News

Zurich/Dharamsala – The organisers of the Tibet Film Festival are proud and very happy to announce that the Tibet Film Festival 2016 will be held in Zurich on 16 and 17 September 2016 and in Dharamsala on 17 and 18 September 2016.

The cornerstone of this year’s festival will be films from Tibet and new productions by Tibetan filmmakers in exile. We very much look forward to seeing many great entries for our short film competition and take this opportunity to encourage all Tibetan filmmakers to take part in this segment of the festival. In previous years, the short film competition has had tremendous response and support from young, aspiring and established Tibetan filmmakers.

The theme for this year’s short film competition is “Food”, and we are curious and excited to see how our filmmakers will treat this subject. 

For more information see here our official announcement.

TFF_2016

DW

Zurich, 5 June 2015

Today, 5 June 2015, marks the one year anniversary of Dhondup Wangchen’s release from prison in Qinghai’s provincial capital Xining. Dhondup Wangchen had served a six year prison sentence for making the documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind”. However, far from being a free man, Dhondup Wangchen has endured a year of surveillance and closer monitoring, with his movements and communications restricted.
Lhamo Tso, wife of Dhondup Wangchen who was granted US asylum in 2012 and now lives in San Francisco, can’t  to travel to China or Tibet to see her husband due to her asylum status. She said: “I, as well as his aged parents, had hoped that Dhondup Wangchen’s release from prison would bring our family closer together again. But this year has been just as hard as the previous years as we are still separated. My children and I are incredibly frustrated that their father hasn’t been allowed to join us in USA.”

Gyaljong Tsetrin, Zurich-based cousin of Dhondup Wangchen and producer of “Leaving Fear Behind” said: “I have very limited contact with Dhondup Wangchen as the authorities are monitoring his every move. I know from my own experience how hard it is upon release from prison and to be in ill health. The authorities apply all kinds of restrictions on former political prisoners. I hope that I will be able to meet him again when he is truly free.”

Dhondup Wangchen has been generally staying with relatives in Khotse in Tibet since his release. He is not recovering his health and is still suffering from his liver problems and high blood pressure which is a constant source of concern for his family and friends abroad.

Contact:
Lhamo Tso, San Francisco (Tibetan only) +1 (510) 680-3244 (please note Pacific Time!)
Gyaljong Tsetrin, Zurich (Tibetan only)  +41 76 462 67 68

(1) Khotse (ཁོ་ཚེ), (in Chinese, 科却 Keque) Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/9MRH4 ;

Golog Jigme on Arrival in Zurich Airport, with Members of Filming for Tibet
(Photo by Filming for Tibet)

Zurich, 24 January, 2015

Tibetan monk, filmmaker and social activist Golog Jigme, aka Jigme Gyatso, arrived in Switzerland on the morning of 24 January 2015 from India. Approximately 40 Tibetans gave Golog Jigme a heroes welcome at Zurich airport upon his arrival at 7am with Tibetan flags and welcoming banners.

Representatives from the Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Tibetan Women’s Association, and from the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe Filming for Tibet, took turns to present Golog Jigme with a khata (a Tibetan white ceremonial scarf).

Golog Jigme addressed the assembled crowd with a few words, “I’m extremely touched to see so many of you here today, thank you for welcoming me to Switzerland. I’d like to thank you for welcoming me. I will seek medical consultation and treatment. While I am here I also plan to explore ways in which I can continue my work for Tibet”.

This is Golog Jigme’s first trip to a Western country. Golog Jigme was jailed by China for assisting filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen in the making of the documentary “Leaving Fear Behind” in 2008. He was arrested in 2008 and released after months of torture. However, he suffered from continued harassment by the police and then disappeared in 2012 after the police started a hunt for him under false charges. After spending almost one year and 18 months in hiding, fearing for his life, Golog Jigme fled to India and finally reached the Tibetan Reception Centre in Dharamsala on 18 May, 2014.

Gyaljong Tsetrin, President of Filming for Tibet and old friends with Golog Jigme said, “It’s wonderful that Golog Jigme has reached Switzerland, a safe country with excellent medical facilities. It’s important that Golog Jigme rest and recuperate after all the torture and hardships he has suffered over the last few years.”

On 25 January, 2015, there will be a welcome event for Golog Jigme in Zurich where he will also give a talk.

