[Buddha-l] Tibetan reporter jailed in China

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Thu Apr 17 19:06:06 MDT 2008

The following appeared just moments ago on the NYTimes website.


China Detains Tibetan Reporter
Published: April 18, 2008
BEIJING - The Chinese authorities have detained a prominent Tibetan
television reporter and intellectual who is also a popular singer,
suggesting that the government crackdown after the disturbances in and
around Tibet has yet to run its course.

The reporter, Jamyang Kyi, 42, an announcer at the state-run television
station in Qinghai, a western province bordering Tibet, was escorted from
her office on April 1 by plainclothes police officers in the city of Xining,
according to colleagues and friends. The authorities also confiscated her
computer and a list of contacts, they said.

Her husband, Lamao Jia, who is also a journalist and a writer, said he had
received no word from his wife for more than a week and did not know where
she was being held. "She is in serious trouble," he said in a telephone
interview on Thursday. "I'm very worried for her safety. I'm very sorry. I
can't say more."

There has been no official confirmation of the detention.

Although she has worked in the Tibetan language division of Qinghai
Television for two decades, Jamyang Kyi is better known for her singing and
song-writing, especially among overseas Tibetans. She has made several trips
abroad, and in 2006 she toured the United States, appearing with other
Tibetan performers, some of them prominent exiles, and lecturing at several

She is also a respected intellectual and blogger who has written about women
's rights and the trafficking of girls. Chukora Tsering, a researcher at the
Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Dharamsala, India, said he
knew of nothing in her music or writings that might have provoked the
authorities. "She is completely apolitical, but she is a proud Tibetan," he
said. "Still, given her background, we are not entirely surprised she has
been detained."

The Chinese government is always sensitive to public expression that could
be construed as advocating Tibetan independence, but its vigilance has
intensified since the outbreak of disturbances in Lhasa, the Tibetan
capital, and in Tibetan-populated areas of China last month. The riots have
been followed by a spate of protests and clashes in neighboring provinces
that have large Tibetan populations. The atmosphere remains especially tense
in Qinghai and Gansu Provinces.

According to Xinhua, China's official news agency, 2,200 people, 519 of them
monks, have been taken into custody since the riots began in mid-March. The
agency said 1,870 of those had been released after questioning, but
officials are still seeking scores of people who took part in disturbances
that the government contends killed 19 people, nearly all of them Han
Chinese. Tibetan exiles put the figure at 140 and say most of the dead were

In recent weeks, the government-run media have featured a steady diet of
articles detailing the crimes of "Tibetan separatists" who they say are
being led by the Dalai Lama. On Wednesday, the police said they discovered
dynamite, weapons and satellite dishes at 11 Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in
Gansu, in northwestern China.

And on Thursday, Xinhua featured the confessions of two "riotous monks,"
Garzang Samdain and Garzang Samzhou, who it said had admitted to setting
fire to a government building in Gansu, tearing up the Chinese flag and
holding aloft the Tibetan flag, which is banned in China. Last weekend the
police posted photographs on the Internet of 14 Tibetans being sought for

Jamyang Kyi has avoided themes or language in her music and writings that
could be construed as challenging the Communist Party's hold over Tibet.
Many ethnic Tibetans complain of government policies they say favor Chinese
culture over the traditional religion and language of Tibet, an accusation
Chinese officials deny.

"I'm 99 percent sure that there is no basis for the accusations against her,
whatever they might be," said Robert Barnett, director of Columbia
University's Modern Tibetan studies program, a sponsor of her 2006 visit.

Asked about Jamyang Kyi's detention, Jiang Yu, a Foreign Ministry
spokeswoman, said she was unaware of the songwriter's case. She insisted,
however, that the Chinese legal system dealt fairly with all its citizens.
"China is a country under the rule of law," she said when asked about
Jamyang Kyi on Thursday. "The law protects freedom of speech and other
rights of its citizens. Only when a person goes against the law will they be
punished by the law."

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