Tudan Lödup (Luo Zhu) defended the use of Tibetan language. He has been sentenced for “separatism.”
by He Yuyan
Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Western Sichuan province is part of Kham, one of the regions of historical Tibet. When the area was incorporated into Sichuan in 1955, the CCP authorities solemnly promised that the creation of an “autonomous prefecture” will guarantee that Tibetan language and culture will be preserved.
This was never fully the case, but the situation is further deteriorating under Xi Jinping. On June 14, Tudan Lödup (also known under his Chinese name Luo Zhu) has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for “separatism” by the Sêrxü County Court of Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
Sêrxü County is an area hosting historical Tibetan monasteries and Tudan Lödup was a middle-school teacher there. He had written several books and articles about the history and traditions of Sêrxü County, which were well received by the local intellectual community.
He was substantially left alone for several years, until restrictions on the use of Tibetan language were introduced in Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, and he wrote some critical articles.
He was warned several times by the police, until in October 2021 he was arrested. He has been committed to trial and sentenced for “separatism,” although he denies having ever advocated separation of historical Tibet from China.
He only asked the CCP to respect the 1955 commitment to preserve the Tibetan culture and language in Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. He has now learned that this is enough for being sent to jail for several years.