In May 2014, Golog Jigme was listed by Reporters Without Borders among their list of “100 Information Heroes” on World Press Freedom Day.

family_speakting_to_Dhondup Wife and children speaking to Dhondup Wangchen at the day of his release, 5 June 2014

 

To all our friends and supporters in the world,

I would like to inform you that Dhondup Wangchen, after his release on 5 June 2014, first went to his home village in Qinghai province and then to Labrang (Gansu Province) to settle various administrative matters regarding his residential papers. At the moment, he focuses to regain his health and is seeking effective medical treatment. It seems that there are some
restrictions on his movements. He is required to inform and seek permission from the local authorities.

I, at the moment, do not have more information to share about his present situation and would like to express my deepest gratitude for your support and sympathy on behalf of Dhondup Wangchen and the entire family. We hope that you will continue to show concern for his recovery and reunion with his family.

Gyaljong Tsetrin
Zurich, 14 July 2014

༄༅།། འཛམ་གླིང་ས་ཕྱོགས་གང་སར་གནས་པའི་ལྷག་བསམ་དཀར་བོའི་འབྲེལ་ཡོད་རྣམ་པ་ཚང་མ་ལ་ཞུས་རྒྱུར། དོན་འགྲུབ་དབང་ཆེན་ཕྱི་ལོ ༢༠༡༤ ཟླ ༦ ཚེས ༥ ཉིན་གློད་གྲོལ་བྱུང་ཡོད། ཐོག་མ་ཁོང་ནང་ལ་སླེབས་ཡོད་པ་དང་ད་ལྟ་བླ་བྲང་ལ་སོང་ནས་ཁོང་གི་ཐོབ་ལག་འཁྱེར་དང་ཁྱིམ་ཐོ་སོགས་ཡིག་ཆ་ཁག་གཅིག་གྲ་བསྒྲིགས་བྱེད་དུ་སོང་ཡོད། དེ་ནས་རིམ་པའི་ཁོང་གི་འཕྲོད་བསྟེན་ཡག་པོ་མེད་པ་དང་གཟུགས་པོ་རྟགས་དཔྱད་བྱེད་རྒྱུ་སོགས་སྨན་བཅོས་ཡག་པོ་ཞིག་བྱེད་ཐུབ་པ་ལ་འབད་པ་ཞུས་བཞིན་འདུག ཡར་མར་འགྲོ་འདུག་བསྟབས་བདེ་ཧ་ཀྱང་ཡོད་ས་མ་རེད། གང་ལགས་ཞུས་ན་གང་དུ་འགྲོ་ནའང་འབྲེལ་ཡོད་སྡེ་ཚན་ལ་ཞུས་དགོས་འདུག དེ་རིང་ཞུས་ཡ་དེ་ཙམ་ལས་མེད།
དེ་མིན་ཞུས་རྒྱུ་ཞིག་ལ་རྣམ་པ་ཚོ་ཚང་མའི་ཁོང་གི་ཕྱོགས་ལ་དོ་སྣང་དང་ཐུགས་ཁུར་བརྒྱ་བསྐྱོར་གནང་པ་ལ་གུས་པས་སྙིང་ཐག་ནས་དོན་དབང་དང་ང་ཚོ་ནང་མི་ཚང་མའི་ཚབ་བྱས་ནས་བཀའ་དྲིན་ཆེ་ཞུས་རྒྱུ་ཡིན་པ་མ་ཟད། ད་དུང་ཁོང་གི་གཟུགས་པོ་འཕྲོད་བསྟན་དང་ནང་མི་མྱུར་དུ་ལྷན་འཛོམས་ཡོང་ཡ་ལ་ཐུགས་ཁུར་གནང་རོགས་ཞེས་ཞུས་བཞིན་ཡོད།

ཞེས་འཇམ་དབྱངས་ཚུལ་ཁྲིམས་ནས་
ཕྱི་ལོ ༢༠༡༤ ཟླ ༧ ཚེས ༡༤ ཉིན།

Dhondup Wangchen, after six years in prison, thanks his family, friends and supporters for their tireless efforts and hopes to see them soon.

Portrait

Dharamsala | Zurich | San Francisco, June 5, 2014  –  Dhondup Wangchen, the imprisoned Tibetan video-activist,  was released from prison in Qinghai’s provincial capital Xining this morning after serving a six year sentence.  After some discussion with the authorities, he was finally driven by the police to Khotse (in Chinese, Keque, about two hours drive away from Xining) where he reached his sister’s home after at around 15.00hrs local time.(1)

In a phone call to Gyaljong Tsetrin, cousin and president of Filming For Tibet, living in Switzerland,  a very emotional Dhondup Wangchen said: “At this moment, I feel that everything inside me is in a sea of tears. I hope to recover my health soon. I would like to express my feeling of deepest gratitude for all the support I received while in prison and I want to be reunited with my family.”

