Eight years for 3 Tibetans who competed with Chinese shopkeepers, poet gets 7 years

Sonam Dharwang. (Photo courtesy: TCHRD)
Sonam Dharwang. (Photo courtesy: TCHRD)

(TibetanReview.net, Jul05, 2015) – China has given eight-year jail sentences to three Tibetans in Driru (Chinese: Biru) County of Nagchu Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, in May this year on a complaint by their immigrant Chinese rivals over the pricing of goods sold in their newly opened shops, said Dharamshala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy Jul 4. A young Tibetan poet and author has also been jailed for seven years in May, the centre said, adding that the whereabouts of all four remained unknown.

The centre said the three shopkeepers – Sonam Dharwang, Lhanam and Tsering Lhadup – were jailed on charges of ‘inciting quarrels among the public’ and ‘opposing the government’.

The three were said to have opened new shops in their native Choenyi (or Lhenchu) Township, Driru County, to sell goods at prices affordable to the local Tibetans since the charges fixed by the Chinese businesses which dominated the township were exorbitant. This pinched the business of their established Chinese rivals who took up the matter with the Chinese authorities. As a result the three were arrested last year on allegations of causing ‘political instability’, the centre said.

The centre also said it was not clear on what grounds the young poet Tenzin Kalsang, 25, a native of Samar Village in the county’s Choenyi Township, was jailed for seven years. It said he was secretly detained in the later part of 2014.

He was formerly a monk at the local Jhopu Monastery and later studied at the famed Larung Gar Five Sciences Buddhist Academy in Serta County of Kardze (Ganzi) Prefecture, Sichuan Province. His stay there was cut short after China implemented a policy to force all non-locals to return home.

At home he taught Tibetan language, literature and Buddhism to the local Tibetans and to the Tibetan youths in neighbouring townships, instilling in them pride in their national heritage. He also wrote a book titled Tsolnyik (‘The Search’). However, the Gansu People’s Publishing House stopped publishing it after it was all set to go for printing, the centre said.


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