Public security officials detained Rabten for publishing a banned magazine and a collection of articles, according to Phayul, a pro-Tibetan independence news website based in New Delhi.
Rabten, a student at Northwest Minorities University in Lanzhou, Gansu province, edited the magazine Shar Dungri (Eastern Snow Mountain) in the aftermath of ethnic rioting in Tibet in March 2008. The magazine was banned by local authorities, according to the International Campaign for Tibet. The journalist later self-published a collection of articles titled Written in Blood, saying in the introduction that “after an especially intense year of the usual soul-destroying events, something had to be said,” the campaign reported.
The book and the magazine discussed democracy and recent anti-China protests; the book was banned after he had distributed 400 copies, according to the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia. Rabten had already been detained once before, in 2009, according to international Tibetan rights groups and Radio Free Asia.
A court in Aba prefecture, a predominantly Tibetan area of Sichuan province, sentenced Rabten to four years in prison in a closed-door trial on June 2, 2011, according to Radio Free Asia and the International Campaign for Tibet. Radio Free Asia cited a family member as saying that Rabten had been charged with separatism, although CPJ could not independently confirm the charge.
No information on where he was being held had been disclosed in late 2013.