Tibetan writer Sherab Gyatso. Photo:File

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Dharamshala — A Tibetan writer and educator known for his loyalty to the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, was given a ten-year prison sentence by a Chinese court in Tibet.

As TPI reported last year, the 46-year-old monk at Kirti monastery, Go Sherab Gyatso (Penname: Gosher) was arrested in the city of Chengdu, Sichuan province of China, by Chinese intelligence officials in Lhasa, Capital of Tibet, on 26 October 2020. Gyatso had written books and articles describing the ongoing restrictions imposed on the people of Tibet living under the control of China.

The writer is well known as an open-minded individual who advocates the preservation of Tibetan language, religion and culture. He has authored books and articles describing the restrictions on freedom of expression under the Chinese regime, while also believing in the equality of humanity.

"He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in a secret trial by a Chinese court in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. However, details such as the date of the trial, his current whereabouts, his health condition and the charges are not immediately available," a Tibetan living in exile told TPI on condition of anonymity.

"Since last year, more than a year now, his relatives have not been allowed to provide him with food, except for 10 kg of Tsampa (roasted barley flour) under the heavy restriction of the prison police," the source said.

The unfortunate fact that the Chinese government has imposed a heavy sentence on the outspoken Tibetan, while the world celebrates International Human Rights Day, is a testament to the desperate situation in Tibet and the repressive control over Tibetans in their country.

The Government of China, through systematic and blatantly repressive policies, continues to maintain a tight grip on Tibet, suppressing the political activities of Tibetans and the peaceful expression of their religious, cultural and linguistic identity, and subjecting the Tibetan people to severe persecution, genocide, inhuman torture, harsh imprisonment and extrajudicial killings in the Tibetan homeland, which constitutes modern occupation and colonisation, a violation of international law and the human rights of the Tibetan people.

Within Tibet, the voices of Tibetans are totally controlled and suppressed, using all means of violent force and repressive policies, including heavy weaponry of the police and military, committing genocide, carrying out inhumane torture, handing down harsh sentences through secret trials and secret prisons, while brainwashing Tibetans with the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda machines

Through unprecedented censorship and restrictions, preventing any outside critical voices from entering all such international media and social media platforms, and using all such international media and social media platforms to counter any voices raising human rights abuses in Tibet and any freedom struggle activities by Tibetans and supporters outside Tibet.

Interestingly, a question to be asked to the Chinese dictator Xi Jinping is: Is this the "democracy" that Xi Jinping, President of China and Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, recently spelled out?

Gyatso hails from Ngaba county, Amdo region of Tibet, and was a monk of Kirti monastery. Deemed a skillful writer and a great teacher, he has on several occasions been invited to address students at the Northwest University for Nationalities and monasteries on issues related to Tibetan culture and the education of Tibetans, particularly the education system of monasteries. Gosher is also a successful researcher and has traveled extensively around China, India, and Nepal in the past.

In 2009, he published his first book titled "Time to Wake up", a book that quickly became hugely popular all over Tibet and the writer's work has been well received by both Tibetans inside and outside Tibet. He has published around eight books including "Common sense and path" and "Find your path by yourself.

In 1998, Gosher was arrested for the first time, when around 40 monasteries - including Kirti monastery - were subjected to Chinese authorities' "re-education" programs. In a response to this, Gosher made and put up posters describing the exact laws of China that the Chinese authorities were themselves seen breaking, including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, etc. His actions then caused him 4 years of imprisonment, when he was arrested for being the one responsible for the posters.

After serving his time and being released, Gosher then went to study Buddhism in Lhasa, but, when the unrest of 2008 happened, he was found to be leading a group of Kirti monks protesting in the streets of Lhasa. He was promptly arrested again and had to endure more than a year of imprisonment before being released.

Over the past 70 decades, there has been ongoing political repression, social discrimination, economic marginalization, environmental destruction, and cultural assimilation, particularly due to Chinese migration to Tibet which is fueling intense resentment among the people of occupied Tibet.

The communist-totalitarian state of China began its invasion of Tibet in 1949, reaching complete occupation of the country in 1959. Since that time, more than 1.2 million people, 20% of the nation's population of six million, have died as a direct result of China's invasion and occupation. In addition, over 99% of Tibet's six thousand religious monasteries, temples, and shrines, have been looted or decimated resulting in the destruction of hundreds of thousands of sacred Buddhist scriptures.

Until 1949, Tibet was an independent nation in the Himalayas which had little contact with the rest of the world. It existed as a rich cultural storehouse — a unifying theme among the Tibetans — as was their own language, literature, art, and world view developed by living at high altitudes, under harsh conditions, in a balance with their environment.

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