Who is Tashi Rabten?

A few days ago the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) reported that China had sentenced Tibetan writer Tashi Rabten to four years in prison for separatist activities. He had been one of several writers who penned pieces on the 2008 Tibetan unrest for a banned literary magazine, Eastern Snow Mountain (Shar Dungri  in Tibetan).

So who is Tashi Rabten?

Tashi was born Ruo’ergai (Dzorge in Tibetan) in Aba prefecture in the west of Sichuan province. He was a student at Northwest Minorities University in Lanzhou in Gansu province when he was first detained last year. He is in his early twenties. According to the Tibetan Review he was due to graduate last year.

As well as editing Eastern Snow Mountain, Tashi wrote poetry and co-authored a collection of political essays called Written in Blood. It was promptly banned after it was published underground in 2009. His pen name was Theurang.

To give us a taste of his writing, I quote Tashi’s introduction to Written in Blood (courtesy of ICT).

Given my [young] age and [lack of] qualifications, the appearance of this little book may be premature. After an especially intense year of the usual soul-destroying events, something had to be said, and after pondering on whether to speak out, I finally produced this humble little book between 2008-09, shed like a drop of blood.

Two Tibetan writers arrested in China

Two Tibetan students studying at the Northwest National Minorities’ University in Lanzhou, Gansu Province, were arrested by Chinese authorities last week. Police raided the rooms of Tashi Rabten (pen name Te’urang) and Druklo (pen name Shokjang), searching their personal possessions and confiscating their mobile phones, laptops and books. Tashi Rabten, editor of the banned literary magazine Shar Dungri (Eastern Snow Mountain), had previously been arrested in June 2009 for editing a collection of political essays called Written in Blood.