Tibetan scholar arrested for his writings was given four-year prison term following secret trial

 A Tibetan writer arrested two years ago on unspecified charges has been sentenced by a Chinese court to a four-year prison term, with no word given by authorities on when his sentence was announced or where he is now being held, RFA has learned.

Lobsang Lhundup, who goes by the pen name Dhi Lhaden, was sentenced for writing a book criticizing Chinese rule in Tibetan areas and for “creating disorder among the public,” sources in Tibet told RFA on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

Following his arrest, his family was not allowed to meet with him or provide him with clothing or food, and his current state of health is still unknown, the sources said.

Lhundup was taken into custody in June 2019 while working at a private cultural education center in Chengdu, the capital of western China’s Sichuan province, sources told RFA in an earlier report.

Born in 1980, Lhundup is a native of the Pema district of Sichuan’s Golog (in Chinese, Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, sources said. He became a monk at the age of 11 and studied at Sichuan’s Larung Gar Tibetan Buddhist Academy, from which thousands of resident monks and nuns were later evicted by Chinese authorities.

After teaching Buddhism at Drepung and Sera monasteries in Tibet’s regional capital Lhasa in his late 20s, Lhundup traveled widely in Tibet, later writing and publishing books about region-wide protests in 2008 against Beijing’s policies and rule in Tibetan areas.

On Dec. 4, 2020, Lhundup’s family was summoned by Chinese authorities to discuss his case, but they learned only that his trial was still pending and they were not allowed to meet with him.

Lhundup has a wife and child, sources said.

Writers, singers, and artists promoting Tibetan national identity and culture have frequently been detained by Chinese authorities, with many handed long jail terms, following the protests that swept Tibet and Tibetan areas of China in 2008.

Language rights have become a particular focus for Tibetan efforts to assert national identity in recent years, with informally organized language courses typically deemed “illegal associations” and teachers subject to detention and arrest, sources say.

Reported by RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney.