Tibetan Writers Face Trial

Authorities continue to crack down on freedom of expression and national identity.
2010-10-20
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A cover of the journal Eastern Snow Mountain.
A cover of the journal Eastern Snow Mountain.
Photo: RFA

Three Tibetan writers detained earlier this year by Chinese authorities may soon face trial on charges of subversion, according to sources familiar with their case.

The three men—Jangtse Donkho, Buddha, and Kalsang Jinpa—were detained in June and July in the Ngaba [in Chinese, Aba] Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China’s southwestern Sichuan province, a Tibetan living in Ngaba said.

“All three cases have already been handed over to the Aba Intermediate Court,” the source said. “Recently, their family members were informed that they could seek the help of lawyers. They were also told the cases may be tried soon.”

The men were charged with “inciting activities to split the nation,” a second Tibetan source said.

“They were charged primarily because of articles they wrote about the 2008 Tibetan protest movement that were published in a local newsletter, Shar Dungri (‘Eastern Snow Mountain’).”

“The article that Buddha wrote was translated by a Chinese official and shown to him,” the source added.

Evidence faked?

Buddha found the translation “distorted” and said that it included many things he had not written, the source said.

“Therefore, his family members are afraid that the Chinese authorities are falsifying [the evidence against him] and are trying to punish him for something he did not do.”

Though family members have tried to obtain lawyers for the men, “lawyers from Beijing are very expensive … so the families of Jangtse Donkho and Buddha hired local lawyers for about 60-70,000 yuan (U.S. $9,000-10,500) the source continued.

“However, Kalsang Jinpa’s family could not hire a lawyer,” he said.

Reached for comment, a female officer at the office of the Aba Public Security Bureau (PSB) consulted with a colleague, who said, “We don’t know much about this case. You should contact the relevant department.”

A call directed to the PSB Investigation Department did not go through.

Poems and articles

A Tibetan in Ngaba, speaking on condition of anonymity, described Jangtse Donkho, 32, as a poet and an editor of a newsletter called “I, of the Modern Century.”

“He has a wife and two children,” the source said. “He was detained on June 21 and is being held at the Barkham [in Chinese, Ma’erkang] county detention center.”

Buddha, a doctor, “was practicing in Ngaba before his detention on June 21,” the source said.

“He wrote many poems and articles in several magazines in Tibetan. He was detained for about a month at the Ngaba detention center, and was then moved to the Chuchen [in Chinese, Jinchuan] detention center, also in Sichuan.”

“He has a wife and a small child, who is three years old,” the source said. “He also worked as one of the editors of ‘I, of the Modern Century.’”

Kalsang Jinpa, 33 and married with two children, was detained on July 19 and was also an editor of “I, of the Modern Century,” said the source.

“Currently, he is being held at the Chuchen county detention center,” he said.

Others held

Separately, sources said that three other Tibetan writers are known to have been recently detained, though details concerning their places of detention and charges made against them are not yet known.

Jolep Dawa, another editor of “I, of the Modern Century,” had run a small book store, now closed, before he was detained.

“He has a wife and two children who are now facing hardships,” one source said. “The youngest child is just one month old.”

Tamey Kyab, a professor at the Aba Teacher Training Institute, was detained in March, according to a local Tibetan.

“His father passed away in anguish after his son was detained,” according to the source. “He has a wife and a three-year-old daughter.”

Tashi Rabten, also known as Terang, had worked as an editor at Shar Dungri and was detained in April, he said.

Reported by Chakmo Tso for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translations by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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