Tibetan writer sentenced to four and a half years for ‘inciting separatism’

By Choekyi Lhamo

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

A source inside Tibet told the group that Sabuchey was convicted on false charges of “inciting separatism,” including charges of posting content “endangering state security” and “bringing undermining 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 accused of the vague but common allegation of inciting thoughts and emotions deemed “separatist” by the Chinese state.

Tibetan writers and well-known personalities like Go Sherab Gyatso, Dhi Lhaden, among others, were also accused of “inciting separatism” last year. In the author’s TCHRD profile, Sabuchey is an academic knowledgeable in both traditional and modern knowledge systems; he is known for his prolific writings frequently published on websites and other online platforms in Tibet.

The researchers found that most of his writing was analysis and opinion writing related to “social and subsistence issues, language and economic status, and traditional and modern knowledge systems”, and argued that none of his writings violated Chinese laws. Following his detention, authorities seized his computer, which was later used as “evidence” for his alleged crimes against the state.

The scholar was born in 1987 in the village of Bum-nying in Dzachuka of Kham. He returned to Tibet to work as a teacher at a college in Sershul County after completing his studies in China. His current condition and whereabouts are unknown.