February 23, 2012

President of the People’s Republic of China
His Excellency Hu Jintao
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China
Your Excellency,

On behalf of the 3,500 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our concern regarding the detention of writer Gangkye Drubpa Kyab.

According to our information, just before midnight on February 15, 2012, Gangkye Drubpa Kyab was detained without a warrant by a team of 20 polices officers at his home in Serthar county, Sichuan province. His arrest comes amid escalating tensions in Tibetan areas in recent weeks, following a series of self-immolations and protests against Chinese rule, which have been violently suppressed by security forces. Drubpa Kyab’s present condition and whereabouts are currently unknown. There is no information on the charges against him.

Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, 33, is a well-known writer. His popular works include “Call of Fate,” “Pain of This Era,” and “Today’s Tear of Pain.” He has worked as a teacher in Serthar for almost a decade.

PEN American Center is incredibly alarmed by the recent crackdown on dissent in Tibetan areas after a number of monks and nuns self-immolated in protest of policies in Tibet.  We understand that phone lines and Internet have also been cut in many areas and that independent journalists have not been permitted to report on the conflict. We believe Gangkye Drupba Kyab has been detained as a direct result of this crackdown in violation of his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 35 of the Chinese constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory. We therefore call for his immediate and unconditional release and the release of all other writers imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to free expression, and for authorities to permit journalists and other international observers into Tibetan regions to investigate the situation independently.

Thank you for your attention to this crucial matter.

Hannah Pakula
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Party Committee
Zhang Qingli
Zhonggong Xizang Zizhiqu Weiyuanhui
Lhasashi, Xizang Zizhiqu
People’s Republic of China

H.E. Zhang Yesui
Ambassador of the PRC to the U.S.
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the U.S.
3505 International Place, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Fax: (202) 495-2138

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