Tibetan Writers Sentenced for Speaking OutOn September 14, 2019 by Ann Brown
“[This magazine] has come into your hands out of a determination to vindicate the many who succumbed to the tribulations of 2008.” —Garmi, one of three Tibetan writers sentenced
THREE WRITERS WHO DARED TO PUBLISH articles about the March protests in Tibet were sentenced to three and four years in prison by Chinese authorities last week.
The three writers, Dhonkho (official name, Rongke, pen name: Nyen), Bhudha (pen name: Buhdha the Destitute), and Kelsang Jinpa (pen name: Garmi), wrote essays about the crackdown in the magazine Shar Dungri (“Eastern Snow Mountain”).
The writers in Eastern Snow Mountain knew their words would be read, not just by the Chinese authorities, but others in the West and in more democratic societies. The authors ask hard questions—who does not know that our monks and laypeople, men and women, lost their precious lives?—that demand to be answered.
“Life is a precious jewel hard to obtain and of inestimable value, so we feel no end of grief when one is lost, whoever they are. But why is the government of a large and populous nation unable to accept valid actions of dissent?”
—Buhdha, one of the three writers sentenced
Articles in Eastern Snow Mountain also take the Chinese propaganda machine head-on, especially in the bullying tone of so-called Chinese news. According to ICT’s report, after the Chinese media machine took its usual stance of extreme rhetoric; the writers fought back:
“Rather than presenting the people of the world with an even marginally honest account in accord with the actual situation, the top CCTV news channels tried to put as much blame as they could on ‘a few wicked troublemakers,’ making various allegations in an extremely bullying tone… The Tibetans, whose lifeblood has been constantly drained and whose life-force is struggling for breath after 50 years under the dictators, have now begun a spontaneous movement by reviving the nearly exhausted desire for democracy, freedom and equality. And when terrifying suffering, unimaginable and impossible to recount, came down once more on the black-headed Tibetans, the value of the lifeblood and life-force of those great people who gave their lives for the sake of happiness and truth became visible.”
The writers showed real courage by not only speaking out but publishing their words. They knew the Chinese would ban the publication, and they knew they faced detention, arrest, and imprisonment. But they went ahead anyway, refusing to remain silent or cower in fear.
“Now that the minds of our people, monastics and laypeople, men and women, are like snowflakes in the wind, in the face of gun-barrels and horsewhips, will we not call on the truthful eyes of the world to look our way for a moment?” —Nyen, one of three Tibetan writers sentenced
Read more selections (in English translation) from Eastern Snow Mountain: “A Great Mountain Burned by Fire: China’s Crackdown In Tibet.”
More about the writers’ arrests and sentencing from Phayul.