|[29 February 2016] China’s continued crackdown on any form of dissent in Tibet has been further exemplified by the imprisonment of popular Tibetan blogger Druklo (pen-name Shokjang). The 32 year-old writer and blogger was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on 17 February. It is believed he was charged with “inciting separatism” after writing articles critical of Chinese government policies in Tibet.
“Tibetans do not wish or aspire to create conflict and violence among nationalities in China; they solely aspire for an autonomous Tibetan nationality within China… If a federal system of autonomous administration of provinces based on the principles of liberty and equality is established, which I think is feasible, internal conflicts between ethnic groups would simply subside and disappear.” (Shokjang, March 2014)
1. Sign the international petition
2. Write directly to the Chinese authorities
► to immediately release Druklo (pen-name Shokjang) as he was arrested for peacefully expressing his views, a right which is guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
► to ensure Druklo is not ill-treated or subjected to torture whilst in prison;
► to allow Druklo regular visits by his family and has access to a lawyer of his own choosing;
► to respect the fundamental right of Tibetans and all citizens to freedom of expression, including those who peacefully express criticism of the government or views that are contrary to state policies.
Chinese Ambassador to the UK
Outside the UK: check the Chinese government’s webpage listing embassies for contact details of your nearest ambassador and embassy.
Head of Tongren County PSB
Secretary of Tongren County Party Committee
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Shokjang, real name Druklo, was arrested on 19 March 2015 in Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren), Malho (Ch: Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Amdo (now part of China’s Qinghai province). His arrest came shortly after he wrote articles about local school conditions and the massive deployment of Chinese security forces in the Rebkong area. Shokjang had already gained popularity amongst fellow Tibetans with his candid essays and poetry, in which he commented on social issues and injustices affecting the Tibetan people.
On 17 February 2016, after almost a year’s detention, the People’s Intermediate Court in Rebkong sentenced Shokjang to three years’ imprisonment. According to exiled sources, Shokjang was charged with “inciting separatism” for writing articles critical of Chinese policies in Tibet as well as for organising protests and making contact with foreign organisations. Sources also say that Shokjang denied the charges and has vowed to appeal.
Shokjang is from Labrang Sangchu county, Gansu province and is a father of a four year-old child. In 2010, he was detained for leading a student protest at Northwest University for Nationalities in Lanzhou, Gansu province. He was released after one month without charge but was banned from taking his final exams at the university.
Former political prisoner, Golog Jigme, who recently gave testimony at the UK Parliament, said, “We believe that Druklo challenged the court ruling, saying that he had not done anything against the Chinese Constitution or against Chinese laws and regulations. Like so many Tibetan political prisoners, he has been sentenced on baseless charges due to the Chinese Communist Party authorities exerting their power.”
Since the Tibetan uprising of 2008, the Chinese government has sought to eradicate all forms of dissent. This has included peaceful expressions of nationalism in the form of essays, poetry and songs, displays of Tibetan culture and even non-state sanctioned teaching of the Tibetan language.
Examples of Shokjang’s writing
“Tibetans do not wish or aspire to create conflict and violence among nationalities in China; they solely aspire for an autonomous Tibetan nationality within China. I would hazard that the same applies to Uyghurs too. So, the strategy of annihilating the rights of nationalities is a seriously harmful and a thoughtless scheme. On the contrary, with the current model of autonomous nationalities as a basis, if a federal system of autonomous administration of provinces based on the principles of liberty and equality is established, which I think is feasible, internal conflicts between ethnic groups would simply subside and disappear.”
2. Just days prior to his detention in March 2015, Shokjung wrote the following verse entitled “316” (i.e. 16th March):
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