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

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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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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!

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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

Lhamo Tso showing pictures of her children. Chinese Consulate in San Francisco (photo: Filming for Tibet)

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.”

Wife of Imprisoned Tibetan Filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, Supported by Actor Peter Coyote, Demands Safe Return for her Husband

PRESS RELEASE (International Version)

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

(San Francisco) 9 October 2013 – Lhamo Tso, wife of filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, accompanied by actor Mr. Peter Coyote, will go to the Consulate of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco today to handover letters and pictures for her husband who is in a prison in China and whose birthday is on October 17.

Mr. Coyote said that he was told about the case of Dhondup recently and decided to accompany and support Lhamo Tso in her struggle to reunite her family:  “It is hard to imagine a great country like China, threatened by a documentary film maker. Keeping him imprisoned can only make the world suspect that he must have been telling inconvenient truths. Even if that were the case, are we to believe that China would so publicly disdain the human right of free expression by keeping Dhondup Wangchen behind bars for a movie?”

Lhamo Tso said: «The reason for my growing worry is an observation that is shared by many people: In the past few months a wave of releases of Tibetan writers and activists has taken place. The health conditions of all the released men were deplorable. I urge all people to help me to bring the father of my children back.”

Lhamo Tso, who has been invited by various groups from all over the world to speak about her husband, now lives in San Francisco. Her four children are in India, in an exile-Tibetan orphanage and are expected to join her as soon as possible. The Bay Area Friends of Tibet helped Lhamo Tso to settle in San Francisco

Dhondup Wangchen’s case is known internationally. He was awarded by different groups for his courageous documentary. The self-taught camera man and film maker travelled across Tibet with his assistant Golog Jigme in 2007/2008. His film “Leaving Fear Behind” (28 min.) was translated in a dozen languages and screened in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Download PDF

Letter of Lhamo Tso to Consul Yuan Nansheng 
Letters of the children to their father Dhondup Wangchen
Letter I of Lhamo Tso to her husband (Tibetan)
Letter II of Lhamo Tso to her husband (English, Tibetan, Chinese) send earlier in 2013
Background on releases of political prisoners.

 

 

San Francisco, Zurich:  Lhamo Tso, wife of Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, accompanied by actor Mr. Peter Coyote, will go to the Chinese Consulate to hand over letters and pictures for her husband who is in a prison in China and whose birthday is on October 17. Peter Coyote supports the demand for a safe return of Dhondup Wangchen.

Dhondup Wangchen is nearing the end of a six-year prison sentence in China for “inciting separatism”. Dhondup Wangchen suffers from Hepatitis B and has not received the medical treatment he needs. 

Dhondup Wangchen’s case is known internationally. He was awarded by various organizations for his courageous documentary. The self-taught camera man and filmmaker travelled across Tibet with his assistant Golog Jigme in 2007/2008. His film “Leaving Fear Behind” (28 min.) was translated into many languages and has been screened in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Lhamo Tso with Chen Guangcheng

Lhamo Tso was  first in Los Angeles (26 May) and then New York (1 June) to accept an award for Dhondup from  Visual Artists Guild.  Visual Artists Guild  (VAG) is an organisation based in the US. It holds the belief that the right of freedom of expression is the lifeblood of all artists. Its mission is to bring to the world attention whenever such a right is threatened or suppressed.

Chen Guangcheng, the blind dissident lawyer, (picture above) was the keynote speaker at the New York Event.

Read here Lhamo Tso’s acceptance speech: Huffington Post Article, by Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia Programm Coordinator