News and Views on Tibet

Tibetan writer sentenced to four and a half years for “inciting separatism”

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Tibetan intellectual Thupten Lodoe in an undated photo (Photo/RFA Tibetan)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, June 20: A Tibetan intellectual and writer named Thupten Lodoe (pen name: Sabuchey) has been sentenced to four years and six months in prison, according to information provided by Dharamshala based research group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy on Saturday. The 34-year-old was detained since last October by Chinese officers, and was held at an undisclosed location for over eight months until his recent sentencing around June 14 this year.

A source from inside Tibet told the group that Sabuchey was convicted on trumped up charges of “inciting separatism” including accusations of publishing content that “endangered state-security” and “harmed ethnic unity”. Lodoe is a resident of Bum-nying village of Dzachuka in Sershul County, Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Many other scholars, writers and intellectuals have been charged with this vague but common allegation of inciting thoughts and emotions that are deemed “separatist” by the Chinese state.

Tibetan writers and noted figures like Go Sherab Gyatso, Dhi Lhaden, among others were also charged for “inciting separatism” last year. In the TCHRD profile of the writer, Sabuchey is a scholar acquainted with both traditional and modern knowledge systems; he is known for his prolific writing frequently published on websites and other online platforms in Tibet.

The researchers found that most of his writings were analyses and opinion writings related to “social and livelihood issues, language and economic condition, as well as traditional and modern knowledge systems,” and argued that none of his writings broke any Chinese laws. Following his detention, authorities seized his computer device, which was then used for “evidence” for his so-called crimes against the state.

The learned scholar was born in 1987 in Bum-nying village in Kham’s Dzachuka. He returned to Tibet to work as a teacher at a middle school in Sershul County after completing his studies in China. His current condition and whereabouts is unknown.  

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