The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International is seriously concerned about the detention of writer Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, who has been held incommunicado at an unknown location since 15 February 2012. The WiPC urgently seeks further information about his whereabouts, wellbeing and any charges against him, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.
According to the Beijing-based Tibetan writer Woeser, Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, aged 33, was arrested without a warrant by a team of 20 police off icers from his home in Serthar county, Sichuan Province, just before midnight on 15 February 2012. His present condition and place of detention is unknown. His arrest comes amidst escalating tensions in Tibetan areas in recent weeks, following a series of self-immolations and protests against Chinese rule which have been violently suppressed by the security forces. Arrests have been widespread. The Guardian gives the following background:
‘Tibetans and the Chinese government in the region have been engaging in a cycle of protest and repression that erupted into violent unrest in recent weeks. More than 20 Tibetans have separately set themselves on fire to protest against controls on Buddhist monasteries and other repressive measures over the past year.
In response security forces have further tightened controls and increased arrests. US-based Human Rights Watch said last week that Chinese authorities had detained hundreds of Tibetans who recently returned from trips to India to attend sermons by the Dalai Lama, their exiled spiritual leader.
In Serthar, also known as Seda, Tibetan protesters clashed with security forces last month, leaving at least two Tibetans dead. The government said the protesters had attacked a police station. It was not known whether Drubpa Kyab was involved in the protests.’
Drubpa Kyab is said to be a well known and popular writer, and according to Radio Free Asia (RFA) his popular compositions include “Call of Fate”, “Pain of This Era” and “Today’s Tear of Pain”. He has worked as a teacher in Serthar for almost a decade.
Drubpa Kyab’s detention comes two weeks after the arrest of government researcher Dawa Dorje, a popular advocate of Tibet’s traditional culture and language, who is believed to have been detained by Chinese authorities after organizing a conference promoting Tibetan culture. His whereabouts are unknown.
In March 2008 the Chinese authorities launched a crackdown in the Tibet Autonomous Region, after anti-government protests took place in Lhasa and other areas, with reports of arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force against dissidents. Tight restrictions remain in force on reporting from the Tibetan region and arrests are continuing. Writers, singers, and artists promoting Tibetan national identity and culture are amongst those to have been targeted, and many have been handed down lengthy prison terms.
Please send appeals:
Expressing serious concern about the arrest of Tibetan writer Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, and seeking details of the charges against him;
Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.
Send appeals to:
His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
CC. Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Party Committee
Zhonggong Xizang Zizhiqu Weiyuanhui
Lhasashi, Xizang Zizhiqu
People’s Republic of China
Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. WiPC recommends that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments.
You may find it easier to write to the Chinese ambassador in your own country asking him or her to forward your appeal. Most embassies are obliged to forward such appeals to the relevant officials in the country. A letter or petition signed by an eminent member of your Centre may give make it more likely for your appeal to be considered. Similarly if your appeal is published in your local press and copied to the Chinese ambassador, this too may have greater impact.
See this useful link to find the contact details of the Chinese embassy in your country Chinese embassies abroad
**Please contact the PEN WiPC office in London if sending appeals after 15 March 2012**
For further information please contact Cathy McCann at International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: email@example.com