Imprisoned Shokjang writes appeal from detention

The last page of Shokjang's appeal
The last page of Shokjang's appeal
7th April 2016

Letter responds to charges of separatism against the writer

The imprisoned Tibetan writer and blogger Druklo, who publishes under the pen name Shokjang, has appealed against his three year sentence by writing a letter from his place of detention in Rebkong County, eastern Tibet. The appeal is a 12 page letter handwritten in Tibetan and addressed to the Higher People's Court of China's Qinghai Province.

In the letter Shokjang argues his innocence following the three-year sentence he received in February after being found guilty of “inciting separatism” and “disturbing social stability”. He writes about the circumstances of his arrest and the charges of separatism against him, claiming that they bore no relation to his writings:

"If one talks about instigating separatism, I have not written even a word of separatism, much less instigated it. If I write about an incident in which I suffered harm, and that becomes an unfounded accusation against me, and I write an appeal to the court about the incident, that does not make me a separatist.”

“I never want to be a person without regard for the lives of his brothers and sisters”

Shokjang was arrested on 19 March, 2015, three days after writing a blog post critical of the deployment of Chinese security forces throughout Tibet. In his letter he reminded the authorities of his right to freedom of expression, enshrined in the Chinese Constitution. In one passage he also expresses empathy with other Tibetan and also Chinese people:

“China is a vast country with 56 different nationalities, and Tibetans are one of the largest minorities. I am a Chinese citizen, and as a Tibetan intellectual, I have to be concerned for the precious lives of my own kin. If doing so is called ‘instigating separatism’, nothing is more laughable. I might joyfully and voluntarily serve my sentence, but I never want to be a person without regard for the lives of his brothers and sisters. Come to that, I would do the same for our Chinese brothers and sisters.”

The letter is dated 24 February 2016 but reached Tibetans in exile in April. It has since been widely circulated by Tibetans on social media. (The full translation of the letter has been made by the International Campaign for Tibet, and has been verified by our research partner, Tibet Watch.)

According to the letter, Shokjang remains in detention in Rebkong County, where he has been since his arrest in 2015, awaiting transfer to prison.

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