Jan 17, 2014

Tibet: Writer Released After 5 Years Of Imprisonment

Kunga Tsayang, a Tibetan writer and environmentalist, has finally been released by the Chinese authorities. He was arrested in March 2009, after having challenged Chinese policies regarding Tibet in his political essays.

Below is an article published by Phayul:

A Tibetan writer and environmentalist jailed in March 2009 has been released from a Chinese detention centre in Lanzhou on January 12 [2014], the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said on its website. 

A monk of Labrang Tashikyil Monastery, Kunga Tsayang reached his home in Chikdril County in Golok yesterday after a brief visit to his monastery in Labrang. Kunga was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for allegedly writing political essays criticizing Chinese policies in Tibet.

Local Tibetans celebrated his release by offering him traditional Tibetan scarves and burning incenses. Kunga who wrote under the pen name “Sun of Snowland” (Tibetan: Gang Nyi) was sentenced 15 November 2009 by the Kanlho Intermediate People’s Court for “disclosing state secrets.”

He wrote several essays, which challenged the Chinese government’s policies regarding Tibet, including ‘Who Is the Real Splittist?’ ‘Who Is the Real Destroyer of Stability?’ ‘We Tibetans are the Real Witnesses’, and Who Is The Real Instigator of Protests?            

In addition to ‘disclosing state secrets’, he was also charged with ‘separatist activities’ due to his writings. According to a TCHRD source, Kunga Tsayang was interrogated for hours about his essay “Lhasa is no more Lhasa”. On asked by the interrogators what he meant by his essay he responded, “It is true you have built railway line, new housing facilities but in reality Lhasa is like the jewel of every Tibetan heart and nowadays both spiritual and secular life in Lhasa have deteriorated a great deal.” 

Kunga who aspired to become a professional photographer had traveled widely throughout Tibet and documented the environmental degradation on the Tibetan plateau and its impact on the Tibetan people. He also worked for Nyenpo Yutsae Environmental Protection Association, a Tibetan conservation group, which distributed materials to schools and conducted educational campaigns about the Tibetan environment and the need to protect endangered species.