Assistant Filmmaker of “Leaving Fear Behind”, Jigme Gyatso, Missing

October 4, 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 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 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)


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