During a new wave of crackdowns in Tibet this year, six prominent Tibetans have been secretly arrested in Serthar County, Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The Tibetans, including former political prisoners and writers, were arrested between late March and early April this year. The crackdown on communication has made it difficult for Tibet Watch’s sources to ascertain the identities of two of the arrested Tibetans. Details about all of their current whereabouts remain unknown.
Ahead of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the 70th year of Chinese occupation in Tibet, Chinese authorities in Tibet are taking preemptive measures to ensure the smooth celebration of its centenary celebration. They are also forcing Tibetans to participate in the programme to promote the Chinese narrative that Tibetans are happy under CCP rule to local and global audiences. Details of four of the six detained in recent weeks are detailed below.
Gangkye Drubpa Kyab
Amongst the arrested is Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, also known as Gangethak, a young Tibetan writer and former political prisoner, who was arrested on the evening of 23 March 2021. His writings are widely published in magazines and books. He has also written about the Tibetan struggle.
He was previously arrested by the police department of Serthar County on 15 February 2012 and released on 16 September 2016 after serving five years in prison. Due to the excessive beating and poor food while in prison, he suffered from malnourishment and developed multiple health complications, including loss of vision and amnesia, as well as heart and kidney problems.
Gangkye Drubpa Kyab was born in 1979, to Thupten Nyima and Wangthang Dolma in Kardze Prefecture, Serthar County. He is married to Wangchuk Lhatso and has two children.
Seynam, a Tibetan writer and environmentalist, was also secretly arrested on 23 March. Details about the reason for his arrest and his health condition were withheld by the Chinese authorities in the region.
He was previously arrested by the Chinese authorities of Serthar County, Karze Prefecture on 15 September 2020 along with ten other Tibetans, for holding a meeting on the welfare of Tibetan parents.
Tibetan activist Gangbu Yudrum from Serthar County was arrested on 22 March 2021, and his whereabouts and reasons for arrest were also not provided. He had previously been imprisoned for three years for his role in the 2008 Tibetan protests in his region where he raised the banned Tibetan flag and called for the return of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. He was released on 19 February 2011 but was arrested again on 14 May 2012 and imprisoned for two years for his role in promoting a volunteer “Protest group against Communist China” along with some of his friends.
On 2 April 2021, the Chinese authorities in Serthar County arrested another Tibetan activist and former political prisoner named Tsering Dolma. She had been arrested twice previously, once in 2008 and again in 2012 for taking part in a protest against China, and was beaten in prison.
Due to the excessive beating and torture, she suffered lasting health complications including amnesia, epileptic fits, heart disease and a broken elbow. She has been regularly kept under the close watch of security forces, requiring her to register her presence in the village, thus restricting her movement.
Tsering Dolma hails from Taktse Village, Serthar County in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Her father, Solo, was arrested along with her in 2008. Her mother’s name is Tsokyi. She has two kids along with her husband Karma Wangchuk.
Information supplied by Tibet Watch