News and Views on Tibet

Rights group calls out China for crackdown on Tibetan intellectuals and cultural leaders

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China must end cultural assimilation campaign and crackdown on Tibetan intellectuals and cultural leaders, rights group TCHRD demanded (Photo/TCHRD))

By Tenzin Lekdhen

DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 28: China targets influential Tibetan writers, intellectuals, and cultural leaders by arbitrarily imprisoning them following lengthy detentions in undisclosed locations. Their crime, despite breaking no domestic rules, “is their extensive scholarship on Tibetan language, culture, literature that have captured the imagination of many young Tibetans.”

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), on Monday, published a story mentioning several writers and intellectuals, among the latest to be targeted are well known writer Go Sherab Gyatso, Dhi Lhaden, Rinchen Tsultrim, Trinley Gyatso; four of them were sentenced to 4 to 10 years of imprisonment. Details such as the exact charges, dates of sentencing, and their whereabouts are still reportedly unknown.

The Dharamshala based listed four more writers, upon receiving new formation, all suffering a similar fate as the priors. They are Goyon, 33, Sabuchey, 34, Rongwo Gangkar 46, and Rongwo Gendun Lhundup, 47. “Goyon was detained overnight in Chengdu with two of his friends on 5 June 2010 and has suffered beatings in custody. He chronicled the experience in a journal titled, “Torture in Prison”,” the TCHRD story wrote. “The charges and current whereabouts of all four are unknown.”

Tashi Wangchuk, Tibetan language advocate, shared screenshots of closed websites on Chinese microblogging Weibo and wrote, in Tibetan and Chinese, “Why can [we] not access these Tibetan language websites?” 

Emperor, a website ran by Rongwo Gendun Lhundup and Bodh Du Ched Tawa administered by Rinchen Tsultrimwere among many other websites that were shutdown. “Other leading websites such as New Youth, Je Tsongkhapa, Wish fulfilling snow flower, Sound of Dzachu’s wave, Spiritual friend, Sengdor, Tibetan language, Golok’s website have also been closed down,” TCHRD reported.

The Chinese Ministry of Education recently pronounced their plan (to sinicize Tibet) by aiming to reach 85% penetration rate of standard Mandarin by 2025, and 100% by 2035. TCHRD reported that “the State Council and the tenth session of the People’s Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region both resolved to prioritize Mandarin Chinese learning and recognized Tibetan nomadic and farming communities areas falling under the Three Regions, Three Prefectures as key areas for the implementation of the Children Homophony plan.”

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