Writer among nine Tibetans sentenced to prison in Diru

Tibetan nomad Topden aka Do Ghang Gah has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Tibetan nomad Topden aka Dro Ghang Gah has been sentenced to five years in prison.

China’s ongoing crackdown in enforcing the government’s ‘mass line’ policy has resulted in the sentencing of nine Tibetans in Shagchu (Ch: Xiaqu) town in Diru (Ch: Biru) County, Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). All three identified so far have been charged of maintaining contacts with “Dalai clique” and for “engaging in activities to split the nation.”

Among the nine sentenced to varying terms is Topden, a nomad and a writer who writes under the pseudonym Dro Ghang Gah. Topden, 30, was arrested on 28 October 2013 and sentenced to five years in prison on 30 November 2013, according to information received by TCHRD. He hails from Village No. 4 in Shagchu town and has a wife, Dakar, and three young children.

Sources say Topden was imprisoned for “keeping contacts with Dalai clique and for engaging in activities to split the nation”. Some who have contacts in Diru contend that he might have been punished for writing a poem detailing the atrocities faced by local Tibetans in Diru County since early this year. TCHRD has received a copy of this poem, a translation of which is provided at the end of this report. The poem encompasses events during the early years of Chinese rule in Tibet particularly Nagchu area during 1969 when thousands of Tibetans were starved, imprisoned and killed.  It also contains details on some of the recent crackdowns in Diru County including the beating and continued incommunicado detention of lay man Dayang, 69, in Dongla Rudo Village in Tsachu Township. The writer also mentions the sacred Naglha Dzamba Mountain where hundreds of Tibetans protesting mining activities at the holy mountain have clashed with armed police in recent years.

Two other Tibetans, lay man Tenzin Rangdol and monk Kunchok Choephel, were among the nine sentenced in Shagchu town. TCHRD had earlier reported on the arrest of Tenzin Rangdol, 32, a self-employed father of three. Rangdol’s arbitrary arrest had led to an overnight protest the next day on 19 October 2013 by Tibetans outside the government office. He was arrested on 18 October 2013 and sentenced on 30 November 2013 to five years in prison for the same charges as Topden. Rangdol hails from Village No. 4.

Kunchok Choephel, 28,  was arrested on 18 November 2013 and sentenced on 30 November 2013 to six years in prison on same charges as Topden and Rangdol. Monk Kunchok Choephel hails from Nga-yang Village in Shagchu town.

Kunchok Choephel, a monk, has been sentenced to six years in prison.
Kunchok Choephel, a monk, has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Sources also reported to TCHRD that Lobsang Tashi, a monk from Rabten Monastery was arrested while he was doing his daily meditation. The arrest occurred at around 4 pm (local time) on 23 September 2013 when local Public Security Bureau officers also seized the monk’s personal cellphone and “other electrical gadgets”, according to sources.  Lobsang hails from Village no. 8 in Dathang Township and has since disappeared. There are no additional details on Lobsang Tashi. TCHRD had earlier reported the violent suppression of local protest in Dathang Township by People’s Armed Police force.

The identities of six others sentenced are not known immediately due to extreme government censorship and surveillance in Diru and neighbouring counties in Nagchu Prefecture.

Below is a translation of the poem written by Topden who was sentenced to five years in prison:


Sad Song of Diru

by Dro Ghang Gah

Beautiful landscape of Kham, [one] of the three provinces of Tibet
Majestic Naglha Mountain and its surroundings
Rich village inhabited by nomads and farmers
It is called Nagshoe Diru

Old and new history of these villages
When I remember them from the depth of my heart
With each and every heart beat [I experience]
Tears wet my dark eyes

In the year 1969
For the sake of Tibetan freedom
Hundreds of brave souls
Were massacred by the Chinese

Then the blue river Drulchu
Shrouded by a storm of red blood
Amid melancholic sound of the falling river
Merged with the great river Ngulchu

The carrier of our brethren’s blood
If river Ngulchu had a heart
Enveloped by the darkness of suffering
Tears of broken heart would overflow indeed

Looking up at the vast blue sky
[I could] see vultures hovering
The narrow space and group of widows
Is there a time more miserable?

After such painful, dramatic karma
Chinese oppress us
In the flow of blood
We wait for our suffering to end

In the year 2012
For the cause of Tibet
Many heroes like Gudrup
Offered their bodies to fire

When the heroes sit
On the red burning flame
Tears of sadness flow
From six million Tibetans

Truth-tellers of this land
Have destroyed ignorance from its root
By arresting all educated Tibetans
Freedom of mind, body and speech is denied

More than terrors of oppression
Naglha Mountain is on the verge of destruction
The inhabitants of the villages are massacred
Monasteries have turned into empty houses

In the year 2013
Old man Dayang
Who called on his supreme lama
Was brutally punished by repressive law

Turning deaf ears to honest appeals
They beat up hundreds of people
This body has no freedom
This land has no democracy

Many heroes like Dodrak
Sentenced to prison
No freedom to express a few words
Is there a karma more unfortunate than this?

Yellow and dark armored vehicles
Roll down [the streets]
Pointing their blazing gun barrels
At helpless masses

Beneath fluttering red flags
Violent decrees are issued
Visiting upper and lower parts of villages
They destroy all their happiness

Walking three steps forward is illegal
Waving hands three times is a crime
Speaking out three words is criminal
Is there a place more wretched than this?

Alas, oh The Wish-fulfilling Jewel
The protector Tenzin Gyatso
Please bestow us the moment
To wipe out tears and blood of this land

Alas, oh Lobsang Sangay
Leader of the Tibetan people
With heroic strength and power
Cut the final [chain] of this suffering

In this extensive universe
They say just laws exist
If these laws have power
Just look at the fate of Land of Snows.


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