NEW YORK—The release from prison today of Tibetan writer and history teacher Dolma Kyab is welcome news, but highlights the lengths to which the Chinese government will go to repress dialogue and dissent in Tibet, PEN said in a statement today.

Chinese authorities released Dolma Kyab after he completed a 10.5 year prison sentence after being convicted of “endangering state security.” The charges related to two manuscripts written by Dolma Kyab in Chinese that addressed a variety of topics including  democracy, Tibet under communism, colonialism, geographical aspects of Tibet, and religion and belief.

“After a long period with no information on Dolma Kyab’s whereabouts or wellbeing, news of his release comes as a relief today,” said Karin Deutsch Karlekar, director of Free Expression Programs at PEN American Center. “Dolma Kyab should never have been imprisoned for his writing. His persecution, and that faced by many other Tibetans like Tsering Woeser, is a misguided and futile attempt by Chinese authorities to silence dissenting voices in the region.”

According to the PEN International Case List, 12 Tibetans were in prison in 2014 for exercising their right to free expression. Dolma Kyab, one of the 12, was arrested on March 9, 2005 in Lhasa at the middle school where he taught history. He was initially held in Seitru Detention Centre and then moved to Chushul Prison in 2006. After riots and protests broke out in Lhasa in March 2008, he was transferred out of Chusul Prison after which point his whereabouts were unknown until he was released today.   

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Founded in 1922, PEN American Center is an association of 4,200 U.S. writers working to break down barriers to free expression worldwide.

CONTACT
Sarah Edkins, Deputy Director of Communications: sedkins@pen.org, +1 (646) 779-4830
Karin Deutsch Karlekar, Director of Free Expression Programs: kdkarlekar@pen.org, +1 (646) 779-4822