Police in southwestern China’s Sichuan province have detained a second Tibetan for taking part in a reception ceremony in which a photo of the Dalai Lama was openly displayed, Tibetan sources say.
Dowa Samdrub, a friend of popular Tibetan writer Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, was taken into custody in Serthar (in Chinese, Seda) county after greeting Kyab following the writer’s release from prison after serving four-and-a-half years for his writings criticizing Chinese rule.
Samdrub himself had also been recently freed from jail after serving a sentence on a similar charge, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“Dowa Samdrub participated in the reception for Drubpa Kyab and was detained at around 2:00 p.m. on Sept. 18,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“He was taken to the Serthar county detention center,” he said.
Kyab, who was photographed at the reception holding a photo of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, was taken into custody the previous day, the source said, adding that officials have said that both men may now be held for at least 15 days.
“More information may be available at the end of that time,” he said.
A former Tibetan political prisoner now living in Switzerland confirmed that Samdrub had been detained, citing local sources as saying that Samdrub had held the Dalai Lama’s portrait over his head in public in a gesture of respect.
“He was later detained by local police,” the former prisoner named Golog Jigme said.
“Some told me that police from Kardze [Ganzi] prefecture were also present at the scene, but others were not certain they were there.”
Samdrub had previously been convicted of posting flyers in Serthar calling for Tibetan freedom, and had been free only since Aug. 13, Jigme said.
Writers, singers, and artists promoting Tibetan national identity and culture have frequently been detained by Chinese authorities, with many handed long jail terms, following region-wide protests against Chinese rule that swept Tibetan areas in 2008.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin and Sonam Wangdu for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.