(AFP) – Jul 2, 2011
BEIJING — A young Tibetan writer has been sentenced to four years in jail after he co-wrote essays addressing China's policies in the Himalayan region since unrest erupted in 2008, according to a rights group.
Tashi Rabten, the editor of a banned magazine called Eastern Snow Mountain, was sentenced last month in Aba, in China's southwestern province of Sichuan, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said.
According to the US-based group, he had been detained for more than a year before he was sentenced, and three other writers who worked with him were jailed in December. ICT did not say what charges were brought against him.
Tashi Rabten, who was set to graduate from university, had co-authored a collection of essays titled "Written in Blood", the group said.
This addressed the situation in Tibetan areas since March 2008, when violent anti-government unrest erupted in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, and subsequently spread to neighbouring provinces with significant Tibetan populations.
Calls to the Aba Intermediate People's Court, where ICT said Tashi Rabten was sentenced on June 2, went unanswered. The county government would not comment when contacted by AFP.
ICT said the magazine was the first published Tibetan-language journal about the "crackdown from 2008 onwards, offering a critical perspective reflecting a prevailing sense of despair and loss, but also a way forward."
The Chinese government argues that Tibetan living standards have improved markedly in recent decades under Communist Party rule, pointing to the billions of dollars in spending on infrastructure and development projects.
But tensions run deep in Tibetan areas, where many Tibetans accuse the government of trying to dilute their culture, and criticise what they view as increasing domination by China's majority Han ethnic group.
In April this year, locals and security forces clashed at the famous Kirti monastery in Aba after a monk set himself on fire and died in apparent protest against the government, rights groups said.
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