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China has jailed still-disappeared Tibetan language rights activist for four and half years

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(TibetanReview.net, Jun22’22) – A Tibetan language rights activist in Karze (Chinese: Ganzi) Prefecture – which is now part of China’s Sichuan province – who remained disappeared since his arrest by Chinese police in Oct 2021 has been learnt to be jailed for four and half years, according to Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) Jun 18 and other reports.

Thupten Lodoe (named in our previous report simply as Lodoe, penname: Sabuchey), 34, was held in an undisclosed location for more than eight months until his sentencing around Jun 14 this year, the centre said.

The resident of Bum-nying village in the prefecture’s Dzachuka area, Sershul (Shiqu) County, was stated to have been convicted on a trumped up charge of “inciting separatism”, including by publishing contents that “endangered state security” and “harmed ethnic unity”.

He is seen as one of the latest victims of China’s enhanced campaign of Sinicization under President Xi Jinping to make Tibetans adopt Chinese language and culture in the expectation that this will make them China-patriotic, loyal to the Communist Party of China.

The TCHRD said the charge is routinely used to punish Tibetans who do not conform to the views and policies of the Chinese party-state. Last year alone, about 10 Tibetan writers and scholars were detained and/or sentenced under it. They included Go Sherab Gyatso, Rinchen Tsultrim, Dhi Lhaden, and Rongwo Gendun Lhundup, the centre said.

The centre said that while it had learnt of his conviction and sentencing, there was still no information on his whereabouts and condition.

Lodoe is said to be proficient in both Tibetan and Chinese languages, and a prolific writer frequently published on major websites and other online platforms in Tibet with focus on socio-economic and other issues.

An advocate for the preservation of Tibetan language, Lodoe had previously turned down a government offer of 10,000 yuan (US $1,500) for a job, the Tibetan service of rfa.org Jun 21 cited sources as saying earlier.

Lodoe also translated many works from Chinese and English into Tibetan for which the Chinese government considered him a threat, which was another reason for his arrest, the report cited a Tibetan source as saying.

The TCHRD said that after completing his studies in China, Lodoe had returned to Tibet and worked for many years as a teacher at the Tibetan middle school in Sershul County. 

According to the rfa.org report, Lodoe had also studied at a school established by the late, 10th Panchen Lama, who was also strong advocate for the preservation of the Tibetan linguistic and cultural identity.

The report said his social media posts had been erased and his online accounts blocked by the Chinese government.

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