China jails a prominent writer for four years over Tibet

Tibetan writer Gendun Lhundup. Photo: TPI

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Dharamshala — Gendun Lhundup, a Tibetan writer and poet from Rebgong County, Amdo Province, north-eastern Tibet, was sentenced to four years imprisonment by a Chinese Intermediate People's Court on December 1, 2021, on a charge of so-called "inciting separatism".

Rongwo Gendun Lhundup, the 48-year-old Tibetan writer and poet hailing from Rebgong County in Amdo province of north-eastern Tibet (Ch: Tongren County, Qinghai, China) has been arrested by Chinese authorities on December 2, 2020, for allegedly raising his voice in freedom of authors and artists to exercise their thoughts freely. After more than a year in detention, he was sentenced to four years imprisonment by the Xining Intermediate People's Court on December 1, 2021.

According to a reliable source, Gendun Lhundup, the Tibetan writer, was sentenced to four years imprisonment by the Xining Intermediate People's Court on December 1, 2021, on a charge of "inciting separatism" and two years of "deprivation of political rights".

The news of his sentence has recently reached us from Tibet, as the Chinese authorities closely monitor and control the Tibetan people and the internet. Other information, such as the location of his imprisonment, his state of health and whether he has been allowed to meet his family members, is still not available.

"I heard the information about his sentence a month ago, but I have not been able to confirm the number of years for which he was sentenced and what the charge was, as well as other details, including where he was imprisoned, his state of health and whether he was allowed to meet with his family members, but now the years of his sentence have become clear," the source said.

“He has a profound interest in the preservation of Tibetan culture and has worked tirelessly for the cause of Tibet”, the source explains that the poet’s work has been well received by both Tibetans inside and outside Tibet.

In October 2020, Lhundup released an anthology of poems called “Khorwa” and contributed to the website “Waseng-drak” which promotes freedom of expression for writers and artists without restriction. Although his freedom to express his opinions was restricted, Lhundup promised to follow his heart and continue writing and asked for the support of his readers.

Lhundup has been long committed to the preservation of Tibetan culture and language. He has been behind bars several times for this very reason and has long been under constant Chinese surveillance. Lhundup expressed his demand on the internet that authors and artists should have the freedom to express their thoughts and feelings without fear of repression. People believed that might have been the cause of his imprisonment.

Lhundup was born in 1974, at Dhowa Town, Rebgong County of Amdo in north-eastern Tibet. His pen-name is ‘Lhamko’ meaning shoes. He started writing Tibetan essays in 1994. Some of his well-received creations are ‘black beads’, 'songs of life’, ‘the white scripted book’, ‘poetries of great lords’ etc. He started teaching in the Rongwo monastery from 2000 onward. Won many eminent prizes and was frequently recommended by others for counterchecking of books and teaching.

Lhundup is not a single case, where Communist China has pressured, confined and violated Tibetans for simply exercising freedom of speech and basic Human Rights in occupied Tibet. Language advocates, singers, writers and other Tibetans have been under China’s constant surveillance and subject to long-term imprisonment for speaking out against the repressive policies of the communist regime of China.

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 worldview developed by living at high altitudes, under harsh conditions, in a balance with their environment.