Details have reached Tibet Watch about the arrest of Tibetan monk, poet and author Rongwo Gangkar.
Rongwo Gangkar was arrested in early 2021 in Rebkong while travelling to his monastery but information since then has been limited.
The reasons for his detention are unknown but it followed him speaking about the importance of celebrating the Dalai Lama’s birthday and related events during an informal debate.
According to a source in exile, “There is a tea shop called Muthak in Rebkong where Tibetan writers gather for tea and book-related discussion. Gangkar took part in one of these informal gatherings and discussions where he spoke about the importance of celebrating events related to the Dalai Lama and his birthday before he was arrested.”
A source contacted by Tibet Watch stated that they heard about Rongwo Gangkar’s arrest in May 2021, but the exact date of his arrest remains has not been confirmed. Likewise, while the source could say that Rongwo Gangkar had been held in a newly constructed prison in the local county, it remains unknown whether he has been convicted, appeared in court or received any sentence.
Rongwo Gangkar is 48 and hails from Rebkong County in Malho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. He was enrolled in Rebkong Monastery at a very young age and has written numerous poems and had them published in various literary journals and magazines in Tibet. In 2012, he published a poetry book titled collection of poetry and translated several books into Tibetan from Chinese. He has also worked and published a book in collaboration with other Tibetan writers in the region titled “An Interview With Gendun Choephel“.
The arrest of Rongwo Gangkar is one of several arrests that Tibet Watch has received in the past few years in which Chinese authorities have targeted Tibetan intellectuals and those who promote Tibet’s language and culture.