By Tenzin Dharpo
Shokjang. file photo
DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 20: Prominent Tibetan writer and activist Shokjang, also known as Druklo, was released last night (March 19) after serving the regulated three years in prison. He returned to his home in Gengya village in Gansu province’s Sangchu county after authorities allowed him to leave in the cover of night, sources said.
The Tibetan writer seemed to be fine physically although his health could not be ascertained at the moment, Golog Jigme, a former Tibetan political prisoner based in Switzerland, told Radio free Asia. Shokjang is said to have undergone hard labour during the three-year sentence.
He was sentenced to three years in prison by the intermediate public court in Malho prefecture on Feb. 17, 2016 with charges of instigating separatist riot in 2008, contacting with separatist groups in exile and writing a number of articles detrimental to social security on social networking. His sentencing came almost a year after he was arrested on March 19, 2015.
International rights groups and exile Tibetans objected that any trial or court room proceedings leading up to the sentencing did not take place.
Druklo had earlier spent a month under detention following his first arrest in April 2010. He was arrested along with Tashi Rabten (Theurang), another prominent writer, for allegedly spearheading protests by the students of National Minorities’ University of Lanzhou.
Following his sentencing, the writer penned a 17 page appeal letter, written in Tibetan and Chinese, in protest of his three year sentence and asserting his innocence. It was filed to the Higher People’s Court in Qinghai where he hopes “the objective truth” would be sought.
The writer charged for ‘instigating separatism’ says his written work did not amount to him being deemed a separatist. “If one talks about instigating separatism, I have not written even a word of separatism, much less instigated it. If I write about an incident in which I suffered harm, and that becomes an unfounded accusation against me, and I write an appeal to the court about the incident, that does not make me a separatist,” he wrote in the letter.
He further pointed that his actions are necessitated by the concern he has for his fellow Tibetans and not an act of rebellion. “China is a vast country with 56 different nationalities, and Tibetans are one of the largest minorities. I am a Chinese citizen, and as a Tibetan intellectual, I have to be concerned for the precious lives of my own kin. If doing so is called ‘instigating separatism’, nothing is more laughable. I might joyfully and voluntarily serve my sentence, but I never want to be a person without regard for the lives of his brothers and sisters. Come to that, I would do the same for our Chinese brothers and sisters.”