By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Oct 30: A Tibetan singer named Lhundrub Drakpa has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for a song criticizing Chinese repressive government policies in Driru County in Nagchu in June. Activist group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) reported that he was detained in May 2019, two months after his song ‘Black Hat’ was released in March last year. He spent his pre-trial detention in prison for more than a year without access to any legal representation.
The Driru county witnessed two arbitrary arrests of Lhamo and Tenzin Tharpa in August, which led to the custodial death of the former, as reported by Human Rights Watch on Thursday. The international organization said that these cases illustrate the Chinese government’s long-running mistreatment of Tibetans. TCHRD’s report claims that more than 600 Tibetans from Driru, Nagchu alone have been imprisoned in the past years at Chushur Prison near Lhasa.
The joint press statement by TCHRD and 5 Tibetan NGOs expressed their grave concern over human rights violations against the backdrop of the recent news, “The murder, torture, and arbitrary detention of Lhamo, Drakpa and Tharpa are part of a widespread and systematic attack against ordinary Tibetans in Driru. Evidence collected by Tibetans in exile show that these human rights abuses are deliberately designed to affect thousands of Tibetans in Driru in the furtherance of the Chinese state’s ‘stability maintenance’ policy.”
Since 2013, Driru County authorities have imposed repressive regulations on the civilian population that populates a large geographical area including the neighbouring Sog County. In Nov. 2014, the head of Ushung village in Sentsa Township, Bachen Gyewa was arrested and then killed on the orders of the Driru Party Secretariat. In Dec. 2013, Buddhist scholar Ngawang Jampel also died of torture less than a month after his arrest. In Jan. 2014, Konchok Dakpa from Chamram Village died in police custody after three weeks of arrest. In 2016, Trigyal from Mokhyim village died after serving two years of his 13-year sentence.