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Fears for missing Tibetan writer; continued crackdown on writers and artists

August 9, 2009

ICT Report
August 6, 2009

Tibetan bloggers have reported the disappearance
of a young Tibetan writer and university student,
Tashi Rabten (pen-name Te’urang), the editor of a
banned literary magazine on the 2008 protests in
Tibet and author of a new collection of work
called "Written in Blood." Tashi Rabten has not
been seen by friends since July 26, the beginning
of the summer holiday at the Northwest Minorities
University in Lanzhou where he is a student.
There are fears for his safety because his recent
book is being dealt with as a "political matter"
according to one Tibetan source, and he has been
under surveillance for some time. Since protests
began across Tibet on March 10, 2008, the Chinese
authorities have adopted a harsh and systematic
approach to silencing Tibetans and suppressing
dissent, and many artists and writers have been
detained or ‘disappeared’. Some have committed
suicide, including a young Amdowa student whose
poetry collection is now circulating in Tibet after his death.

The Tibetan writer Woeser included images and
details of unofficial books published in Tibetan
areas following the beginning of the protests
last year, and wrote on her blog: "It seems as
though the blood is still flowing and the smoke
has not yet cleared from all of the changes that
happened yesterday, and the hot tears and rising
fury that spring forth from the fire and blood is
still the reality of experience for many of us.
This is because of the dark scheming still going
on behind the vast dark veil. [...] Any one of us
could be a statistic. And we could also be a
finer detail, a more robust part of the record.
None of this is going to be over soon, and we
must be clear, meticulous and thorough in
presenting the undeniable and ineradicable truth
about those whose lives disappeared behind the
unknown and limitless dark veil during the blood
and fire of 2008. Through until today there has
been a constant stream of books, magazines,
articles and songs in the mother tongue. Tibetan
writers have broken through the silence, far from
the terror, and ever more of them are inspiring
ever more Tibetans." (http://woeser.middle-way.net/2009/08/blog-post_03.html).

Tashi Rabten, whose whereabouts are now unknown,
is from Dzoege (Chinese: 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."

Tashi Rabten edited the Shar Dungri (Eastern Snow
Mountain) collection of writings about the
protests last year. The magazine was quickly
banned, but not before copies had circulated in
Tibetan areas of Qinghai and Gansu provinces and
beyond. In an afterword to the collection, the
publishers say that they felt they had no choice
but to publish, despite knowing the risks: "The
magazine staff and associates did not commit to
the foolishness of smashing this egg against a
rock and knowingly leaping into an abyss out of
rashness or for the sake of reputation. We did so
out of the pain of separation from the tens of
thousands of souls caught up in this deplorable
violence, and the tormenting thirst for freedom,
democracy and equality for those who should have
them but do not.” The writers, including Tashi
Rabten, added that the publication “appeared as a
sketch of history written in the blood of a
generation." (See: "A Great Mountain Burned by
Fire: China’s Crackdown on Tibet,"
www.savetibet.org/media-center/ict-press-releases/a-great-mountain-burned-fire-chinas-crackdown-tibet.


Popular blogger, environmentalist, writer disappeared from Labrang

Twenty-year old Kunga Tsayang (Chinese
transliteration: Gengga Cangyang), who writes
under the pen-name Gangnyi meaning Sun of
Snowland is a popular writer, blogger and
photographer who is passionate about the
environment. He was taken from Labrang monastery
in Gansu province on March 17, 2009, by police
and his whereabouts remain unknown. Kunga
Tsayang, who is a monk, was born in Chikdril
(Chinese: Jiuzhi) county in Golog (Chinese:
Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP),
Qinghai province, and educated at the Institute
of Buddhist Dialectics at Labrang monastery and
in Beijing. He is thought to have been detained
as a result of his essays on a website named
“Jottings” or “Rough Notes” (Tibetan: Zin-dris).

