August 18, 2006
Tibet: China Denies Jailing Tibetan Teacher for Book
On Thursday 17 August China denied that it had jailed a Tibetan history teacher on charges overseas pro-Tibet independence groups said were related to spying or leaking state secrets.
China on Thursday 17 August denied that it had jailed a Tibetan history teacher on charges overseas pro-Tibet independence groups said were related to spying or leaking state secrets.
Dolma Kyab, 29, who taught at a school in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, before his arrest in March 2005, was imprisoned in September for 10 years, the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said last week.
The group also said Dolma Kyab had smuggled out of prison a letter appealing to U.N. committees on human rights for help.
"After verification, (we found out) there was no young man named Dolma Kyab sentenced in Tibet," a spokeswoman for the Information Office under China's State Council, or cabinet, said.
"However, there is an ethnic Tibetan with the name who was jailed for life for robbery in Gansu province," the spokeswoman said in a prepared statement read to Reuters by telephone.
"His sentence has been reduced to a fixed jail term though," she said without providing further details.
Gansu is one of the four western Chinese provinces, outside the Communist-imposed Tibet Autonomous Region, parts of which are inhabited by Tibetans.
Dolma Kyab's unpublished book, "The Restless Himalayas", was the reason for his conviction, ICT quoted his letter -- written in November and smuggled out of Qushui prison southwest of Lhasa before reaching Tibetans in exile -- as saying.
But the Chinese spokeswoman said "there was no such book".
ICT said Dolma Kyab may have been accused of spying or leaking state secrets after he left in 2003 to study English and Hindi in the Indian town of Dharamsala, where Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, branded by Beijing as a separatist, lives in exile.
The Dalai Lama fled Lhasa in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, nine years after Communist troops invaded the remote area.
ICT quoted the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy as saying that in some of his writings Dolma Kyab apparently gave information on sensitive topics such as the location and number of Chinese military camps in Tibet.