For Freedom and Equality

This bilingual book titled For Freedom and Equality is a collection of articles and poems written by imprisoned Tibetan writer Shokjang. In many of his writings, Shokjang had criticized, with reason and clarity, the repressive policies implemented by the Chinese government in Tibet. In an exceedingly oppressive environment where basic rights and fundamental freedoms are almost non-existent, Shokjang used the power of pen to express the aspirations of the Tibetan people and to depict the real situation in Tibet.

Drukar Gyal AKA Druklo (Pseudonym: Shokjang) is a 30 year-old writer and public intellectual from Labrang, Amdo, Tibet. He is a poet, lyricist, short story writer, translator and essayist. He has authored four books: A Courageous Path, The Might of the Pen, For Liberty I Have No Regrets and Rangdrol’s Spirit. He graduated from the Northwest University for Nationalities in Lanzhou, People’s Republic of China. He is married and has a four-year old son.

Solely for exercising the right to freedom of expression and thought, Shokjang was arbitrarily arrested once in 2010 and later in 2015. During the first arrest, he was detained incommunicado for a month in connection with his writings on the 2008 Tibetan uprising that appeared in the now-banned journal Shar Dungri.In February 2016, almost a year after his arrest in March 2015, he was sentenced to three years in prison. But he asserted his innocence in a 12-page letter appealing against the three-year sentence, eloquently defending his right to free expression. Shokjang’s story represents the widespread and systematic attack on freedom of expression, thought and information in Tibet since the 2008 uprising. It also highlights the fast shrinking space for Tibetan writers, intellectuals and artists to express, debate and dissent without fear.

Through this translated collection of Shokjang’s writings, the Tibetan Writers Abroad PEN Centre and the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy hope to draw widespread attention to the deteriorating state of freedom of expression and thought in Tibet. We believe fellow writers, artists and intellectuals in the world community would join us in amplifying our call for the release of all those who were jailed for merely exercising their right to freedom of expression in Tibet.

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