Chinese Authorities sentence prominent Tibetan writer to four years in prison

Chinese Authorities sentence prominent Tibetan writer to four years in prison
Old Tibetan prayer script by Marcus Fornell on Flickr in 2015


Mandakini Jathavethan

Tibet and Human Rights Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence.

Well-known Tibetan writer and poet Rongwo Gendun Lhundup (pseudonym: Lhamkok) had been detained by Chinese security authorities since 11 November 2020 in an undisclosed location. It has come to light recently that Lhamkok had also been sentenced to four years imprisonment and two additional years of “deprivation of political rights” (Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, 2022) by the Xining Intermediate People’s Court for the charge of “inciting separatism”. His current location, details of his wellbeing and health, and whether he was allowed to meet family members are not available.

Lhamkok’s literature focused on the current condition and future of the Tibetan language and culture. He actively advocated for the preservation of the Tibetan identity. He had been questioned by Chinese authorities several times in the past for criticising Chinese cultural assimilation policies.

Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) guarantees the right of citizens to freely pursue their social and cultural development. Conversely, Article 3 requires state parties to protect the social and cultural rights of all its citizens. Article 2 prohibits state parties from discriminating among its citizens on the basis of their religion. China ratified the ICESCR on 27 March 2001. It is legally bound to provide the above rights and freedoms to its citizens. Moreover, the right to freedom of speech and expression and that of religious freedoms are established principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). However, by its actions, it is clear that China stands in violation of these provisions of the ICESCR and the UDHR.

Sources and further reading:

Dolma, Y. (2022, June 20). China sentenced a prominent Tibetan writer to four years in prison. 

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, (2022, June 19). Renowned Tibetan Writer Rongwo Gendun Lhundup Sentenced To Four Years In Prison.