A Tibetan political writer serving a 10-year prison sentence for “endangering national security” was released Thursday in western China’s Qinghai province, a Tibetan source living in Dharamsala, India, said.
Authorities detained writer Arik Dolma Kyab on March 9, 2005, and tried him in secret on Nov. 30, said Arik Gyurme, who is from the same town as Kyab.
Kyab’s “crime” was writing a book in Chinese entitled Unstable Himalayas as well as an article entitled “A Letter Addressed to All Tibetan Brothers,” Gyurme said.
In the article, he wrote, “There is no reason to fear. Don’t shed tears. We will certainly be victorious…”
Authorities had arrested Kyab because his publications were seen to be Tibetan nationalist in nature and a threat to Chinese rule in the region.
“Many fans and supporters showed up to welcome him when he arrived at his hometown in Droklung town in Dola [in Chinese, Qilian] county in Qinghai’s Tsojang [Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture],” Gyurme said.
Authorities had sentenced Kyab to 10 years and six months in Chushul prison outside the Tibetan regional capital Lhasa, he said.
“He was detained at the same prison until his recent release,” he said.
In 2003, Kyab went to Dharamsala to study English, but returned to Tibet the following year to work as a teacher at a middle school in Lhasa. At the time, he also started writing a book about Tibet’s topography.
Five years later, he received a Hellman-Hammett grant from New York-based Human Rights Watch, which gives the annual award to writers who have been victims of political persecution and are in financial need, Gyurme said.
After Kyab’s release from Chushul prison, two police officers from Dola county escorted him by plane to Xining, the capital of Qinghai province, where they completed the necessary paperwork at the relevant department for his release, Gyurme said.
They then took him to Droklung where he arrived at his home around 9 p.m., he said.
When Kyab arrived, his relatives expressed concern about his abdomen and liver and said they planned to take him to Xining for treatment, according to Gyurme.
China has jailed scores of Tibetan writers, artists, singers, and educators for asserting Tibetan national and cultural identity and language rights, especially since widespread protests swept Tibetan areas in 2008.
Reported by Chakmo Tso for RFA’s Tibetal Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.