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Prominent Tibetan writer Shokang released after three years of imprisonment

March 19, 2018

Canada Tibet Committee, March 19, 2018 – A prominent Tibetan blogger Shokjang (Druklo) has been released today after three years of imprisonment for writing against China’s repressive policies in Tibet. In February 2016, Shokjang was wrongfully sentenced to three years in prison on charges  of “inciting separatism” and “disturbing social stability” following his arrest on 19 March 2015, making him due for release today, 19 March 2018.

Shokjang has a history of activism. As a student of Tibetan literature at the Northwest Nationalities University in Lanzhou, Shokjang organised student protests calling for greater freedom for Tibetans during the mass Tibetan uprisings in March 2008. He was later detained and held arbitrarily for a month for his involvement in the 2008 Tibetan Uprisings, and for publishing a literary magazine that criticized China’s policies. 

On 17 February 2015, Shokjang was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and two years’ deprivation of political rights for “inciting separatism”; Shokjang insisted his innocence throughout. According to the Court, Shokjang committed “crimes” through his writings, including an essay on freedom of religion and a blogpost recounting the events of 16 March 2015 when gun-wielding armed police officers conducted a search at his hotel room.

Shokjang is a highly regarded Tibetan poet, lyricist, short story writer, and essayist. He is the author of four books: The Courageous Path, The Might of the Pen, For Liberty, I Have No Regrets, and Rangdrol’s Courage. Numerous governments and human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, Pen America, Human Rights in China, have raised his case since his arrest in 2015.

Shokjang’s arrest and false imprisonment expose a larger systemic issue of repression of all aspects of life in Tibet, including the freedom of expression. It also underlines the increasing insecurity of the occupying regime of China. As a result of these crackdowns and Xi Jinping’s increasingly oppressive regime in Tibet and other Chinese-occupied territories, resistance inside Tibet is stronger today than it ever has been. 

Sherap Therchin of the Canada Tibet Committee, Ottawa said: “We like to thank all governments and human rights organizations for pressing China on immediate release of Shokjang, and we request a continued support for immediate and unconditional release all other prisoners of conscience.”

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