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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

China jails Tibetan writer for alleged separatism

Tibetan writer Shokjang in an undated photo.
Tibetan writer Shokjang in an undated photo.

(TibetanReview.net, Feb21’16) – China has jailed a prominent Tibetan writer and blog activist on Feb 17 for three years for his critical writing on the security restrictions and crackdown in Rebgong (Chinese: Tongren) of Malho (Huangnan) prefecture, Qinghai province, and for maintaining secret contacts with alleged splittists, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) Feb 19. The writer, 32-year-old Druklo, is a native of Gengya town in Labrang Sangchu County in Gansu province and was held on Mar 19, 2015.

Druklo, known by his penname of Shokjang, was reported to have been held without any official information on his whereabouts until his trial. However, some Tibetans were reportedly aware that he was being held in a detention facility in Rebgong County whose intermediate people’s court passed the jail sentence on him. The court was reported to have notified his family on Feb 15 about his upcoming verdict.

Shokjang had written about increased presence of Chinese armed security forces in the Rebkong and crackdowns on Tibetans in the area before his detention. He also wrote an article about conditions in a Tibetan school in Kangtsa (Gangcha) County of Tsojang (Haibei) Prefecture, Qinghai province, which the authorities disapproved of.

The court was reported to have ruled that his writings could incite discord among nationalities, that he was a leader of the “splittist movement” of 2008, that he maintained secret contact with alleged splitists who wanted to separate Tibet from China, and that he caused instability in the community. He was reported to have been allowed a brief meeting with his four-year-old child after the verdict was read out.

Shokjang was previously detained on Apr 6, 2010 with his friend Tashi Rabten (penname Theurang) for having allegedly led a Tibetan student protest and for contacting outside writers and the Tibetan Youth Congress in exile. At that time both were students at the Northwest University for Nationalities in Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province. They were accused of having engaged in divisive activities and of instigating others to resort to divisive actions.

Both were released later on, with Shojang coming out on May 8, 2010 with a stern warning that he would be watched for 10 years. He was also banned from re-enrolling in the university and not allowed to take his final exams.

Paris-based international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) listed Shokjang among the 23 journalists and 84 bloggers that the Chinese Communist Party had put behind bars in 2015.

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