August 14, 2010
A forty-seven-year-old Tibetan writer, accused of "splittism," will stand trial next month in Xining, the provincial capital of Qinghai Province on the Tibetan Plateau. Splittism is a charge most Tibetan critics of Chinese rule face when arrested. The writer, Tragyal, who writes under the name Shogdung, was arrested following the publication of The Line Between Sky and Earth, which, according to the New York Times, is a "painstakingly written indictment of Chinese rule and a call for a 'peaceful revolution' against what Mr. Tragyal describes as Beijing’s heavy-handed governing style."
Tragyal had been formerly known—and criticized from within Tibet—for his criticism of Tibetans' "superstitious ways," according to the Times. He wrote while working as an employee of a state-run publishing house. The author, however, moved by the 2008 uprising in Lhasa and its brutal aftermath, could no longer remain silent: "I kept a disciplined silence and stayed passive like a coward," he writes, "ultimately out of fear."
Since the 2008 uprisings, some note changes in Tibetans' willingness to resist Chinese policy in Tibet. From the Times:
Robert J. Barnett, director of the modern Tibetan studies program at Columbia, said two years of detentions, secret trials and torture accusations had prompted soul-searching and quiet resistance. Elderly Tibetan cadres have published memoirs on long-forgotten massacres by Communist troops. Middle-age functionaries have openly voiced qualms about their role in China’s bureaucracy. Online, the young and the radicalized post provocative anti-Chinese comments. “People are no longer hiding behind the tradition of self-censorship that comes from fear,” Mr. Barnett said. “What we’re seeing is a new kind of intellectual heroism.”
Read the Times article here.