Lhamo Tso, wife of the imprisoned filmmaker who was granted US asylum in 2012 and now lives in San Francisco, is overjoyed: “Six years of injustice and painful counting the days ended today.  It is a day of unbelievable joy for his parents in Dharamsala, our children and myself. We look forward to be reunited as a family.”

Gyaljong Tsetrin, his cousin and co-producer of “Leaving Fear Behind”, said after talking him to: “Though Dhondup is still under the control of the Chinese authorities I am very relieved that he finally could leave prison and has now the possibility to consult a doctor.”

Dhondup Wangchen’s case is known internationally. He has been awarded by various international organisations such as Committee to Protect Journalists for his courageous work making the documentary “Leaving Fear Behind” and his case was the focal point of many campaigns of international human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders. Government representatives around the world have brought up his case in their talks with their Chinese counterparts.

The self-taught cameraman and video-activist travelled across Tibet with his assistant Golog Jigme in 2007/2008. His film “Leaving Fear Behind” (28 min.) has been translated into a dozen languages and has been screened in more than 30 countries worldwide. Golog Jigme recently just arrived in India after a spectacular escape from Tibet.

Dhondup Wangchen (born 1974 in Bayen, in Qinghai/Tibet/China) was sentenced to six years in prison on 28 December 2009. He was transferred on 6 April 2010 to the Xichuan prison, a labour camp concealed as an industrial manufacturer under the name of “Qinghai Xifa Water and Electricity Equipment Manufacture Installment Limited Liability Company”.(2)  In March 2012 he was put in solitary confinement for approximately six months and was transferred in January 2013 in an unusual move to the Qinghai Provincial Women’s Prison(3), the main prison for women in Qinghai province where he was the only male Tibetan political prisoner.

(1) Khotse (ཁོ་ཚེ), (in Chinese, 科却 Keque) Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/9MRH4 ;
(2) Xichuan Labor Camp on Google Map: http://tinyurl.com/xichuan-prison.
(3) Address Qinghai Provincial Women’s Prison: 青海省女子监狱:青海省西宁市城中区南山路40号,邮政编码 810000


Media Contact
Lhamo Tso, San Francisco (Tibetan only,  +1 (510) 681-3244 (please remind Pacific Time!)
Gyaljong Tsetrin, Zurich (Tibetan only)  +41 76 462 67 68
Dechen Pemba, London  (English, Tibetan)  +44 74633 62253
Wangpo Tethong, Zurich (German, Tibetan)  +41 78 744 30 10

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GJ_HH

His Holiness the Dalai Lama receives Golog Jigme shortly after his safe arrive in Dharamsala.

Golog_Jigme_vot Golog Jigme Gyatso in Dharamsala, 19 May 2014.

Filming for Tibet is happy to share the amazing news of Golog Jigme’s safe arrival in Dharamsala, India. Gyaljong Tsetrin, president of Filming for Tibet, has spoken to him and is relieved that Golog Jigme was able to escape from Tibet, finally reaching the Tibetan Reception Centre in Dharamsala on May 18, 2014.

Golog Jigme, aka Jigme Gyatso, was jailed for assisting filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen in the making of the documentary “Leaving Fear Behind” in 2008. He was arrested in 2008 and released after months of torture. However, he suffered from continued harassment by the police and then disappeared in 2012 after the police started a hunt for him under false charges.

Recently, Golog Jigme was listed by Reporters Without Borders among their list of “100 Information Heroes” on World Press Freedom Day.

More information to follow soon.

2 Overiew of PrionsFreedom Bird action in Xining/Qinghai Province
(In the background the blue rooftops of the Qinghai Women’s Prison)
Copyright Unchain The Truth

1 Infront of Labour Camp
Freedom Bird in front of the prison
(Qinghai Province Women’s Prison, Nanshan Road 40, 810000 Xining City, Qinghai Province, PR China), Copyright Unchain The Truth

Zurich, March 25, 2013: In a daring show of solidarity, friends of Dhondup Wangchen inside Tibet displayed origami birds of freedom in front of the prison in Xining where the filmmaker is being held. The photo shows an installation of “freedom birds” along with a hand drawn banner saying “Thank You” to supporters of Dhondup Wangchen around the world for taking action for his safe return. The photo may document the first action ever in front of a prison or labour camp where Tibetan political prisoners are being held.

