News

Lhamo Tso, wife of Dhondup Wangchen, launches campaign for Jigme Gyatso

Filming for Tibet information has collected, with the help of Lhamo Tso, information about Tibetan monk Jigme Gyatso (aka “Golog Jigme”) that clearly indicate the charges against him of manslaughter are baseless. Lhamo Tso, an old friend of Jigme Gyatso, is appealing to the US government and governments around the world to request the officials in China to stop the manhunt.

Since the surprising charges against Jigme Gyatso first appeared, Filming for Tibet has tried to shed light on the case and started research into the matter. The findings of this research are as follows:

1. Over the past weeks and months, individual reports appeared on Facebook by Westerners living in China and Tibetans who know Jigme Gyatso that protest against the idea of manslaughter. Filming for Tibet representatives have met with several of these voices in person and have been reassured that the background for the PSB search are baseless and motivated by other, unknown, reasons.

2. There has been a systematic outreach by Filming for Tibet to reliable sources in Tibet who say:

a. There has been no case of manslaughter whatsoever that can be brought in a connection with Jigme Gyatso
b. His whole personality is against violence. It is unthinkable that he could bring harm to any person.
c. Repeatedly, the opinion was voiced that Jigme Gyatso’s political and social activism might be the real reason for the arrest and the harsh statements following his disappearance/flight from the PSB. See the photos below for his involvement with relief work after the earthquake in eastern Tibet in 2010.

3. There have been a series a phone call to PSB in Gansu. Analysis of the recordings of the phone calls show that the PSB official are embarrassed by their initial charges and show no signs of confidence in the reason for their search campaign. Repeated requests to repeat the charges are met with either complete silence ( Video: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=384667598286240 ) or evasive statements such as claiming not to be able to hear well or not understanding the other person ( Video: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151152729405423 )

Lhamo Tso, wife of Dhondup Wangchen, has been friends with Jigme Gyatso for more then 16 years. Currently in the US, Lhamo Tso is carrying out advocacy work and appealing to the US Secretary of State to take action to ensure the safety of Jigme Gyatso. In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry dated January 25, 2013, Lhamo Tso wrote: “Today, I write to you requesting your support for Jigme Gyatso, also known as Golog Jigme, a man who is very dear to my family. Jigme Gyatso is a Tibetan monk and an old friend of mine who helped my husband to realise the film […] Together with friends and supporters of my husband, I am trying to find ways to help him. I am convinced that if foreign governments inquire about his case, some level of protection will be provided to him. Therefore, I request the US government to approach the Chinese government and ask them about the case of Jigme Gyatso.”

Contacts:
Lhamo Tso, +1-510-681-3244, (Tibetan)
EMail: media[at]leavingfearbehind.com

Wangpo Tethong
“Filming for Tibet” spokesperson, +41 787 44 3010 (English, German, Tibetan)
EMail: media[at]leavingfearbehind.com

Dechen Pemba, “Filming for Tibet” spokesperson, +44 20 3286 7681 (English)
EMail: media[at]leavingfearbehind.com

Zurich, January 21, 2013: In an unusual move, it has been learned by Filming for Tibet that filmmaker and political prisoner Dhondup Wangchen has been transferred from Xichuan labour camp to Qinghai Provincial Women’s Prison, the main prison for women in China’s Qinghai province [1].

Following a visit to Dhondup Wangchen by close family members on January 15, 2013, Dhondup Wangchen spoke of previous harsh treatment at Xichuan labour camp, including several months of solitary confinement that started in March 2012. Although being held in improved conditions, Dhondup Wangchen and his family 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 6 year sentence for making ‘Leaving Fear Behind’, it is our wish that in this time Dhondup Wangchen suffer no maltreatment and be granted access to books so that he can study, something he has repeatedly requested but has been forbidden from doing,” continued Tsetrin.

Around the world, individuals and groups have built a growing coalition for Dhondup Wangchen. In 2012, US based Committee to Protect Journalists awarded Dhondup Wangchen for his work and groups such as Amnesty International intensified campaign efforts. In the past, many Tibetan prisoners have been maltreated before release which leads to severe health problems. Dhondup Wangchen’s family hopes international awareness will prevent such problems and lead to his secure release.

Notes:
1. The details of the prison are 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. The photo below shows the location on Google Earth.

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)

EMail: media[at]leavingfearbehind.com

Help Save Golog Jigme!

November 30, 2012

Use the Chinese text template for texting Public Security Bureau (PSB) in Gansu.

