Tibetan Journalist Detained

Chinese authorities detain a Tibetan television journalist in Sichuan, citing "political" material on his computer.
2008-09-18
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KANGDING, China: Tibetan monks chant prayers at their monastery in the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China's southwestern Sichuan province, 23 March 2008.
KANGDING, China: Tibetan monks chant prayers at their monastery in the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China's southwestern Sichuan province, 23 March 2008.
AFP
KATHMANDU—Chinese authorities in the southwestern province of Sichuan have detained a Tibetan television journalist and searched his home and belongings, sources in the region said.

Tibetan sources in India said Rangjung, 26, was taken away by police on Sept. 11 just before midnight by officials from the Kardze [in Chinese, Ganzi] Autonomous Tibetan Prefecture, which comprises Serthar [in Chinese, Seda] county.

"His family members were not informed of reasons for his detention but they suspect some political reasons," an exiled Tibetan from Serthar county in India said.
They took away his laptop that contained, according to Chinese officials, some political documents."
Tibetan source

A monk in Serthar county confirmed that account.

"The arrest took place but I do not have the details. If you call in two days, I will have more details," the monk said.

Detention center

"After he was taken away, officials came again and searched his house. They took away his laptop that contained, according to Chinese officials, some political documents. His wife and two children were left behind in Serthar county," one source said.

Rangjung's family were informed that he was being detained at the Kardze prefectural detention center but were given no detailed information about his condition.

Repeated calls by RFA's Tibetan and Mandarin service reporters to the Kardze Public Security Bureau went unanswered during office hours this week.

An employee who answered the phone at the Kardze liaison office in Chengdu said she knew nothing of the case. "I have never heard this report," she said.

RSF statement

A graduate of Dartsedo [Kangding] Normal College, Rangjung later became a reporter, and he has published three books on the Himalayan region.

In a statement, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders voiced deep worry about Rangjung’s arrest.

"The Chinese authorities must explain why this journalist and defender of Tibetan culture has been arrested," Reporters Without Borders said. "The case highlights the climate of fear prevailing in the Tibetan regions, where many people have been arrested arbitrarily since the events in March."

Rangjung has presented news in Tibetan for local television for several years.

Tibetan singer and TV presenter Jamyang Kyi was arrested at her office at state-owned Qinghai Television in Xining, in the western province of Qinghai, in April. She was freed after a month, after paying bail.

Chinese campaign

The Chinese authorities have launched a concerted "patriotic education" campaign among Tibetans, aimed at diminishing support for the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Beijing blames the Dalai Lama for violence that erupted in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, on March 14 following several days of peaceful protests.

Beijing says that 22 people were killed in the rioting, which began in Lhasa and spread rapidly to other Tibetan areas of western China.

Tibetan sources say scores of people were killed when Chinese paramilitary and police opened fire on crowds of unarmed demonstrators.

Chinese authorities also blame the Dalai Lama for fomenting a Tibetan independence movement. The Dalai Lama rejects the accusation, saying he wants only autonomy and human rights for Tibetans.

Original reporting in Tibetan by Pema Ngodup and Chakmo Tso and in Mandarin by Qiao Long. Tibetan service director: Jigme Ngapo. Mandarin service director: Jennifer Chou. Translated by Karma Dorjee and Jia Yuan. Written for the Web in English by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.

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