China Detains Two Tibetan Activists, Frees Jailed Writer

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tibetan-kunga-tsangyang-blur-jan-2014.jpg Kunga Tsangyang following his release from jail, Jan. 12, 2014. The images of others in the photo have been altered to protect their identities.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

Police in northwestern China’s Qinghai province have detained two Tibetans who opposed Chinese mining operations over environmental concerns, while a Chinese court in neighboring Gansu province has freed a Tibetan writer before he had completed his term in jail, sources said.

Tseten Dondrub, 35, and Dzumga, age unknown, were taken into custody on Sept. 18 and on or around Dec. 25, respectively, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service at the weekend.

Both had been active in working against Chinese mining works in Qinghai’s Yulshul (in Chinese, Yushu) prefecture and in other places in the neighboring Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), RFA’s source said.

“Tseten Dondrub is from Nangchen [Nangqian] county in Yulshul,” the source said.

“He was detained in Xining city by the local police, and for a long time his family had no word of him. On Jan. 5, his relatives learned of his detention in Xining, but have not been able to contact him so far.”

Dondrub, who had studied in Tibetan monasteries in India before returning to Tibet, was a popular figure who had taught Tibetan language and Buddhism in nomadic areas during his vacations, the source said.

“He also helped many Tibetans who needed medical assistance,” he said.

Dzumga, also a native of Nangchen county in Yulshul, was taken into custody on or around Dec. 25, the source said, adding, “He had been on the run for about four months, and there is no information on where he has been held since he was detained by the police."

“He and his friend Tseten Dondrub were working against the Chinese mining works in Yulshul and other places in the TAR,” he said.

Mining operations in Tibetan regions have led to frequent standoffs with Tibetans who accuse Chinese firms of disrupting sites of spiritual significance and polluting the environment as they extract local wealth.'

'Separatist activities'

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities on Jan. 12 released a Tibetan monk from jail seven months before he had completed his sentence following a conviction for “separatist activities,” a second source told RFA.

Kunga Tsangyang, who had written articles on restricted political topics under the pen name Gangnyi, was detained in 2009 at the Labrang monastery in China’s Gansu province and was handed a five-year term by the Tsoe city court in Gansu’s Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the source said.

No explanation was given for his early release.

“[Tsangyang] was an advocate for the protection of the environment and was also a skilled photographer,” RFA’s source said.

“When he reached his hometown in Golog after his release, about 400 local Tibetans in 19 vehicles came out to welcome him,” he said.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

A total of 125 Tibetans have also set themselves ablaze in self-immolation protests since February 2009, with another six setting fire to themselves in India and Nepal.

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


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