Chinese authorities have freed a prominent Tibetan writer and animal rights campaigner after he completed a three-year jail term in Sichuan province, Tibetan sources said Monday.
Jolep Dawa, in his 40's, walked out a free man from Mianyang prison near the provincial capital Chengdu on Monday after being imprisoned on trumped-up charges of separatism, they said.
"The Chinese authorities released Jolep Dawa today after he completed his three-year sentence for 'activities intended to split the motherland,'" a source told RFA's Tibetan Service.
The condition of his health and other details were not immediately available.
A father of two, Dawa was the editor of the Tibetan-language journal Durab Kyi Nga (I, of this Century) and an organizer of Tibetan cultural conferences before he was detained in Chengdu on Oct. 1, 2010.
He was later sentenced to jail by a court in Barkham (in Chinese, Ma’erkang) county in the Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
After his detention, Chinese police raided a bookstore and DVD rental center run by his wife and confiscated Dawa’s laptop computer and diary and some of his literary works, sources had told RFA at that time.
Campaign against use of animal fur and skin
Dawa had been targeted in the past for his involvement in a mass campaign to end the use of animal fur on Tibetan clothing.
"He was one of the main organizers of the campaign to burn animal fur and skin," a Tibetan source said.
The India-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy said in a statement that many Tibetans continue to be detained under "separatism" charges, which allow police to secretly detain suspects for months.
"Tibetans continue to be unlawfully charged with threatening the security of the Chinese nation, sharing ‘secrets’ of Chinese government with outsiders, and for engaging in ‘separatist’ activities," the center said.
"These charges come under ‘national security crimes’, which make it easy for the secret police to detain people for months without informing their family members," it said.
A provision introduced last year in China’s Criminal Procedure Law legalizes the enforced disappearance of Tibetans charged with "national security" crimes, it said.
China has jailed scores of Tibetan writers, artists, singers, and educators for asserting Tibetan national and cultural identity and civil rights since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.
A total of 122 Tibetans have also set themselves ablaze to date in self-immolation protests challenging Beijing’s rule, with another six setting themselves on fire in India and Nepal.
Reported by RFA's Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.