Missing Tibetan Said Detained

Concern mounts over the fate of a Tibetan writer missing since late July.
2009-08-10
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Tashi Rabten.jpg
Tashi Rabten. <br>Photo: RFA/Lhuboom Tashi Photo: RFA
DHARAMSALA—A young Tibetan writer and university student missing since late July has been detained by authorities in China’s western Sichuan province, a Tibetan source said.


Tashi Rabten, editor of the banned literary magazine Shar Dungri, had not been seen since July 26, after he returned home from college for the summer, sources said.

First reported by RFA, Rabten’s disappearance had prompted statements of concern from the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and from Tibetan bloggers.

“He was indeed detained and was taken to Barkham [capital of the Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan],” a Tibetan resident of the area said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“He is now probably being held in the prefecture’s Public Security Bureau (PSB) detention center,” the man said.

Calls seeking confirmation from the Ngaba prefecture’s PSB office rang unanswered Monday.

‘A political matter’

Rabten, a native of Dzoege [in Chinese, Ruo’ergai] county in Ngaba prefecture, had been enrolled at the Northwest Minorities University in Lanzhou, in Gansu province.

His writings—both in his magazine and in a book, Written in Blood, also banned—had focused on issues of democracy and last year’s widespread anti-China protests in Tibet.

“He reached his hometown on July 17 for his summer break and disappeared on July 26. He called some of his relatives and said he couldn't be reached and didn't give any details," a source in Ngaba said.

“He published about 1,000 copies of his book, Written in Blood. He distributed more than 400 copies before the Chinese authorities banned it."

In a statement on its Web site, ICT said that a Tibetan source had expressed fears for Rabten’s safety, saying that his book was being treated by authorities as a “political matter.”

Rabten had been under surveillance for some time, the source added.

Original reporting by Chakmo Tso for RFA’s Tibetan service. Tibetan service director: Jigme Ngapo. Written in English by Richard Finney. Edited for the Web by Sarah Jackson-Han.

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