|Phayul[Tuesday, January 22, 2013 13:16]|
Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen
Calling it "an unusual move," the Switzerland based group Filming for Tibet, which supports the work of Tibetan filmmakers, said Wangchen has been transferred to the Qinghai Provincial Women's Prison, the main prison for women in China's Qinghai province.
Self-taught filmmaker Wangchen conceived and shot the film "Leaving Fear Behind" (Tib:Jigdrel) to portray life in Tibet in advance of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He was arrested on March 26, 2008 for filming interviews with ordinary Tibetans on their views on the Beijing Olympics, the Dalai Lama and Chinese government's policies in Tibet.
Shortly after his footage was smuggled overseas, Wangchen disappeared into Chinese detention. He was sentenced to six years in prison for "subversion" on December 28, 2009 following a secret trial. In January 2010, he was denied appeal.
The latest development was learned following a visit to Wangchen by close family members on January 15, 2013, during which he spoke of previous harsh treatment at Xichuan labour camp, including several months of solitary confinement that started in March 2012.
Now being held in "improved conditions," Wangchen and his family members are unaware of the reasons for his transfer, particularly to a women's prison with "no other Tibetan inmates or political prisoners."
"Although we are relieved to hear that Dhondup Wangchen is in stable health, we share Dhondup Wangchen's own concerns as he says he feels isolated and alone in this prison," said Gyaljong Tsetrin, cousin of Dhondup Wangchen and President of "Filming for Tibet".
"There is still well over a year until Dhondup Wangchen will have served his six-year sentence for making 'Leaving Fear Behind', it is our wish that in this time Dhondup Wangchen suffers no maltreatment and be granted access to books so that he can study, something he has repeatedly requested but has been forbidden from doing."
It has been reported that Wangchen contracted Hepatitis B in prison and is in poor health.
International calls for his release received a major boost last year when Wangchen wasawarded the Committee to Protect Journalists' 2012 'International Press Freedom Award.'
The US based global press freedom group recognised Wangchen's efforts for his "courageous reporting" and "risking his life and liberty to reveal abuses of power and human rights violations."
Wangchen's hard-hitting documentary has been screened in over 30 countries with his wife Lhamo Tso travelling internationally to campaign for her husband's release.
In November last, Chinese authorities framed murder charges against Golog Jigme Gyatso, a Tibetan monk who assisted Wangchen, after he went missing in September 2012 and was feared arrested.
Chinese officials in Kanlho made an announcement offering 2,00,000 Chinese Yuan (US$32,116) for information on Jigme, alleging charges of murder. Local Tibetans expressed fear that Jigme could have died in prison after suffering severe torture at the hands of Chinese prison guards.
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
|Phayul[Tuesday, January 22, 2013 16:19]|
DHARAMSHALA, January 22: In confirmed reports coming out of Tibet, another Tibet set himself on fire today in Bora region of Labrang, eastern Tibet in an apparent protest against China’s continued occupation of Tibet.
Kunchok Kyab, 23, self-immolated near the Bora Monastery at around 12 pm (local time). Initial reports suggest that Kunchok Kyab passed away in his fiery protest. According to our sources, he is survived by his wife and a ten-month old infant.
Details on today’s self-immolation protest, the third since the new year, are awaited at the time of filing this report.
On December 2, last year, a Tibetan male, Sungdue Kyab set himself on fire on a road leading to the Bora Monastery. He survived his self-immolation protest and is reportedly being kept in a heavily fortified hospital in Kanlho.
Since 2009, as many as 98 known Tibetans have now set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.
Despite repeated appeals by the Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration to refrain from such drastic acts, Tibetan self-immolations have persisted.
The CTA maintains that the self-immolations “represent a new threshold of Tibetan despair and resentment, and a worsening of the vicious cycle of unrest-repression-more unrest,” while attributing the current crisis in Tibet “the political and religious repression, economic marginalisation, social discrimination, cultural assimilation and environmental destruction in Tibet.”
Phayul[Friday, January 18, 2013 18:10] DHARAMSHALA, January 18: The wave of self-immolation protests in Tibet against China's continued occupation of Tibet shows no sign of abating with reports just in of yet another fiery death in Khyungchu region of Ngaba in eastern Tibet.
Initial reports have identified the Tibetan self-immolator as Tsering Phuntsok. According to a Swiss based Tibetan, Sonam, the protest occurred at around 3:15 pm (local time).
"Tsering Phuntsok set himself on fire in front of the local Chinese police station in Drachen village of Khyungchu region," Sonam told Phayul. "He passed away at the site of his protest."
Chinese security personnel arrived at the scene and bundled away Tsering Phuntsok's body to Barkham, the same source said.
Tsering Phuntsok is survived by his wife and two children.
Photos of today's self-immolation protests show the charred body of Tsering Phuntsok, still on fire, lying on the ground. A number of people could be seen surrounding the body.
Reports suggest that monks of the Amchok Monastery are currently carrying out a prayer service for the deceased.
This is the second self-immolation protest in Tibet since the beginning of the new year. In 2012 alone, as many as 82 Tibetans set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.
