By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, August 24: Chinese authorities last month arrested another Tibetan intellectual for reasons yet to be officially confirmed, a Tibetan human rights body based here said Monday.
Kalsang Tsultrim (Photo: TCHRD/file)
Kalsang Tsultrim, known for his widely distributed video testimonial
in 2009, was arrested on July 7 in Dzoge County in Sichuan Province, according to Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).
The centre said Kelsang’s arrest was “not unexpected”.
Kalsang, better known by his pseudonym Gyitsang Takmig, a township in Amdo province in northeast Tibet where he is from, had been suspected of committing “political error” and had been on the move for at least a year before being arrested last month.
Despite repeated enquiries being made by his family members, no response or reasons have been given so far by the officials for his arrest.
Family members think his role in alarming the situation in Tibet and the treatment of Tibetans under the Chinese rule could be the reason.
In August 2009, months after the widespread anti-China unrest in Tibet, a video appeal recorded by Kalsang managed to slip out through the Chinese border security. In the video, Kalsang urged the international community to "act swiftly on behalf of the Tibetan people" to end repression in Tibet and also called for the return to Tibet of the Dalai Lama.
In the video, he gave detail account of Tibetan history since the flight of Dalai Lama into exile, suffering of Tibetan people, the hopes and aspirations of Tibetan people inside Tibet and his appeal to the outside world.
Besides glorifying Tibet’s past history, Kalsang talks about his fears for the survival of Tibetan religion and culture, the crackdown over the past year and the general human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese authorities.
According to TCHRD, the video testimony, which is one hour long, was recorded on July 18 2009. It was later edited with extra input of related video footages and snaps for a final version in a VCD that was widely distributed in many Tibetan areas in Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan provinces that are part of the traditional Tibetan provinces of Amdo and Kham.
According to sources Kalsang wanted to distribute the video as widely as possible inside Tibet to “educate primarily the illiterates and general Tibetan public” with the "true history of Tibetan struggle for freedom, the Dalai Lama’s call for the genuine autonomy through middle-way approach and human rights situation in Tibet” to counter the “daily dose of government-sponsored propaganda”.
Sources told TCHRD that Kalsang had recorded and distributed over 2,500 copies of the VCD.
Kalsang, who identifies himself on the video as Gyitsang Takmig, is a monk of Gyitsang Gaden Choekorling Monastery in Sangchu County (Ch: Xiahe), Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture” (‘TAP’), Gansu Province. The region was one of the main focal points of the 2008 anti-China protests in Tibet.
Kalsang is said to be well known locally for his writings and even published a book in 2008 called "Miyul la phulway Jamba
," or "Love dedicated to the human realm," a book that highlights the concerns and aspirations of the Tibetan people.
The report on Kalsang’s arrest comes amid prosecution of several other prominent Tibetans that include writers, bloggers, singers, artists and influential cultural figures, and lately even successful businessmen.
Following widespread unrest against Chinese rule in 2008, China unleashed a new wave of crackdown in Tibet to squelch all forms of dissent. And those now targeted also include Tibetans once known for having close ties to the government and for carefully eschewing politics.
Tibet observers describe it as the largest crackdown on Tibetan intellectuals since the end of China's chaotic Cultural Revolution in 1976.
Uprising that began in Lhasa in March 2008 led to the most sustained Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in decades. Demonstrations swept towns throughout Tibet, where occasional protests still continue, and security remains extremely tight.
China says not more than 22 people died in the 2008 unrest. Tibet’s government in exile here and pro-Tibet groups say more than 200 people were killed in a subsequent crackdown by Chinese military troops.