Kunga wrote essays including: "Who are the true
splittists?," "Who is supporting us?" "Lhasa is
Lhasa no more," "China must apologize to His
Holiness the Dalai Lama," "Tibetan people, we
must clearly understand the truth about AIDS,"
and "We, Tibetans, are the real witnesses." Kunga
Tsayang is also a photographer for Golok Nianbao
Yuze Association of Environmental Protection.
(http://www.khabdha.org/,
www.highpeakspureearth.com/2009/04/remembering-honourable-gangnyi-la.html.

In his essay, "Who are the True Splittists?"
Kunga Tsayang writes: "China Television, Lhasa TV
and others, while ignoring the truth, have
excessively branded all Tibetans as separatists.
This has caused an incurable communal injury
between the Chinese brothers and sisters, and
Tibetans leading to Chinese disliking the
Tibetans and Tibetans holding animosity towards
the Chinese. I, as a person, am forced to accept
the fact that this was the biggest factor causing
a split among the nationalities. […] Tibetans are
driven to a desperate position because of them
being accused of doing things, which they never
did, and small incidents were exaggerated and
paraded before the world. Even Tibetans who
worked for the Party for over two to three
decades were accused and the Chinese news media,
the experts that they are in fabricating lies,
went to schools and universities where there are
only a handful of Tibetan students to accuse them
and to witch-hunt them. Such excessive
misinformation and wrongful acts have caused a
huge chasm and disturbance in the minds of
Tibetan officials and students who have absolute
love for Chinese brothers and sisters and liking
for the Communist Party of China. This has left a
feeling of ‘racial hatred’ in their minds. This
is the negative consequence of their incompetent reporting."

Kunga Tsayong concludes in the essay, which is
translated from the Tibetan by Bhuchung D. Sonam:
"Our freedom of movements are restricted by
roadblocks, checkpoints and ever-present military
personnel with guns pointed at us. I must
strongly assert that confiscating the photographs
of our beloved leader His Holiness the Dalai
Lama, by burning them, and stamping them under
the soldiers’ boots are the real causes of
splitting the people. Detention of Tibetans for
possessing His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s
photographs, disparaging them for putting His
Holiness’ pictures on their altars are the real
causes of split amongst the nationalities. Unless
you [the Chinese government] are able to break
our love and respect in our hearts, all your
fruitless campaigns and activities will only
strengthen our unity and love for one Tibetan
brother to another.” (The full translation
appears at: www.tibetwrites.org/?Who-are-the-real-separatists).

Soon after Kunga Tsayong’s disappearance, a
Tibetan blogger wrote: "When everyone disappears
like that, don't we feel that our right to live
out our lives peacefully is taken away? How can
he be arrested without any reason?

"The motive of his arrest is not based on personal crimes he has committed.

"Therefore if we wish for a free and peaceful
life, we cannot ignore these incidents happening
over and over again." This tribute to Kunga
Tsayong was posted on the website,
www.tibettl.com/blog/u/geluba, which is no longer
accessible, and is translated from the Tibetan by
High Peaks, Pure Earth, at
www.highpeakspureearth.com/2009/04/remembering-honourable-gangnyi-la.html.

Monk editor of banned magazine detained

The monk Drokru Tsultrim (Chinese
transliteration: Zhuori Cicheng), thought to be
from Mangra (Chinese: Guinan) county in Chabcha
(Chinese: Gonghe) in Tsolho (Chinese: Hainan)
TAP, Qinghai province, studied in Loktsang
monastery in Chabcha (Chinese: Gonghe) county,
also in Tsolho TAP, and at Detsa monastery in
Tsoshar Tsochang (Chinese: Haibei) TAP, and
edited a magazine called "Life of Snow?" which
has been banned. Drokru Tsultrim was detained on
April 2 from another monastery where he was
studying, Gemo, in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) county in
Sichuan province, under suspicion that his
writing was "reactionary." (An image of Drokru
Tsultrim can be seen at
www.highpeakspureearth.com/2009/05/in-name-of-human-rights-set-free-all.html.


Khang Kunchok (Chinese transliteration: Kang
Gongque), founder of the magazine "Nanjia" was
detained on March 20, 2008, when protesting
against the killing of Tibetans by security
forces, and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Khang Kunchok (Chinese transliteration: Kang
Gongque) is from Drotsang village in Ngaba
(Chinese: Aba) county in Sichuan province, and
studied at Markham Nationalities Teacher’s
College. Khang Kunchok had previously edited
"Kangsel Metok," the Kirti Monastery magazine.

