19 February 2016 – The three year sentence handed down to Tibetan writer, translator and activist, Druklo (pen-name Shokjang), on 17 February 2016 is an appalling violation of free speech, PEN International said today. PEN believes that the charges brought against Shokjang by the intermediate public court in Malho Prefecture (Jainca County), which include instigating a separatist riot in the 2008 Tibetan unrest and writing articles detrimental to social security on social networks, are solely for exercising his right to free speech. PEN International calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
‘‘Shokjang should be unconditionally released today,’ said Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee. ‘His conviction which appears to be politically motivated is a shocking violation of the right to free speech and opinion and evidence of the continuing crackdown on Tibetan dissident voices by the Chinese authorities.”
Shokjang, Tibetan writer, translator, editor and activist, has published four books, one of which – The Courage of Path – has reportedly been banned by the Chinese government. He has been detained by the Chinese authorities since his arrest on 19 March 2015 in Rebkong County, North-Eastern Tibet (Tongren County, Qinghai, China) for allegedly engaging in ‘splittist’ activities. Shokjang was arrested for the first time in April 2010, on allegations of leading a student protest and contacting outside writers and the Tibetan Youth Congress in exile. He was released on May 8, 2010, with warning from Chinese authorities that he would be watched for 10 years.
To read a selection of Shokjang’s writings in English, click here.
In March 2008 the Chinese authorities launched a crackdown in the Tibet Autonomous Region, after anti-government protests took place in Lhasa and other areas, with reports of arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force against dissidents. Tight restrictions remain in force on reporting from the Tibetan region and arrests are continuing.
For more information contact Romana Cacchioli, International Programmes Director: Romana.Cacchioli@pen-international.org | 0044 (0)207 405 0338