Gangkye Drupa Kyab

Popular Tibetan writer dragged away by authorities in front of his wife and child

Just before midnight on 15 February 2012, a team of 20 police officers burst into the home of Gangkye Drupa Kyab (born 1979) and detained him. The teacher and writer was sentenced in August 2013 to five-and-a-half years imprisonment for alleged political activities.

Gangkye Drubpa Kyab had been a teacher in Serthar County, Sichuan Province, for ten years, and is also a well-known and popular writer in Tibet, authoring such pieces as: ‘Call of Fate’, ‘Pain of This Era’ and ‘Today’s Tear of Pain’. His writings include a book about the pain and suffering endured by Tibetans surrounding the 2008 Tibetan Uprising.

Arrest and re-arrest

Gangkye Drubpa Kyab

Gangkye Drubpa Kyab

The writer’s arrest came less than three weeks after security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters in Serthar town, killing two. He was held incommunicado for 18 months, leaving his family completely in the dark on his location or wellbeing between the time of his arrest and sentencing.

On 16 September 2016, a year before his sentence was initially due to end, he was released from prison. Arriving back at his village in Serthar County, the community welcomed him back with open arms, presenting him with traditional Tibetan scarves called khatas and an image of the Dalai Lama. However, the following day Gangkye Drubpa Kyab was arrested once again. Little is known about this 2016 arrest, but anonymous sources from Tibet report that he was detained for up to 15 days and threatened with a longer prison term.

Gangkye Drubpa Kyab was arrested yet again in 2021, ahead of the Chinese Communist Party’s 100th anniversary. He was one of six arrested in a March 2021 crackdown aimed at silencing dissenting voices in Tibet prior to the centenary ‘celebrations’. At present, the wellbeing and locations of these activists are unknown, and it is not certain whether they have been sentenced for any alleged crimes.

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