Filming for Tibet Contests Arrest Order for Jigme Gyatso

November 30, 2012

Filming for Tibet Contests the Official Arrest Order for Jigme Gyatso, Missing Since September 2012

Zurich, November 30, 2012: There are growing concerns for the safety of Jigme Gyatso (aka Golog Jigme), the Tibetan monk who assisted Dhondup Wangchen in making the 2008 documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind”. Jigme Gyatso has been missing since September 20, 2012 and since November 27, 2012, text messages have been sent out by Public Security Department of Gansu Province officially ordering his arrest [1].

Filming For Tibet has called the Public Security Bureau in China’s Gansu province (for details and phone numbers, see below) and demanded full disclosure of all facts about Jigme Gyatso's disappearance. Filming for Tibet asserts that the PSB's unsubstantiated charges clearly reveal their intention to destroy Jigme Gyatso’s good reputation as a social and cultural activist, highly respected for his work in the community.

The text messages claim that Jigme Gyatso is “suspected of committing voluntary manslaughter”, a charge that his Zurich-based close friend Gyaljong Tsetrin strongly contests. “There can be no basis for this charge of manslaughter. Jigme Gyatso is a Tibetan monk who has always firmly believed in non-violence,” said Gyaljong Tsetrin. “In fact, the Chinese government often hands down politically motivated trumped-up charges to Tibetans. Innocent Tibetans such as Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Karma Samdrup and Lobsang Tenzin are all languishing in prison even to this today so I’m extremely fearful for Jigme Gyatso’s current safety and well-being. [2]”

The charges conflict with and contradict the PSB's own activities and measures against Jigme Gyatso. Since 2008 Jigme Gyatso has been under the constant surveillance and control of the PSB. He has been repeatedly called in, interrogated and just recently his living quarters were destroyed, marking a new level of harassment. It is up to the PSB to explain how a man under such strict controls could have committed an action such as the one he is being charged with.

Jigme Gyatso assisted Dhondup Wangchen in making “Leaving Fear Behind” and for many years has been a cultural and social activist in Tibet, committed to transmitting Tibetan language and culture to the younger generation [3]. When a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck the county of Yushu in Kham on April 14, 2010, Jigme Gyatso rushed to the area to help coordinate relief work and spent more than ten days there [4].

Filming for Tibet calls on governments to confront the Chinese authorities with the facts about Jigme Gyatso’s disappearance and demand independent legal support for Jigme Gyatso. Meanwhile, Filming for Tibet continues to and motivates its friends to call the PSB on the phone numbers in the official order and demand a stop to the witch hunt for Jigme Gyatso.

Press Contacts:
Gyaljong Tsetrin, President of “Filming for Tibet” and close friend of Jigme Gyatso, +41764626768 (Tibetan & Chinese)
Dechen Pemba, “Filming for Tibet” spokesperson, +44 20 3286 7681 (English)

Notes:
[1] Below is a screenshot of the text message being sent by the Public Security Department of Gansu Province and English translation:

[Source: https://twitter.com/MyYak/status/273811569719246848/photo/1/large]

Order for Arrest: Golog Jigme, with the lay name Lotra and also known as Jigme Lobsang, male, Tibetan, from Kardzé Prefecture of Sichuan Province. He is a monk in Labrang Monastery, and his ID No. is 513333196502121616. He is suspected of committing voluntary manslaughter, and now we are issuing the order for his arrest. Meanwhile, we will award any unit who is able to capture Golog Jigme or any individual who provides clues for his whereabouts will be awarded 200,000 Yuan.
The phone numbers to notify the authorities are: 13519629133, 13519658733, 09318535111, 09318535115.
The Public Security Department of Gansu Province

[2]
- Tenzin Delek Rinpoche , a lama and social activist in eastern Tibet, was handed a death sentence that was later commuted to a life sentence in 2003. Amongst the trumped up charges against him was “conspiring to cause a series of explosions".
- Karma Samdrup, a wealthy philanthropist, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2010 on charges of "excavating ancient cultural relics and tombs".
- Lobsang Tenzin, s student, was handed a death sentence in 1988 that was later commuted to 20 years in prison. He was charged as “principal culprit” in a murder charge during a protest in Lhasa.

[3] Photo showing Jigme Gyatso with his young students. Jigme Gyatso often taught young Tibetans about language and culture and is a much-loved and respected teacher. (Photo credit: Filming for Tibet)

[4] After the huge earthquake that struck Yushu in Kham in April 2010, Jigme Gyatso (sitting in the centre) rushed to the area and tirelessly coordinated relief work. (Photo credit: Filming for Tibet)

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