Report: Tibetan writer detained, whereabouts unclear

New York, March 31, 2009–The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Public Security Bureau in China’s Gansu province to disclose the whereabouts and legal status of Kunga Tsayang, a monk from the Amdo Labrang Tashi Kyil Monastery who has written online political commentary.

According to the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), which said it had received the information from several sources, Tsayang was arrested by the Public Security Bureau during a late-night raid on March 17 and has not been heard from since. He is the third writer to be detained without explanation in Gansu in recent weeks, according to CPJ research

Tsayang wrote under the pen name Gang-Nyi (Tibetan for “Sun of Snowland”), mostly for the Web site Jottings. According to the Web site Students for a Free Tibet, he was an environmental activist and photographer, but also wrote online political essays with titles such as “Who Is the Real Disturber of Stability?andWho Is the Real Instigator of Protests?” A translation of one of his columns (“Who are the Real Separatists?“) can be found on the Web site, Tibet Writes. Tsayang maintained his own Web site as well.

“We are concerned for the welfare of Kunga Tsayang and call on the Public Security Bureau in Gansu to reveal where and why he is being held,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.

The reported disappearance of Tsayang is part of an ongoing sweep of Tibetan online writers that began in March 2008 amid ethnic unrest in Tibet and other parts of China with large Tibetan populations, like Gansu province. On March 18 CPJ called on China’s public security officials in Gansu to release two Tibetan journalists recently detained or charge them with an offense. Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang, who ran the Tibetan cultural issues Web site Chomei (The Lamp), and filmmaker Jigme Gyatso are still being held without charge.

Editor’s note: The final paragraph of this alert has been altered from the original to eliminate garble and to correct the names of those being held.