1. 我们不信安全厅的宣传。果洛久美自由!We don’t believe PSB propaganda. Free  Golog Jigme!
2. 释放果洛久美 Release Golog Jigme
3. 果洛久美自由 Free Golog Jigme
4. 果洛久美在哪里? Where is Golog Jigme?
5. 停止谎言! 果洛久美自由 ! Stop the lies! Free Golog Jigme!

Public security bureau (PSB) phone numbers in Gansu:

text => +86 13519629133, +86 13519658733
call=> +86 9318535111, +86 9318535115

You do not need to speak Chinese to do a phone call. Just mention Golog Jigme’s name, loudly!

If you want to say the sentences in Chinese, here’s how:

 This is how you say Release Golog Jigme in Chinese
Chinese characters: 释放果洛久美
Pinyin: Shìfàng guǒ luò jiǔměi

This is how to Say “Free Golog Jigme” in Chinese
Chinese characters: 果洛久美自由
Pinyin: Guǒluò jiǔměi zìyóu

This is how to say “We don’t believe PSB propaganda. Free Golog Jigme!” in Chinese”
Chinese characters: 我们不信安全厅的宣传。果洛久美自由。
Pinyin: Wǒmen bùxìn ānquán tīng de xuānchuán. Guǒ luò jiǔměi zìyóu

Here are a couple of videos showing you what happens when you call!

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)

Dhondup Wangchen has been honored today with journalists from Brazil, Kyrgyzstan and Liberia Tuesday at the 2012 International Press Freedom Awards in New York for taking huge risks to expose human rights violations in their countries.

Dhondup Wangchen, honored with CPJ’s 2012 International Press Freedom Award from Committee to Protect Journalists on Vimeo.

They were honored at an awards dinner in New York, although two of them — Kyrgyz reporter Azimjon Askarov and Tibetan Dhondup Wangchen — were unable to attend as they are currently imprisoned. But his wife Lhamo Tso attended the ceremony.The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said the four reporters “have faced severe reprisals for their work, including assault, threats, and torture.”

“We are inspired by these journalists who have paid a high price for their enduring dedication to the truth,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.

The winners are:
– Brazilian Mauri Koenig, an investigative reporter who has spent 22 years covering human rights abuses and corruption. Koenig was almost beaten to death while reporting for stories on the kidnapping of Brazilian children for military service in Paraguay and has received many death threats.

– Wangchen, a Tibetan documentary filmmaker who made the film “Leaving Fear Behind” about his homeland ahead of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He was promptly detained and sentenced to six years in prison.

– Askarov, a Kyrgyz journalist and human rights activist sentenced to life behind bars after writing about corruption and abuse of power. According to human rights groups, the criminal case against him was fabricated.

– Mae Azango, a rare female journalist in Liberia, had to go into hiding after writing about female genital mutilation.

The CPJ honors between four and seven individuals or publications each year at the New York banquet.


Madeline Earp, Lhamo Tso, Sandra Mims Rowe and Gwen Ifill

For more information see here.

1st Jury Prize:

Canh Ba Ba (Turtle Soup) by Tsering Tashi Gyalthang

2nd Jury Prize:

Re-paired Glasses by Geleck Palsang

2nd Jury Prize

Can Anyone Hear Me by Tenzin Phuljung

Other contributions:

The Ultimate Courage – Nying-Top by Palden Khar

The Brave Tibetans In A New Country by Thupten Tenzin

Two Letters by Lhamo Tso

Courage by Drukthar

Ant Story by Jamphel Dorjee and Thinlay Choegyal

Tibet Film Festival in Zurich

Zurich/Dharamsala – Tibet Film Festival is ready to start.  «We had been fighting till the last moment to get the films we wanted to present to our audience», says Ganden Tethong the coordinator.  The organisers encourage  the audience to enjoy the films and participate in the discussions.

Filming for Tibet is grateful to H.H. the Gyalwang Karmapa for showing his support for the festival.  It would like to thank the Tibetan film makers for having contributed wonderful films to our program and would like to remind that without our  sponsoring partners and individual donors in India and Switzerland this event wouldn’t be the same!

