Tibetan intellectual and writer sentenced to 4.5 years prison on trumped-up charges: TCHRD

Tibetan intellectual and writer, Sabuchey in an undated photo. Image: TCHRD.

DHARAMSALA 20 June: Chinese authorities have sentenced a Tibetan intellectual and writer to four and half years in prison,  Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a rights group based in Dharamsala said. 

Tibetan intellectual and writer Thupten Lodoe (pseudonym: Sabuchey), was given the sentence around 14 June, eight months after he was held in an undisclosed location by the Chinese authorities, TCHRD said.

The 34-year-old resident of Bum-nying village in Dzachuka, Sershul County, in the traditional Tibetan province of Kham was given a harsh sentence on the trumped-up charge of “inciting separatism” including publishing contents that “endangered state security” and “harmed ethnic unity”, among others, TCHRD said.

However, TCHRD added, “it remains unclear where he is being held and in what condition.”

TCHRD further maintained that the vague charge of “inciting separatism” is disproportionately used against Tibetans who do not conform to the views and policies of the Chinese party-state,” by the Chinese authorities “to silence and persecute Tibetan human rights defenders, activists and dissidents.”

“Last year alone, about 10 Tibetan writers and scholars had been detained and/or sentenced, including Go Sherab Gyatso, Rinchen Tsultrim, Dhi Lhaden, and Rongwo Gendun Lhundup on the charge of “inciting separatism”. 

The rights group stated that Sabuchey was detained by Chinese security officers in mid-October last year and that “attempts to get more details were unsuccessful due to the extreme secrecy with which Chinese authorities dealt with his case including intimidation of his family and relatives against sharing any information about his condition.”

The sentencing of the Tibetan intellectual and writer, who previously worked for many years as a teacher at the Tibetan middle school in Sershul County and writes on various socio-economic subjects and issues relevant to the situation in Tibet, TCHRD said, “is part of the Chinese party-state’s ongoing campaign to neutralize all influential Tibetan voices that it deems as obstacles to its forced cultural assimilation policy.”

The rights group declared that Xi Jinping’s second term saw a spike in detention and persecution of Tibetan writers and intellectuals as a result of his policies and practices to marginalize and undermine the Tibetan language and culture.

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