International PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of Kunchok Tsephel, a Tibetan Internet writer, who has reportedly been held without charge since February 26, 2009. PEN fears that Kunchok Tsephel may be held for his online writings, and if so calls for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

Background Information

Kunchok Tsephel, born in 1970, was arrested by Chinese security officials at his home in the town of Nyul-ra, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP), Gansu Province on February 26, 2009.  He is believed to be held at a Public Security Bureau detention center in Gannan.  At the time of his arrest, Kunchok Tsephel’s home was searched and his computer confiscated. There is no information regarding the reason for his arrest and no charges have been made public.

Kunchok Tsephel is an Internet writer and editor of the Tibetan language web site Chomei (The Lamp), which promotes Tibetan culture and literature. The web site was created by Kunchok Tsephel and Tibetan poet Kyab-chen De-drol in 2005 and since then has been closely monitored by the authorities. Reportedly, the site was shut down several times during 2007 and 2008.  

This is not the first time Kunchok Tsephel has been arrested. In 1995 he was held for two months by Public Security Bureau officials on unknown charges, and was reportedly ill-treated in detention.       

In March 2008 the Chinese authorities launched a crackdown in Tibet after anti-government protests broke out in Lhasa and other areas, with reports of arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force against dissidents. The already tight restrictions on reporting from the Tibetan region have been stepped up in recent weeks during the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising on March 10.

Write A Letter

  • Expressing serious concern about the arrest of Tibetan Internet writer Kunchok Tsephel and seeking details of the charges against him;
  • Calling for his immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of his right to freedom of expression, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

Send Your Letter To

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

Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. PEN recommends that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments.

Please check with PEN if sending appeals after April 17, 2009: ftw[at]