A Global Day of Action was held for Dhondup Wangchen’s safe return on March 22, 2014 and supporters in countries as diverse as Brazil, Belgium, USA, India and Switzerland folded and distributed origami birds of freedom in public. These awareness raising solidarity acts highlighted Dhondup Wangchen’s last few months of unjust imprisonment.

“These stunning photos from Tibet are very touching” said Gyaljong Tsetrin, founder of Filming for Tibet and cousin of Dhondup Wangchen. “The photos show that not only that Dhondup Wangchen is not forgotten but that the efforts and actions of people of conscience all over the world are being noticed and appreciated inside Tibet with deepest gratitude.”

Dhondup Wangchen was arrested on March 26, 2008.  In our view, his six year sentence should end today, March 25, 2014. The judge however has postponed it to June 5, 2014, for unknown reasons.

Media Contacts:
Gyaljong Tsetrin (Tibetan only)  +41 76 462 67 68
Dechen Pemba (English, Tibetan)  +44 74633 62253
Wangpo Tethong (German, English)  +41 78 744 30 10

Yesterday at the UN, the US government mentioned Dhondup Wangchen and expressed their deep concern to his ongoing detention. We’ve been in touch with Lhamo Tso per Skype to tell her this good news. Lhamo Tso reacted very emotionally and thanked everyone for their efforts to release her beloved husband.

Join the actions TOMORROW for Dhondup’s safe return to Lhamo Tso and their children!

——————–

U.S. Intervention at the Adoption of the UPR Working Group Report for China
25th Session of the Human Rights Council
https://geneva.usmission.gov/2014/03/20/u-s-statement-on-adoption-of-the-upr-wg-report-on-china/

As Delivered by Paula Schriefer
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs

March 19, 2014

The United States welcomes the return of the delegation from the People’s Republic of China to the Council and appreciates the opportunity to comment on the final Working Group report form China’s Universal Periodic Review.

We welcome China’s acceptance of recommendations related to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. We urge China to ratify this important human rights convention. We note that China has announced the abolition of the Reeducation Through Labor system, and we urge China to end all forms of arbitrary detention.

We note that China accepted recommendations calling for the protection of the rights of members of ethnic minority groups. We are deeply concerned, however, by government policies in ethnic Uighur, Tibetan, and Mongolian areas of China that have contributed to unrest as well as the ongoing detention of activists Ilham Tohti, Dhondup Wangchen, and Hada.

We are disappointed that China did not accept UPR recommendations related to protecting the freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and expression including on the Internet. We remain very concerned by the detention of activist Xu Zhiyong, lawyer Gao Zhisheng, Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, as well as the house arrest of his wife Liu Xia.

Finally, we are concerned that China refuses to cooperate with – and in some cases, impedes – civil society in the UPR process. We note with profound sadness the recent death of Cao Shunli, a civil society leader who sought to engage the Chinese government on these issues and was detained for her efforts. Thank you.

San Francisco, October 9, 2013 – Lhamo Tso and actor Peter Coyote were not received by Consul Yuan Nansheng today. The Chinese Consulate did not answer the doorbell despite letting in at least two other people around that time.

Lhamo Tso and Peter Coyote had no choice but to drop the envelope for Dhondup Wangchen with birthday cards from the children and pictures in the letterbox of the Chinese Consulate. Lhamo Tso and Peter Coyote then held a press conference outside the Consulate to explain why they were taking action on the occasion of Dhondup Wangchen’s upcoming birthday on October 17.

Lhamo Tso: “I’m disappointed that the Chinese Consulate would not receive us today and that my husband Dhondup Wangchen will have to spend another birthday alone in prison, far away from his family. It would have meant a lot to him to receive the cards and letters from his children who miss him a great deal. At this time, I’d like to thank Peter Coyote for his support and help today and also the many people around the world who have expressed solidarity with Dhondup Wangchen.”

Photo Download:
1. Lhamo Tso showing picture of her children
2. Lhamo Tso and Peter Coyote in front of the Chinese Consulate

Contact:
Mrs. Lhamo Tso, 510-681-3244 (ONLY TIBETAN)
Mr. Peter Coyote, c/o Elizabeth Ross,  Assistant to Peter Coyote,  415-385-9908
Ms. Tenzin Tselha, Students for a Free Tibet, 510-289-5691
Mr. Giovanni Vassallo, Bay Area Friends of Tibet, 415-264-3264