Companies, Foundation & Group Donor
Aeschimann group 1961 – 1964, former Tibetan foster children
Anonymous, Switzerland
Dhombatsang, Boutique&Handicrafts, Dharamsala, Mr. Karma Dhombatsann
Green Hotel, Dharamsala, Mr. Wangdue Tsewang
Guesthouse Pema Tang, Dharamsala, Mrs. Kelsang Chukie Tethong
Kulturmarkt, Switzerland
Migros Kulturprozent, Switzerland
Hot Yak Cafe, Delhi, Mr. Tenzin Thinlay
Tibet Tour and Travel, Dharamsala, Mr Dawa R. Gangpa Dhekyi
Zambala House, Dharamsala,  Mr. Lobsang Tenzin

Individual Donor
Mrs. and Mrs. Pia and Jürg Ammann, Switzerland
Mrs. Lucy Fazzino, Dharamsala
Mrs Tsering Lhamo, Dharamsala
Mr. Dorjee and Mrs. Jaqueline Phuntsok
Mr.  Norbu Tsering, Canada
Mrs. Pema Sernja, Switzerland
Mrs. Dicky Tethong, Switzerland

Sponsor  of the program booklet 
Pema of Tibet
Lhasa Shop
Tibet Culture Trekking Tour
Seiz AG
Ganden Meditationszentrum
Tibet Shop, Zürich
Silvan Fesssler Fotodesign
Artige Bar, Zürich

 

 

15. Oct. 2012/Dharamsala/India – Tibet Film Festival presented to H.H. the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa this year’s program of the Tibet Film Festival. The event took place in Norbu Lingkha Institute and also included the screening of some entries of last year’s short film competition.  H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa who takes great interest in arts expressed at this occasion his support for Tibetan film making and the work of the Tibet Film Festival.

Tibet Film Festival host event at Norbu Lingkha Institute, ©Filming for Tibet/David Huang

H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa who suffered from a bad cold talked about the responsibility of film making and reminded of the situation in Tibet and the people trying to use video as a mean to communicate to the outside world the desperate situation inside Tibet.

The organisers of the film festival thanked the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa for his sympathy and support for a festival that is unique, maybe in the world for taking plase at two places (Zurich and Dharamsala) at the same time with an identical short film competition and almost identical film program. The festival shows exclusively films made by Tibetan.

Nyima Thondup (co-organizer of Tibet Film Festival) presenting the program of Tibet Film Festival to H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa, ©Filming for Tibet/David Huang

Some of the sponsors of the festival were also invited to the event and had the opportunity to take a group photo with H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa.

The Festival starts in Zurich on 26. October 2012 and in Dharamsala on 27. October 2012

Photo of Jigme Gyatso

Jigme Gyatso, the monk who assisted Dhondup Wangchen in making the 2008 documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind” (Tibetan title “Jigdrel”) has been missing for two weeks, according to his close friends and posts on social media by Tibetans. Jigme Gyatso, also known as Golog Jigme, was last heard of on September 20.

According to his Zurich-based close friend Gyaljong Tsetrin, Jigme Gyatso’s last known whereabouts were in Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province, on September 20 when he was on his way to Tsoe (Ch: Hezuo) in Amdo, Tibet. “I’m certain that Jigme Gyatso has been detained by Chinese security and I fear he is being ill-treated, as he has been in the past”, said Gyaljong Tsetrin.

Security in China is known to be heavy handed around the times of national holidays and anniversaries, such as the recent October 1 National Day. Jigme Gyatso has a history of detentions, was under heavy surveillance by Chinese security with his movements routinely restricted. The New York based group, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), yesterday released a statement expressing their concern, their Asia program coordinator Bob Dietz said, “We are concerned about the whereabouts of Jigme Gyatso, who has been harassed and detained in the past for making a film [...] Gyatso’s disappearance is a reminder that even if they are freed, the fear of re-arrest is constant.”

Screenshot of Weibo post about Jigme Gyatso

At great personal risk, Tibetan netizens have been posting on social media sites and alerting each other about Jigme Gyatso’s disappearance. A post on the Sina Weibo microblogging site from September 30, 2012 (screenshot above) says that “Jigme Gyatso has been missing for the last 10 days”.

Another post also from September 30 on Tibetan blog-hosting site Sangdhor.com titled “Looking for Jigdrel’s Jigme” says in Tibetan, “It has been over 10 days since we are not knowing the whereabouts of Jigme, maker of the film “Leaving Fear Behind”, also known as Golog Jigme. This is causing family and friends to worry. Looking for information about him, please contact us immediately, thank you.” This post was deleted from Sangdhor.com very quickly.

Jigme Gyatso was the main helper to Dhondup Wangchen on the documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind”. Dhondup Wangchen is currently serving a six year prison sentence for making the film.

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)