In March 2005, 31-year-old writer and teacher Dolma Kyab (penname Lobsang Kelsang Gyatso) was
sentenced to ten years in prison. Tried secretly by the Lhasa
Intermediate People’s Court, it is believed that he received this harsh
sentence due to the severity of the charges brought against him,
including espionage and ‘stealing State secrets.’ The authorities,
however, have not confirmed the charges on which his conviction was
At the time of his arrest, Dolma Kyab was a history
teacher at a middle school in Lhasa. The charges against him seem to be
rooted in the suspicion that he endangered State security in
his manuscript Sao dong de Ximalayasha (The Restless Himalayas).
Writing from prison in November 2005, Dolma Kyab attributed his
conviction to this unpublished book, in which he writes in detail about
Tibetan geography, history and religion.
This book alone would not justify such a sentence
under Chinese law, but, according to Dolma Kyab, the Chinese Government
has also accused him of espionage or ‘stealing state secrets’, one of
the most serious political offences in China. According to the Tibetan
Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, this may be because another of Dolma
Kyab’s manuscripts includes information on the location and number of
Chinese military camps in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
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 of rivers and land by uranium mining.
All his writings remain unpublished in China.
There has been serious concern over Dolma Kyab’s
health. He reportedly contracted tuberculosis during pre-trial
detention, and, after receiving treatment, he was transferred to Chushul
(Chinese: Qushui) Prison in the Tibet Autonomous Region in March 2006. In July 2007, he was transferred to Seilong (Xining) prison, about 400km from Lhasa – a labour camp where prisoners undergo ‘re-education through
labour’. A former detainee reports having seen Dolma Kyab there and
states that Dolma Kyab seemed to be in very poor health, receiving
insufficient medical care.
Dolma Kyab is an Honorary Member of English, German and American PEN.
English PEN urges members and friends to write to the
Chinese Ambassador in London to call for his immediate and unconditional release:
His Excellency Liu Xiaoming
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
49-51 Portland Place
London W1B 4JL
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/prisoners/dolmakyabtibet/