Tibetan Scholar Arrested for His Writings Has Been Held Without Trial for Two Years

Writers, singers, and artists promoting Tibetan national identity and culture have frequently been jailed by Chinese authorities,
2021.06.18
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Tibetan Scholar Arrested for His Writings Has Been Held Without Trial for Two Years Tibetan writer Lobsang Lhundup, pen name Dhi Lhaden, is shown in an undated photo.
RFA

A Tibetan writer arrested on unspecified charges two years ago has still not been brought to trial, and family members are being kept in the dark about his fate, Tibetan sources say.

Lobsang Lhundup, who goes by the pen name Dhi Lhaden, was taken into custody in June 2019 while working at a private cultural education center in Chengdu, the capital of western China’s Sichuan province, a source living in Tibet told RFA.

“It appears that someone told the owner of the cultural center about the teaching materials he was using, and so he was arrested,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity for reasons of personal safety.

“Lhundup is a friendly person and known to many people, and his friends have avoided talking about him till now in the hope that he might be released,” the source said.

“But his trial is still pending. No further information about him has been released, and no one has been allowed to meet with him at all.”

Born in 1980, Lhundup is a native of the Pema district of Sichuan’s Golog (in Chinese, Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, sources said. He became a monk at the age of 11 and studied at Sichuan’s Larung Gar Tibetan Buddhist Academy, from which thousands of resident monks and nuns were later evicted by Chinese authorities.

After teaching Buddhism at Drepung and Sera monasteries in Tibet’s regional capital Lhasa in his late 20s, Lhundup traveled widely in Tibet, later writing and publishing books about region-wide protests in 2008 against Beijing’s policies and rule in Tibetan areas.

On Dec. 4, 2020, Lhundup’s family was summoned by Chinese authorities to discuss his case, but they learned only that his trial was still pending and they were not allowed to meet with him.

Lhundup has a wife and child, sources said.

Writers, singers, and artists promoting Tibetan national identity and culture have frequently been detained by Chinese authorities, with many handed long jail terms, following the protests that swept Tibet and Tibetan areas of China in 2008.

Language rights have become a particular focus for Tibetan efforts to assert national identity in recent years, with informally organized language courses typically deemed “illegal associations” and teachers subject to detention and arrest, sources say.

Reported by Sangyal Kunchok for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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