founder of the first Tibetan literature website inside China. Sentenced to 15 years in prison in November 2009.  (On the photo, Kunchok Tsephel is on the right hand side)

2) Kunga Tsayang (Pen name: Gangnyi), from Golok Prefecture, Qinghai Province. Photographer for Golok Nyenpo Yurtse Association of Environmental Protection. Sentenced to 5 years in prison in November 2009. (On the photo, Kunga Tsayang is on the left hand side)

3) Khang Kunchok, from Ngaba County, Ngaba Prefecture, Sichuan Province, studied at Ngaba Prefecture Barkham Nationalities Teacher’s College, co-founder of the Barkham Nationalities Teacher’s College magazine “Nanjia”, had previously edited “Kangsel Metok”, the Kirti monastery magazine. On the evening of March 20, 2008, he and a number of students were detained when protesting against the killing of Tibetans by security forces, sentenced to two years in prison.

These writers, teachers, have all been detained for documenting, discussing and reflecting on the uprising in Tibet in 2008, the year of the Earth Mouse. Clearly the local authorities’ oppression of Tibetans has already spread from the ordinary masses up to the elite, the number of victims are many, the punishments are cruel and it is difficult for them to receive any legal assistance, nor can they enter into fair judicial proceedings, also, from what is known, the real number of oppressed Tibetan elites is far greater than that made public.

Some of the Tibetan elites’ troubles are a direct result of the authorities’ intentional politicisation of events, that is to say, their actions were to do with protecting Tibetan culture and the environment but they got in the way of corrupt local government officials, hence leading to retaliation. Officials everywhere know the dark art of political tricks very well, they make use of the opportunity to repress “separatists” and make the link with politics to those Tibetans dedicated to social affairs, thereby destroying them.

We must pay attention to the local authorities increasingly cracking down on the Tibetan elite. The crisis we are facing is not just political and economic, a much bigger crisis we are facing is a destruction being carried out, targeting our culture. It is not just the old buildings in Lhasa that have been destroyed, our many talented, and knowledgeable men and women are being intentionally eliminated, this is far more terrible than other forms of destruction.

I hereby sincerely appeal to international media, International PEN and international human rights organisations for concern, support, and help.

This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)

1 Comment

  • From my own account, there are 21 Tibetan writers currently jailed or sentenced etc.

    20 writers may not seem a lot, but we are talking of a total population of 6 million people.

    That would mean 4000 jailed writers for the total Chinese population. Imagine the uproar. Alas, people do not seem to care so much for Tibetans and do not realise the scope and the extent of the repression there.