PEN International protests the four-year prison sentence handed down to Tibetan writer and editor Tashi Rabten (pen-name Te’urang) on June 2, 2011, for his critical writings. PEN calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Tashi Rabten and all others held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

Background Information

According to PEN’s information, Tashi Rabten, co-editor of the banned Tibetan-language literary magazine Shar Dungri (Eastern Snow Mountain), was arrested on April 6, 2010, and held without charge at Ngaba Prefecture's Barkham County Detention Center, Sichuan province, in western China. He was tried behind closed doors at a court in Ngaba prefecture on June 2, 2011, although his conviction was not reported until July 2, 2011. Details of the charges against him have not been officially confirmed, although he is thought to have been convicted of "inciting separatism" for a collection of political articles on the suppression of the March 2008 protests in Lhasa and surrounding regions entitled Written in Blood. Prior to his arrest, Tashi Rabten, aged 25, was a student at the Northwest Minorities University in Lanzhou, and had reportedly been under surveillance for some time. 

Three other writers are currently in jail for articles published in the Shar Dungri journal. They are Dhonkho, Bhudha and Khelsang Jinpa, who were all reportedly detained in June and July 2010 after they published essays about the 2008 crackdown. This collection of writings was the first known material in Tibetan on the 2008 protests to have been published in the People’s Republic of China. The magazine was quickly banned, but not before copies had circulated in areas of Qinghai and Gansu provinces and beyond. Dhonkho, Bhudha and Khelsang Jinpa were put on trial by the Ngaba Intermediate People’s Court, Sichuan Province, on October 21, 2010, on charges of "splittism." On December 30, 2010, Dhonkho and Bhudha were sentenced to four years in prison, and Kelsang Jinpa to three years, for "incitement to split the nation.” For more background on the Eastern Snow Mountain writers and their writing click here.

In March 2008 the Chinese authorities launched a crackdown in the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas after Tibetans launched anti-government protests in Lhasa, which spread to other regions of Tibet, with reports of arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force against dissidents. Tight restrictions remain in force on reporting from the Tibetan region and arrests are continuing.

Write A Letter

  • Protesting the sentence handed to Tibetan writer Tashi Rabten, and seeking details of the charges against him;
  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, including editor Tashi Rabten, and writers Dhonkho, Bhudha, and Kelsang Jinpa.

Send Your Letter To

His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
People's Republic of China

Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Party Committee
Zhang Qingli
Zhonggong Xizang Zizhiqu Weiyuanhui
Lhasashi, Xizang Zizhiqu
People's Republic of China

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for China in your country if possible.

Please contact PEN if sending appeals after August 15, 2011: ftw [at]