News and Views on Tibet

Tibetan youth sentenced to two years for “leaking state secrets” in Kardze

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Thupsam was sentenced to two years in prison for "leaking state secrets "(Photo/Tibet Times)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 26: Chinese authorities in Kardze, eastern Tibet arrested a young Tibetan youth named Thupsam on May 3 at a local restaurant, allegedly for sending sensitive information abroad. The 28-year-old man was detained incommunicado and subsequently put on a trial on charges including “leaking state secrets” and “endangering state security” by the Kardze Intermediate People’s Court in November, according to various media reports.

“At the time [of his arrest], the authorities accused him of sending information about Tibet to Europe and India via the Chinese social messaging app [WeChat]. He spent five months in detention, during which time he was tortured and beaten,” the source told the Tibet Post, citing contacts in the region. The Chinese court reportedly summoned Thupsam’s wife and brother to court on Nov. 21 and informed them that he had been sentenced to two years in prison, without any notice to the family prior to the trial.

Thupsam hails from Bhamnyi village in the so called Sershul County in the Eastern Tibet. He is a father to a 5-year-old daughter and used to live with his parents, brother and wife in his hometown. According to the report, he is skilled in handicrafts’ and most of his family expenses were borne by him.

The charge of “leaking” government-sensitive information has been used on numerous occasions. In October, six Tibetan intellectuals and activists were sentenced to prison terms ranging from four years to fourteen years, for charges such as “inciting separatism” and “endangering state security”.

A prominent Tibetan writer and teacher Kunchok Tsephel, who was released on March 18 this year, served 13 years in prison for “leaking secrets” in 2009. In 2020, Tibetan lyricist Khado Tsetan and singer Tsegao were imprisoned for charges related to subversion of state law and state security crimes although their main crime was composing and singing a song praising the exiled Tibetan leader Dalai Lama.

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