Three years on, whereabouts of Tibetan poet is a mystery — Radio Free Asia

More than three years after the arrest of a popular Tibetan writer and poet in northwestern China, police have not provided any details about his whereabouts, his sentence or his well-being, despite repeated appeals by his family for information, two sources told Radio Free Asia.

Gendun Lhundrub, a former monk at Rongwo Monastery in Rebgong county of Malho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China’s Qinghai province, was detained on Dec. 2, 2020

Authorities did not cite any reasons for his arrest, which followed a long period when police monitored his activities for signs of dissent and opposition to Chinese policies, RFA learned at the time.

Chinese authorities frequently detain Tibetan writers, artists and singers who promote Tibetan national identity and culture or who have criticized China’s rule of the western region. 

They scrutinize their writings for content considered as “endangering national security” or constituting an “act of separatism,” thereby deeming them threats to the ruling Chinese Communist Party. 

Lhundrub’s relatives have made repeated requests to authorities in Rebgong county to find out where he is and whether he has been sentenced, said one source from inside Tibet. 

“However, they have not received any response to their queries,” said the source, who declined to be identified for safety reasons.

Whenever the family wants to send items to Lundrub, officials at the Chinese government’s Rebgong county office tell them to leave the items with them, and they will forward them to Lundrub, he said. 

“His well-being is also unclear as no one has been allowed to meet him,” the source added.

Additionally, officials have shared no details or documentation as proof of Lhundrub’s sentence, both sources said.

Long list

Lhundrub is among those on a long list of well-known Tibetan writers and poets arrested by authorities. In 2016, Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk was arrested and tortured. He was released in 2021 after being held for two years in pre-trial detention and serving part of a five-year prison sentence. 

Gendun Lhundru was born in 1974 in Rebgong in the traditional Amdo region of Tibet in the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau. 

He became a monk at a young age and enrolled in the Rebgong Dargye Monastery. He later studied at the Rebgong Rongpo Monastery, Labrang Tashi Kyil and Serta Labrang. 

Starting in 1994, he wrote poetry. In October 2022, he released an anthology of poems called “Khorwa,” and wrote on the website Waseng-drak that writers and artists require freedom to express their thoughts and emotions without restriction, RFA learned from sources that year. 

Lhundrub’s collection of poems, which include “Black Rosary,” “Melody of Life” and “White Book,” and his literary skills are highly regarded by Tibetans around the world.

Written by Tenzin Pema for RFA Tibetan. Edited by Roseanne Gerin and Malcolm Foster.

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