Imprisoned Tibetan Writer Sabuchey Hospitalised

By Tsering Choephel

DHARAMSALA, 1 July: Jailed Tibetan writer Thupten Lodoe is reportedly hospitalised after becoming severely ill due to forced labour in prison, according to

Except for the information that Lodoe, who goes by the pen name Sabuchey, has been transferred to a hospital, details about the time of transfer, the name of the hospital, and his current circumstances remain unknown. However, it has been confirmed that he has been serving his prison sentences in Dartsedo Prison, information previously unknown, says the report.

Sabuchey, who is proficient in both Tibetan and Chinese languages, is a prolific writer. His short stories and essays, on various socio-economic subjects and issues relevant to Tibet’s situation, were published on major websites and other online platforms in Tibet, attracting the attention of Chinese authorities.

In October 2021, Chinese security officers detained Sabuchey and held him in an undisclosed location for more than eight months unlawfully. On 14 June 2022, he was given a prison sentence of four years and six months on trumped-up charges of “inciting separatism,” endangering “state security,” and harming “ethnic unity,” among others.

While serving his sentence in prison, Chinese authorities reportedly put his family under surveillance and barred his two children from joining school.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) reported at the time that Sabuchey’s writings, which the Chinese authorities charged as “inciting separatism,” were “analyses and opinions related to social and livelihood issues, language and economic conditions, as well as traditional and modern knowledge systems.”

In its efforts to silence Tibetan voices as it carries out expansive assimilative policies in occupied Tibet, Tibetan scholars, writers, intellectuals, and cultural leaders have been particularly targeted and arbitrarily detained and imprisoned. Virtually any form of expression highlighting Tibetan identity, whether in language, culture, social issues, or the environment, is accused by Chinese authorities of “inciting separatism” or a threat to “state security.”

Thupten Lodoe, in his late thirties, is a resident of Bum-nying village in Dzachuka, Sershul County, in the traditional Tibetan province of Kham. He had taught the Tibetan language at a Sershul school for some years before quitting amidst increasing Chinese repression in the region.

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