Dolma Kyab


Profession: Writer and Teacher

Date of arrest: 9 March 2005

Sentence: Dolma Kyab was sentenced to 10.5 years in prison. His conviction was upheld after an appeal and he was  transferred to Chushur prison on 30 November 2005.

Expires: 8 October 2015

Place of detention: Dolma Kyab was reportedly transferred to Seilong (Xining) prison, about 400km from Lhasa, on 19 July 2007. This is a labour camp where prisoners undergo ‘re-education through labour’.

Details of arrest: The charges against Dolma Kyab appear to be based on the suspicion that his writings in his yet unpublished book Sao dong de Ximalayasha (The Restless Himalayas) allegedly endanger state security. In a letter he wrote from prison in November 2005 , Dolma Kyab said that the reason for his conviction was his unpublished book in which he writes about Tibetan geography, history and religion. But his book alone would not justify such a sentence under Chinese law and according to Dolma Kyab, the Chinese government has also accused him of offences involving espionage or stealing ‘state secrets’, one of the most serious political offences in China. According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy , in another book, Dolma Kyab reportedly gives sensitive information on issues such as the location and number of Chinese military camps in Tibet. 

Trial details: Dolma Kyab was tried secretly. It is believed that he received the ten-year sentence because of the severe nature of the charges brought against him because they involve espionage and ‘stealing state secrets.’ There is no official information on the charges brought against Dolma Kyab. 

Professional details: Dolma Kyab’s writings are motivated by the desire to express the opinions of Tibetan youth on various issues relating to present day Tibet, such as human rights, democracy, literature and culture. It has also been reported that Dolma Kyab is particularly concerned about the destruction of the Tibetan environment under Chinese policy , for instance pollution from uranium mining of rivers and the surrounding countryside. All his writings remain unpublished.

Health concerns: He reportedly contracted tuberculosis during pre-trial detention in the Public Security Bureau Detention Centre.  In early August 2007, PEN received reports that a former detainee saw Dolma Kyab at Seilong (Xining) prison in a very poor state of health, apparently receiving insufficient medical care.

Honorary Member: English PEN and German PEN.

Writing sample: From The Restless Himalayas. Translated by The International Campaign for Tibet/Ben Carrdus.

We Tibetans are rallying our strength with every passing generation, and even with their guns the Chinese government won’t be able to deal with us. It is our wish that both parties will wisely choose dialogue, and that too is the wish of the Chinese government and people. The key to this beautiful, peaceful wish lies with the Chinese government, and not with us, the children of this colony.

Dolma Kyab is one of the 50 symbolic cases chosen for inclusion in ‘Beyond Bars: 50 Years of the PEN Writers in Prison Committee‘, a special issue of Index on Censorship (issue 04/2010) produced in partnership with English PEN to mark the 50th anniversary of the WiPC (pp204-205).

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