Dharamshala: - Writer, essayist, blogger, chronicler, environmentalist and amateur photographer Kunga Tsangyang has been released after after serving almost five years’ of imprisonment for allegedly writing political essays criticizing Chinese policies in Tibet.
According to sources coming out Tibet say, Kunga Tsangyang, who wrote under a pen name "Sun of Snowland" (Tibetan: Gang Nyi) was released on 12 January 2014 from a prison in Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province.
After his release, Tsangyang went to Labrang Monastery and he returned to his hometown in Chikdril County in Golok (Ch: Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, where a grand ceremony was held to celebrate his release.
'Local Tibetans, both young and old, came in droves bearing ceremonial scarves, burning junipers and scattering 'windhorse prayer flags' (Tib: lungta) in the air,' said the Dharamshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.
He was arrested by the County Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers on 13 May 2009 and sentenced on 15 November 2013 to five years imprisonment. After his arrest, he was held incommunicado in secret detention for more than eight months before his sentencing, the Tibetan right group said, adding, he was subjected to rigorous interrogation and possibly beatings during his secret detention.
Born in Chikdril County, Tsangyang was 20 at the time of his arrest. He was seized from his living quarters during a midnight raid by PSB officers on Labrang Monastery in Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe) County in Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province.
On 15 November 2009, in a closed door trial, Kunga Tsangyang was sentenced to 5 years in prison by the Kanlho Intermediate People's Court for "disclosing state secrets." His arrest and prison term stemmed from allegations that he had posted political essays on Tibet to a website known as Zin-dris (Eng: 'Jottings').
Tsangyang who is a monk from Labrang Tashikyil Monastery and is the courageous author of several essays, which challenged the Chinese government's policies regarding Tibet, including 'Who Is the Real Splittist?' 'Who Is the Real Destroyer of Stability?' 'We Tibetans are the Real Witnesses', and Who Is The Real Instigator of Protests?
Sources said that Tsangyang has punished for the contents of his essays, 'Where is Our Government?' 'Lhasa is No More Lhasa' and 'Who is the Real Destroyer of Stability?' In addition to the charge of 'disclosing state secrets', he was also charged of 'separatist activities' due to the essays he wrote.
According to the source, Tsangyang was severely interrogated after his arrest. His interrogators focused much of their attention on the essay "Lhasa is no more Lhasa". "When asked what he (Kunga Tsayang) meant by the essay on Lhasa, he promptly responded 'It is true you have built railway line, new housing facilities but in reality Lhasa is like the jewel of every Tibetan heart and nowadays both spiritual and secular life in Lhasa have deteriorated a great deal."
Likewise, when he was questioned on the contents of his essay, 'Where is Our Government?' he responded that the Chinese government had introduced many constitutional provisions, laws and regulations, however, for the autonomous areas, these constitutional provisions had not been implemented at all. However this response was cut short and he was not allowed to speak further by his interrogators.
He was originally from Lungkar Monastery in Golok but had been studying at Labrang Monastery. Educated at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics at Labrang Monastery and in Beijing, Kunga Tsayang was known to take great pride in his ancestral Tibetan roots. He was regarded as a serious writer and photographer with dreams of becoming a professional photographer.
'He had traveled widely throughout Tibet and documented the environmental degradation on the Tibetan plateau and its impact on the Tibetan people. His travelogues chronicled the unique characteristics of Tibetan topographical features, culture, customs, and religious heritage. Tsayang had reportedly been under the close watch of the Chinese authorities in Sangchu County, Gansu Province prior to his arrest, yet he dared to continue his travels to the far reaches of Tibet and China to carry out photo journalism. His presence at Labrang Monastery had generally been limited to important prayer rituals and ceremonies,' sources continued..
Tsangyang also worked for Nyenpo Yutse Environmental Protection Association, a Tibetan conservation protection group, which distributed materials to schools and conducted education campaigns about the Tibetan environment and the need to protect endangered species. He was reported to have been on an environmental expedition that discovered an endangered bird, thought only to be found in Tibet. He had also been working on setting up a new school at the Yakra Monastery.