Missing Tibetan writer alleged to be detained in a Chinese prison

Missing Tibetan writer alleged to be detained in a Chinese prison
Liberte by goser le goserien on Flickr in 2011


Mandakini Jathavethan

Tibet and Human Rights Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence.

The location of prominent Tibetan writer and poet Gendun Lhundrub’s incommunicado detention since his arrest in 2020 has been revealed to be a detention center in Siling. He is undergoing a political re-education program where he is required to translate Tibetan Buddhist scripts into Mandarin Chinese. This follows the Chinese guidelines that Tibetan Buddhist studies were to be taught exclusively in Mandarin Chinese. He does not have access to a lawyer or to his family. There are no details on his condition, or about a possible date of trial.

Lhundrub was a monk at the Rongwo Monastery in Rebgong county of the Malho Prefecture in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Prior to his arrest, he had been surveilled and monitored by Chinese authorities for having expressed political dissent.

Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that no one can be detained without a legitimate reason found in law. It continues to state that those who are accused of a crime must be charged for it, and brought before a court of law promptly without undue delays. Article 10 further states that those who have been deprived of their liberty must be treated with humanity. The inherent dignity of the detainee must be respected. Even though China is a signatory, it has not yet ratified the ICCPR. 

An incommunicado detention is also recognised as torture. China ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1988. By holding Lhundrub in incommunicado detention since 2020 with no prospects of initiating a trial against him, China violates Articles 7 and 10(1) of this Convention.

Sources and further reading:

Kunchok, S., (2022, May 24). A missing Tibetan writer said to be detained in prison in China’s Qinghai province. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/tibet/gendun-lhundrub-05242022150507.html