Three Tibetan writers, Kalsang Jinpa, Jangtse Donkho and Buddha, were given prison sentences of three to four years in prison by a court in Aba, in the eastern Tibetan plateau, on 30 December for articles they had written for the magazine Shar Dhung-Ri (Eastern Conch Hill). Arrested six months ago, they were convicted of inciting separatism.
Reporters Without Borders condemns the sentences and reiterates its appeal to the Chinese government to free them. The press freedom organization also condemns the failure to give them a fair trial.
According to Radio Free Asia, their trial began with a half-day hearing on 28 October at which they were not given competent interpreters. At the second and final hearing on 30 December, neither the defendants, their lawyers or their families were allowed to speak. Kalsang Jinpa was sentenced to three years in prison. Jangtse Donkho and Buddha got four years. They have 15 days to appeal.
There has been no let up in the crackdown on intellectuals that began in Tibet in 2008 and around 15 Tibetan writers and journalists are currently detained.
See also this moving interview with an exiled Tibetan writer, Gedun Tsering.
More Tibetan journalists arrested in Qinghai province
Reporters Without Borders has just learned of the arrests of two Tibetan journalists in Xining, in the province of Qinghai (eastern Tibetan plateau). Buddha and Kalsang Jinpa, who wrote for and edited the Tibetan-language magazine Shar Dhung-Ri (The Eastern Conch Hill), have been held since June and July respectively on separatism charges because of their articles about Tibet and the March 2008 unrest in particular.
The press freedom organisation urges the Qinghai authorities to release them without delay.
Their arrests bring the number of jailed Tibetan journalists and writers to 15, almost half the total number of journalists detained in China. Another 50 Tibetans at least are being held for sending information abroad. There has been no let-up in these arrests since March 2008 and their effect is to drastically curtail the ability of Tibetan intellectuals to make their voices heard.
According to a Tibetan source, Buddha, 34, is the son of Jamyang Tsakli and Tsering Dolma, who are from Trin-Kan, in Ngaba district. He studied at Yegao medical school in Chuan Chi and became a village doctor. He was arrested on 21 June,
Kalsang Jinpa, 35, is the son of Garmi and Kharmo Kyid from Tsayu, which is also in Ngaba district. He studied as a monk at Tsayu monastery and then went to India to study before returning to Tibet 1996. He was arrested on 19 July.
According to the same source, they are accused of inciting “separatist” views among intellectuals and of writing about the March 2008 unrest in Tibet and the ensuring crackdown. As well as editing Shar Dhung-Ri, they were also suspected of writing for the magazine Dhurab Kyi Nga.
There are has been no official statement about the arrests and it is still not known where they are being held.
Sonam Rinchen and Yargay, two students who helped to produce a Tibetan student magazine, were recently sentenced to two years in prison because of their articles. Two other students who were arrested at the same time as them in March are still awaiting trial.