The three men, contributors to the banned Tibetan-language magazine Shar Dungri (Eastern Snow Mountain), were detained in Aba, a Tibetan area in southwestern Sichuan province, the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia reported.
Donkho, an author and editor who wrote under the penname Nyen, meaning “Wild One,” was detained on June 21, 2010, Radio Free Asia reported. The name on his official identification is Rongke, according to the International Campaign for Tibet. Many Tibetans use only one name.
Buddha, a practicing physician, was detained on June 26, 2010, at the hospital where he worked in the town of Aba. Kalsang Jinpa, who wrote under the penname Garmi, meaning “Blacksmith,” was detained on June 19, 2010, Radio Free Asia reported, citing local sources.
On October 21, 2010, they were tried together in the Aba Intermediate Court on charges of inciting separatism that were based on articles they had written in the aftermath of the March 2008 ethnic rioting. Radio Free Asia, citing an unnamed source in Tibet, reported that the court later sentenced Donkho and Buddha to four years’ imprisonment each and Jinpa to three years. In January 2011, the broadcaster reported that the three had been put in Mian Yang jail near the Sichuan capital, Chengdu, where they were subjected to hard labor.
Shar Dungri was a collection of essays published in July 2008 and distributed in western China before authorities banned the publication, according to the advocacy group International Campaign for Tibet, which translated the journal. The writers assailed Chinese human rights abuses against Tibetans, lamented a history of repression, and questioned official media accounts of the March 2008 unrest.
Buddha’s essay, “Hindsight and Reflection,” was presented as part of the prosecution, Radio Free Asia reported. According to a translation of the essay by the International Campaign for Tibet, Buddha wrote: “If development means even the slightest difference between today’s standards and the living conditions of half a century ago, why the disparity between the pace of construction and progress in Tibet and in mainland China?”
The editor of Shar Dungri, Tashi Rabten, was also jailed in 2010.
Jinpa’s three-year sentence may have been completed in 2013. Although prisoners in China are generally released at the completion of their sentence, CPJ could not confirm that Jinpa had been freed. Former prisoners in China are often ordered not to discuss their detention or are afraid to do so.