Tuesday, December 15, 2009

China: Internet writers sentenced

China: Internet writers sentenced

Published: December 14, 2009

English PEN protests the fifteen and five year prison sentences handed down to Tibetan internet writers Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang and Kunga Tseyang in mid November 2009. English PEN considers their convictions to be a direct violation of their right to freedom of expression and opinion, under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which China is a signatory. We are therefore calling for their immediate and unconditional release.

Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang, aged 39, is an Internet writer and the founder and editor of the Tibetan language website Chomei http://www.tibetcm.com, which promotes Tibetan culture and literature. He also works as an environmental officer for the Chinese government. On 12 November 2009 he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for 'disclosing state secrets'. Gopey Tsang was arrested by Chinese security officials at his home in the town of Nyul-ra, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP), Gansu Province, on 26 February 2009. His family was not told of his whereabouts until he was summoned to court on 12 November 2009 to hear the verdict. The trial was held at the Intermediate People's Court of Kanlho, in a closed-door hearing.

Kunga Tseyang is a monk and an Internet writer from Labrang monastery, Gansu Province. He is also an environmentalist and photographer. Tseyang was sentenced to five years in prison on 17 November 2009 by a court in the Prefecture of Golok, Qinghai Province, on various charges including posting articles online. He has written extensively about Buddhism and Tibetan art and culture, including a piece entitled 'China must apologise to His Holiness the Dalai Lama' which is said to have been accessed by a large number of readers. Tseyang was twenty years old when arrested on 17 March 2009.

Background:


In March 2008 the Chinese authorities launched a crackdown in the Tibet Autonomous Region, after anti-government protests took place in Lhasa and other areas, with reports of arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force against dissidents. Tight restrictions remain in force on reporting from the Tibetan region, and were stepped up in March this year around the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising.

Useful links:


WiPC's previous alert on Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang

International Campaign for Tibet (ICT)

BBC's country profile of Tibet


Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD)

Please send appeals:


- Protesting the prison sentences imposed on Tibetan Internet writers Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang and Kunga Tseyang;
- Calling for their immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

Appeals to:


His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People's Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China

Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Party Committee
Zhang Qingli
Zhonggong Xizang Zizhiqu Weiyuanhui
Lhasashi, Xizang Zizhiqu
People's Republic of China

Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. We therefore recommend that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments:

Her Excellency Fu Ying
49-51 Portland Place
London
W1B 1JL

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