Tibetan Writer Secretly Detained Over Publications on Dalai Lama

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A photo of Lobsang Namgyal, March 8, 2008
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

Chinese authorities have secretly detained a young Tibetan writer for more than a year for publishing speeches by exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and writings on other Tibetan issues, according to sources.

Lobsang Namgyal, 26, is being held in a detention center in Chengdu, capital of western China’s Sichuan province, after being taken into custody by Chinese police in a market area on May 15, 2012, a Tibetan living in India told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Tuesday.

“His family members and friends were kept completely in the dark and were never told he was detained,” Lhamo Kyab said, citing sources in the region. “They remained worried and helpless for several months,” he said.

“In March of this year, they heard from a reliable source that he was being held in a police detention center in Chengdu.,” he said, adding, “Now it has been confirmed that he is still detained there.”

Kyab, a former political prisoner, said that Lobsang Namgyal, a native of Machu (in Chinese, Maqu) county in the Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu province, is believed to have been detained for publishing talks by exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, along with other writings on Tibetan issues, Kyab said.

“No one is being allowed to see him or to deliver food or clothes,” he said.

Detained before

Namgyal, a resident of Machu's Welban village, had been detained once before for taking part in protests for Tibet, but was later released, Kyab said.

“In 2008, 18 Tibetans were detained when they protested against Chinese rule in the Machu area,” he said.

“Among them, six were taken from a club promoting Tibetan traditional dance, and Lobsang Namgyal was one of that group.”

Namgyal graduated from the Ragya Culture Institute in 2011 and had published a book of poems about the Tibetan cause, Kyab said.

China has jailed scores of Tibetan writers, artists, singers, and educators for asserting Tibetan national and cultural identity and civil rights since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

A total of 121 Tibetans have also set themselves ablaze to date in self-immolation protests challenging Beijing’s rule, with another six setting themselves on fire in India and Nepal.

In August, a court in northwestern China’s Qinghai province sentenced popular Tibetan singer Shawo Tashi, 40, to five years in prison for publicizing the actions of a self-immolation protester and for performing songs with banned political themes, Tibetan sources said.

Reported by Lumbum Tashi for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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