Tibetan Monk and Writer Sentenced to Prison Term

Poetry writer and social commentator Jo Lobsang Jamyang is jailed for seven and a half years on unspecified charges.

Monk and writer Jo Lobsang Jamyang,known by his pen name Lomig,shown in an undated file photo was sentenced to prison on unspecified charges.

Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province have sentenced a Tibetan monk and writer to seven and a half years in prison on unspecified charges, but sources told RFA’s Tibetan service that he was sentenced for "sharing government secrets and attempting to divide the nation."

Jo Lobsang Jamyang, 28, also known by his pen name Lomig, was sentenced in Lunggu  (in Chinese Wenchuan) county court  in the Ngaba (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture after a closed trial from which his family and lawyer were barred, Kanyak Tsering, a Tibetan living in India, told RFA’s Tibetan service.

“Jamyang was detained on April 17, 2015 in Lunggu county and kept in the local detention center for one year and six months,” a source living in the region told RFA. “During that period he was severely tortured.”

Jamyang’s family was allowed a half-hour visit after the sentencing on May 9, the source said.

“Only today, the authorities allowed the family members to see him for about 30 minutes,” the source told RFA. “During that meeting Jo Lobsang Jamyang shared with family members how the authorities had accused him of sharing government secrets with others and engaging in nation-splitting activities.”

Jamyang is known for his poems and social commentary and he has often advocated for freedom of expression for writers in Tibet, Tsering said, adding that a collection of his poems has been published as "The Swirling Yellow Mist."

Jamyang joined Ngaba’s  Kirti monastery at a young age. He was studying in the monastery's Prajnaparamita class and also took part-time courses in non-religious studies at Larung Gar monastery in Serthar (Seda) county and the Northwest University for Nationalities in Lanzhou, Tsering told RFA.

Kirti monastery has been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests by monks, former monks, and nuns opposed to Chinese rule in Tibetan areas.

Authorities raided the institution in 2011, taking away hundreds of monks and sending them for “political re-education” while local Tibetans who sought to protect the monks were beaten and detained, sources said.

Reported by Lhuboom for RFA's Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Brooks Boliek.