11/20/2009, 00.00
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Five years in prison for a Tibetan writer for denouncing environmental degradation

by Nirmala Carvalho
A Chinese court sentenced Kunga Tsayang for revealing state secrets. Fifteen years for Kunchok Tsephel, founder of a website dedicated to the literature of Tibet. The trial was held behind closed doors. TCHRD activists demand respect for human rights.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - A Chinese court sentenced Tsayang Kunga, Tibetan writer and photographer, to five years in prison. According to news reported by the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) man, arrested last March 17, is accused of revealing state secrets.

The closed door trial was held on 12 November in the People's Court of Kanlho in Gannan, a "Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture" in the province of Gansu. Among the charges against him: having published political speeches about Tibet on his website Jottings. The same day the court sentenced Kunchok Tsephel to 15 years in prison, a Tibetan official and founder of the website Chomei - dedicated to Tibetan literature - for revealing state secrets.

Kunga Tsayang (pictured), a monk from Amdo Labrang Tashikyil monastery, has written several essays on Tibet under the pseudonym of "the land of sun and snows". He is originally from Chigdril County, in the "Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture" (TAP) of Golog, Qinghai Province. A lover of travel, literature and photography, he has published numerous photos denouncing the environmental degradation in Tibet and its impact on the population.  

The monk’s sentencing to prison is just the latest in a long series of repressive measures by the Chinese authorities against writers, bloggers and publishers that promote Tibetan political activity or protests. They are people who wish to explore and publicize the views of Tibetans on the issues that affect their lives, the environment, culture and religion.

Chinese public security officials arrested him March 17 during a search late night of his home. For a long time family and friends had no news about his fate until the trial in court last week.

TCHRD activists express "grave concern" for the closed door trial of Kung Tsayang and Kunchok Tsephel. They are asking the Chinese government to respect basic human rights of the Tibetan people.

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