Chinese Police Arrest Six Prominent Tibetans in Kardze

2021-04-14
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Chinese Police Arrest Six Prominent Tibetans in Kardze Tibetan writer and environmental activist Sey Nam is shown in an undated photo.
Photo provided by Golok Jigme

Chinese police in Sichuan’s Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture have arrested six Tibetans considered prominent in their communities in recent weeks, with the reasons for their arrests unknown, a Tibetan living in exile said Wednesday.

Writer and environmental activist Sey Nam was taken into custody on April 2 in Kardze’s (in Chinese, Ganzi’s) Serthar (Seda) county, Golok Jigme, a former political prisoner now living in Switzerland, told RFA’s Tibetan Service, citing local contacts.

“Due to tightened restrictions on communications in the area, my source doesn’t know the reason for his arrest,” Jigme said.

Also arrested on April 2, Tibetan activist and former political prisoner Tsering Dolma had been detained at least twice before in 2008 and 2012 after she took part in protests against Chinese policies and rule in Tibetan areas.

“I think this was the third or fourth time she was arrested,” Jigme said.

Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, a writer and former political prisoner also called Gangme Thak, was arrested in Sertha on March 23, Jigme said, adding, “Kyab had not committed any crime, and the Chinese government has not shown any valid reason for his arrest.”

Political activist Gangbu Yudrum was taken into custody on March 22, with no reason given for his arrest, Jigme said.

Yudrum had previously served a three-year prison term beginning in 2008 for his role in a protest in which he raised the banned Tibetan national flag and called for the return to Tibet of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

He was arrested again in 2012 and released in 2014, receiving a warm welcome from people in his village, who hailed him as a “Tibetan fighter for the truth.” Upon his release, he wrote and distributed copies of a letter to local Tibetans urging them to work to free Tibet from Beijing’s rule.

Two of the six recently detained Tibetans have not yet been identified, and the whereabouts of all six are still unknown, Jigme said.

Formerly an independent nation, Tibet was invaded and incorporated into China by force 70 years ago, and the Dalai Lama and thousands of his followers later fled into exile in India and other countries around the world following a failed 1959 national uprising against China’s rule.

Chinese authorities maintain a tight grip on the region, restricting Tibetans’ political activities and peaceful expression of cultural and religious identity, and subjecting Tibetans to persecution, torture, imprisonment, and extrajudicial killings.

Reported by Lobe Socktsang for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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