Writer and Editor Detained
International PEN is seriously concerned for the welfare of Tibetan writer and editor Tashi Rabten (pen name: Te’urang), who was reportedly arrested on July 27, 2009. PEN fears that Tashi Rabten may be held for his critical 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.
According to PEN’s information, writer Tashi Rabten was arrested on July 27, 2009, and is being held incommunicado at an unknown location. It is thought he may be held for his articles on the suppression of the March 2008 protests in Lhasa and surrounding regions. He is the editor of the banned literary magazine Shar Dungri (Eastern Snow Mountain) and author of a new collection of political articles entitled Written in Blood. Tashi Rabten is also a student at the Northwest Minorities University in Lanzhou. He has been under surveillance for some time, and there are fears for his safety.
The International Campaign for Tibet gives the following background:
Tashi Rabten…is from Dzoege (Ch: Ruo’ergai) county in Ngaba, Sichuan province in the Tibetan region of Kham and is due to graduate next year. One of his friends said: “He has won great respect and popularity among students, intellectuals and ordinary readers in Tibet as an outstanding and brave young thinker.” Referring to his recent book, Written in Blood, the Tibetan said: “It consists of many valuable writings on democracy, freedom and equality. In fact, I didn’t see anything illegal in there. It’s all accurate and true.” The same source said that Tashi Rabten had been under surveillance for some time, with his activities strictly monitored, and copies of his book confiscated from the university.
Written in Blood is introduced by the author as follows: “Given my (young) age and (lack of) qualifications, the appearance of this little book may be premature. After an especially intense year of the usual soul-destroying events, something had to be said, and after pondering on whether to speak out, I finally produced this humble little book between 2008-09, shed like a drop of blood.”
In March 2008, the Chinese authorities launched a crackdown in the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas after anti-government protests took place in Lhasa and surrounding regions, with reports of arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force against dissidents. Tight restrictions remain in force on reporting from the Tibetan region, and arrests are continuing. Several other writers have reportedly been detained this year, but two of their arrests were not reported until August 3, 2009. Zhuori Cicheng, founder and editor of the literary magazine Life of Snow, was arrested on April 2, 2009 for writing articles that allegedly incite separatism, and monk Gang Ni, has been held since March 17, 2009 for his critical online articles.
Write A Letter
- Expressing serious concern regarding the arrest of Tibetan writer Tashi Rabten, and seeking details of the charges against him;
- Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently held in violation of 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
Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Party Committee
Zhonggong Xizang Zizhiqu Weiyuanhui
Lhasashi, Xizang Zizhiqu
People's Republic of 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 August 31, 2009: ftw[at]pen.org