According to our information, Tashi Rabten, co-editor of the banned Tibetan-language literary magazine Shar Dungri (Eastern Snow Mountain), was arrested on 6 April 2010 and held without charge at Ngaba Prefecture’s Barkham County Detention Centre, Sichuan province, western China. He was tried behind closed doors at a court in Aba prefecture on 2 June 2011, although his conviction was not reported until 2 July 2011. Details of the charges against him have not been officially confirmed, although he is thought to be convicted of inciting separatism for a collection of political articles entitled Written in Blood on the suppression of the March 2008 protests in Lhasa and surrounding regions. Prior to his arrest Tashi Rabten, aged twenty-five, was a student at the Northwest Minorities University in Lanzhou, and had reportedly been under surveillance for some time.
Here is Tashi’s introduction to Written in Blood (courtesy of ICT).
my [young] age and [lack of] qualifications, the appearance of this
little book may be premature. After an especially intense year of the
usual soul-destroying events, something had to be said, and after
pondering on whether to speak out, I finally produced this humble little
book between 2008-09, shed like a drop of blood.
Three other writers are currently in jail for articles published in the Shar Dungri journal. They are Dhonkho, Bhudha and Khelsang Jinpa, who were all reportedly detained in June and July 2010 after they published essays about the 2008 crackdown. This collection of writings was the first known material in Tibetan on the 2008 protests to have been published in the People’s Republic of China. The magazine was quickly banned, but not before copies had circulated in areas of Qinghai and Gansu provinces and beyond. Dhonkho, Bhudha and Khelsang Jinpa were put on trial by the Ngaba Intermediate People’s Court, Sichuan Province, on 21 October 2010 on charges of ‘splittism’. On 30 December 2010 Dhonkho and Bhudha were sentenced to four years in prison, and Kelsang Jinpa to three years, for ‘incitement to split the nation’. For more background on the ‘Easter Snow Mountain’ writers and their writing, please click here.
Please also see:
Who is Tashi Rabten? (Index on Censorship, 5 July 2011)
Tibet: Editor sentenced to prison (New York Times, 5 July 2011)
In March 2008 the Chinese authorities launched a crackdown in the Tibet Autonomous Region, after anti-government protests took place in Lhasa and other areas, with reports of arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force against dissidents. Tight restrictions remain in force on reporting from the Tibetan region and arrests are continuing.
Please send appeals:
- Protesting the sentence handed to Tibetan writer Tashi Rabten, and seeking details of the charges against him;
- Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, including editor Tashi Rabten, and writers Dhonkho, Bhudha and Kelsang Jinpa, as well English PEN’s long-standing Honorary Member Dolma Kyab.
Send appeals to:
His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
CC. Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Party Committee
Zhonggong Xizang Zizhiqu Weiyuanhui
Lhasashi, Xizang Zizhiqu
People’s Republic of China
Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. We therefore recommend that you send a copy of your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments:
His Excellency Mr Liu Xiaoming
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
49-51 Portland Place,
Fax: 020 7636 2981
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/wipcnews/chinatibetwriterandeditortashirabtensentenced/