"Bad news": a Tibetan blogger’s response to the
disappearance of Tashi Rabten, author of "Written in Blood"

An anonymous Tibetan blogger in Lhasa wrote the
following posting in Tibetan, translated into
English below, after hearing of Tashi Rabten’s disappearance:

Bad news

On July 26th, our Snowland brother Tashi, or
Te’urang, a person of both intelligence and sound
mind, brave and strong, was secretly taken by the
forces of darkness and has disappeared with no
more trace than a bird leaves on a rock after
flying away. His trusted friends say that since
the 2008 uprising the government has been
investigating him, suspecting him, and following
his every movement. At the end of 2008 he
composed a living testament written in blood in
view of the miserable Karmic destiny of the
Tibetan people, which lays bare all the crimes
and repression of the Communist government, and
which made him even more of a thorn in their eye.

How does it feel to think of such a smart and
brave one having to suffer in the dark dungeons of the Communist régime?

Isn’t (the loss) of such a brave youth a loss and defeat for all Tibetans?

When we lose brave and loyal young men of firm
conviction like him one after another, what is
the use of venting our grief and punching the air
over and again? Isn’t the situation of such an
individual cause for all Tibetans to rise up?
How many are there like our Te’urang who can give
voice to the joys and sorrows of his people?
How many of us are as clear minded as him?
How many of our youths are as brave?
When we have such a person, shouldn't thinking people rise in his support?

Lhasa, July 28th, written as soon as hearing this bad news

Suicide of a young Tibetan writer

A collection of poetry by a Tibetan student
called Yong Lengzhi who killed himself last year
is being distributed around Tibet as a book
entitled "The Imprisoned Tibetan People." Yong
Lengzhi, a junior high school student at the
Number One Middle School in Jianza county in
Malho (Chinese: Huangnan) TAP, Qinghai province,
committed suicide by jumping from the third floor
of the school’s teaching block on October 18 last year.

Tibetan writer Woeser wrote on her blog in
Chinese, "It’s said that in his final testimony
left behind, he said his death would bring
awareness to the plight of Tibetans and prove to
the world the Tibetan people’s situation of
having no rights. He hoped that Tibetans would
unite and strive for the cause of the people’s
freedoms until they had those freedoms; he hoped
that Tibetan students and teachers would actively
use the Tibetan language and strive for the
protection and continuation of the people’s culture."
(http://woeser.middle-way.net/2009/08/blog-post_04.html)

Yong Lengzhi (whose Tibetan name is not known) is
from a family of nomads and reportedly hung a
khatag (Tibetan white blessing scarf) from a
flagpole flying China’s flag last year during the
protests. Tibetans collated 25 of his poems in a
small book, and two were translated from Tibetan
into Chinese. One of the poems, which is
incomplete because the entire text was not
available, is translated below into English from the Chinese translation.
------------------
The wild dog at home

One
There are many wild dogs in my hometown
And searching for food they spread out all over
The people in my hometown are always giving left over food to these wild dogs
And ever so slowly over time, they have come to know each other
There are many exchanges between them
And these wild dogs are being fostered by my hometown people

But. But. No one knows how on earth it happened
These wild dogs did something so ungrateful to my hometown people

The teeth and the claws of these wild dogs
And their conspiring scared my hometown people
Causing them endless suffering
Oh, those merciless and vicious wild dogs

Two
On the vast and boundless grasslands
These wild dogs not only [...]
They coveted their flesh and blood
And their own food

These wild dogs are shameless
No one is able to believe these wild dogs
Even though we need compassion and mercy, if you show them compassion
In the end you yourself could lose your life

Where these wild dogs come from no one knows
But when they spread into my hometown

[Poem is incomplete as not all pages from the book were received].

Press contact:

Kate Saunders
Communications Director, International Campaign for Tibet
email: press@savetibet.org
Tel: + 44 (0) 7947 138612
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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