Chinese authorities in the region have intensified their repressive policies by criminalising the self-immolation protests, arresting family members and friends of protesters and off late, confiscating thousands of satellite TV dishes aimed at creating an information black hole in the region.
"Tibet is getting into the global evening news because of self-immolations and so there's this anxiety to bring it under control," Michael Davis, a law professor and Tibet expert at the University of Hong Kong told AP. He warned that the new leadership "will be particularly anxious not to have any of these problems blow up in their face."
"I think self-immolations and all of this suggest that they are not winning the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people and in fact the more repressive they are, the more resistance they encounter, so it's a kind of vicious circle," Davis said.
Monday, 14 January 2013
|Phayul[Monday, January 14, 2013 16:55]|
According to the Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration, Passang Lhamo, a 62-year-old native of Keygudo torched herself on September 13, 2012 after “repeated appeals to the central authorities in Beijing failed to yield any concrete results.”
She was reportedly taken to hospital where she was treated for "severe burn injuries."
Passang Lhamo was forced to head to Beijing after local authorities in Keygudo refused to allow her to retain her ancestral home following the major rebuilding process in the region.
According to CTA, a series of “illegal land grabbing by Chinese authorities have left hundreds of Tibetans homeless” in Keygudo region.
“Despite the much propagated hype around the Chinese government’s overwhelming relief efforts to resettle affected Tibetan families, the ground realities have remained a far cry from the promises made by the central government,” a report on its official website tibet.net said.
Growing resentment against the Chinese government’s reconstruction plans last year saw the self-immolation protest by a Tibetan mother of two in Keygudo town.
Dickyi Choezom had set herself on fire on June 27 in Keygu town near the Dhondupling Monastery during a public protest against Chinese government policies of forced eviction and land seizures. She was reportedly taken to a hospital in Siling following which no information on her wellbeing and whereabouts have been made available.
Around 70 Tibetan families had taken part in the protest, raising slogans for ‘Right over our own land’ and ‘Rights over our own wealth.’
Tibetans in Keygudo have been protesting China’s redevelopment plans that have ousted them from their ancestral lands to make way for government buildings following the devastating April 2010 earthquake.
In 2011, around 300 Tibetans had led a mass protest in the main intersection of the town against the government takeover of their land. Many of the protesters were wounded and several were detained in the bloody crackdown that followed.
|Phayul[Monday, January 14, 2013 16:54]|
By Phuntsok Yangchen
DHARAMSHALA, January 14: In continuing crackdown on the spate of self-immolation protests in Tibet, Chinese authorities have arrested eight Tibetans, including a family member of a self-immolator, for sharing information with outsiders in the Luchu region of Kanlho, eastern Tibet.
The eight arrested Tibetans have been identified as Kalsang Samdup, Nyima, Lhamo Dhundup, Dorjee Dhundup, Kalsang Kyab, Kalsang Sonam, Kalsang Namdren, and Sonam Kyi.
According to exile sources, Kalsang Samdup, a 44-year-old monk of the Sherab Phuntsok Rabgayling Monastery, was questioned by Chinese authorities at his monastic quarters on December 20, 2012, and was arrested the next day for having contacts with outside “splittist” forces.
The seven other Tibetans, all laypeople, were arrested three days later on charges of contacting outsiders and sharing information on the self-immolation protest of Tsering Namgyal, who set himself on fire near a local Chinese government office in Luchu on November 29, 2012.
Tsering Namgyal passed away in his fiery protest and is survived by his wife Choekyong Tso, their two children, Dorjee Kyi, 7, and Kalsang Dolma, 3, and his parents.
Among those arrested, Kalsang Namdren is a brother-in-law of Tsering Namgyal. The only female among the detainees, Sonam Kyi was earlier arrested for allegedly sharing information with outsiders on the 2008 mass uprising in Tibet’s capital Lhasa. She has since been banished and forbidden from visiting the capital city by Chinese authorities.
According to the same sources, Nyima was later released after Chinese authorities seized his mobile phone and other equipments.
The condition and whereabouts of the arrested Tibetans remain unknown.
Following the recent spike in the wave of self-immolation protests, Chinese authorities, instead of addressing the grievances of the protesters, have announced a series of strict security measures, charging anyone found inciting or abetting self-immolations with murder and penalising people for offering condolence and prayers for the self-immolators.
Several Tibetans have been arrested and sentenced to lengthy jail terms on charges of sharing information on the self-immolation protests.
Since 2009, as many as 96 known Tibetans have set themselves on fire protesting China’s rule and demanding freedom and the return of Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. The new year has already witnessed a fiery start with the self-immolation of Tsering Tashi, 22, who passed away in his protest in Amchok region of Sangchu, eastern Tibet on January 12, 2013.
The Dalai Lama recently renewed calls for a “thorough investigation” into the causes behind the wave of self-immolations while speaking to a major Indian new channel.
“Last year, when this (self-immolation) first happened, I was in Japan and I said that the time has come the Chinese government must carry thorough investigation and find the cause of these sad events,” the Tibetan spiritual leader said. “These events are symptom of some cause.”
He further noted that two to three generations of Tibetans inside Tibet have “really suffered a lot” under China’s rule.