A Tibetan nomad was jailed this month by a court in northwestern China’s Qinghai province after being convicted of promoting “separatism” for posting photos and teachings of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on social media, Tibetan sources said.
Lhundup Dorje, 30, was handed a one-year prison, to be followed by a one-year deprivation of political rights following his release, by the Golog People’s Intermediate Court on Dec. 14, a source in Tibet told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“Chinese authorities arrested Dorje on July 23, and he had already been held in detention for five months before he was sentenced,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Dorje had drawn the attention of police after posting a New Year’s greeting message to Tibet’s India-based exile government, the Central Tibetan Administration, on his Weibo account on Feb. 5, 2019, RFA’s source said.
He had also posted a 10-second video clip of teachings by the Dalai Lama, whose images are banned by Chinese authorities in Tibetan areas.
“Then on March 11 of this year, [Dorje] posted slogans calling for Tibetan independence, and on May 3 he posted a picture of the Dalai Lama taken when he was young, along with praises and compliments to him,” the source said.
These postings were viewed on social media at least 2,383 times, and all were listed separately in the indictment against him, the source said.
Lhundup Dorje was born on Aug. 7, 1990 and comes from Gangri village in the Golog (in Chinese, Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Machen (Maqin) county in the traditional Amdo province of Tibet, RFA’s source said, adding, “He had lived the simple life of a nomad until his arrest.”
“Lhundup Dorje has accepted the charges against him and does not wish to appeal the sentence passed against him by the Golog People’s Intermediate Court,” he said.
Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is widely reviled by Chinese leaders as a separatist intent on splitting Tibet, a formerly independent Himalayan country which was invaded and incorporated into Communist China by force in 1950, from Beijing’s control.
The Dalai Lama himself says only that he seeks a greater autonomy for Tibet as a part of China, though, with guaranteed protections for Tibet’s language, culture, and religion.
Reported by Pema Ngodup for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.