Tibetan TV producer detained in China

New York, April 16, 2008—Chinese authorities should release or publicly charge a Tibetan TV producer in western Qinghai province who has been detained for more than two weeks, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Jamyang Kyi, a veteran producer for state-run Qinghai TV, was arrested on April 1 and has not been seen since April 7, her husband Lamao Jia told The Associated Press. Chinese officials have not confirmed the detention, the AP reported. Radio Free Asia quoted an unidentified source in Beijing as saying that police in Qinghai’s capital, Xining, had formally arrested the reporter but no charges were disclosed.

“The detention of a prominent television producer at a time when the flow of information in and out of Tibetan regions is so rigidly controlled is very concerning, particularly as the Beijing Olympics approach,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “We call on Qinghai authorities to confirm where Jamyang Kyi is being held and the charges she faces, or release her immediately.”

Kyi is also a singer who combined elements of popular and traditional Tibetan culture. She visited the United States in 2006, news reports said. The opportunity for contact with exiled Tibetan activists is seen as a possible motive for investigation by state security officials, the reports noted. 

A heavy security presence has dominated the Tibet Autonomous Region and areas of the neighboring provinces in China since protests against Chinese rule led to violence in March. International journalists have encountered heavy restrictions in reporting from affected areas. Kyi has not been linked to the protests and is not known to have had past trouble with the authorities, according to AP.

Kyi writes her own blog and had published articles about problems facing women in Tibet, according to a biography posted online to advertise a 2006 concert at Columbia University.

At least 24 other journalists are imprisoned for their work in China, according to CPJ research. CPJ has documented the Chinese government’s failure to meet commitments it made to improve press freedom when it was awarded the 2008 Olympics in 2001 in a special report, Falling Short.