10/31/2011, 00.00
TIBET – CHINA
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Writers and scholars arrested and jailed to strike at Tibet’s culture

After a year in detention, a well-known Tibetan writer from a Tibetan area of Sichuan is sentenced to three years in prison on unknown charges. Chinese authorities are arresting Tibetan intellectuals, monks and ordinary teachers to wipe out Tibetan culture.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Chinese authorities continue to persecute Tibetan intellectuals. A court in Barkham (Ma’erkang in Chinese), Ngaba (Aba) Prefecture, Sichuan, sentenced Jolep Dawa, a 39-year-old Tibetan teacher and writer, to three years in prison.

Tibetan sources report that no clear reason was given for his arrest of his detention (since 1 October 2010). He was however the editor of a Tibetan-language journal, Durab Kyi Nga (I, of this Century), and organised conferences on Tibetan cultural issues.

A few days before his conviction, he was able to see his wife and children but they cannot talk about his case, the sources said. After he was taken into custody, Chinese police confiscated his computer and diary and some of his literary works.

This run-in with the law was Dawa’s latest. In the past, he spent a month in jail for taking part in a campaign against the use of Tibetan animals to make furcoats, and in March 2008, he received a three-month sentence.

On 19 October, police arrested Choepa Lugyal Aka Meche, a young prolific Tibetan writer and political commentator, at his home in Yatsi County. In his case, charges are also not known. Police searched his home and took away his computer and the copy of a banned Tibetan book, Shar-dungri.

For many years, Tibet has been under tight military control and isolated from the rest of the world. Internet and phone (fixed and mobile) communication have been censored or cut.

Tibet’s intelligentsia has been especially targeted for Chinese persecution because they keep alive the country’s ancient culture and language.

In June, a court in Karze, Aba Prefecture, sentenced Tashi Rabten, a writer and editor of the Eastern Conch Mountain magazine.

A few days ago, the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, said, “We don't want a separate Tibet.” In an obvious reference to China’s crackdown against Tibetan culture and religion, he added, “We want meaningful autonomy only in order to preserve our culture, language and religion".

On 14 October, police arrested Geshe Tsultrim Gyatso, a monk from Amdo Ditsa Monastery, Rsolho Prefecture (Hainan in Chinese), Qinghai Province. He was the monastery’s chief administrator for ten years and taught in various Tibetan schools in the area.

In another case, a 36-year-old monk named Lodroe from Ngaba’s Kirti monastery was arrested some days ago. His fate remains unknown.
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