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Dhondup Wangchen, China - Jailed since March 2008

Dhondup Wangchen, China - Jailed since March 2008

Article ID:

17621

Day 2
Country: China
Journalist: Dhondup Wangchen
Media: Documentary filmmaker
Jailed since: March 26, 2008

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#FreethePress calling for release of Dhondup Wangchen jailed in #China tinyurl.com/qfpc9pc


Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen is currently serving a six-year sentence for his documentary 'Leaving Fear Behind'. The 25-minute movie gave voice to ordinary Tibetan people on a range of topics from the Dalai Lama, the Chinese government, human rights abuses to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Wangchen was arrested shortly after he mailed the footage to his colleagues, and was later charged with inciting Tibetan separatism.

Protest letter for Dhondup Wangchen

Wangchen is expected to be released in June 2014. But despite his imminent freedom, his health is ailing and his life is at risk from untreated hepatitis B that he contracted while in custody. Wangchen was transferred to a labour camp in Qinghai Province, which is known to have particularly harsh conditions, after last year spending six months in solitary confinement.

Ahead of his release, Wangchen's wife and mother of his four children, Lhamo Tso has been trying to raise awareness about the plight of Tibetan journalists in jail. “In Tibet, evidence has shown that political prisoners are granted sudden release when the Chinese authorities try to avoid custodial death in prison and take the blame,” Tso recently said. “I urge you to help me to bring the father of my children back, alive.”

The Chinese government has long maintained a tight grip on the media to prevent any threat of opposition or subversion – and will deploy almost any means to control the spread of information. From jailing journalists with lengthy sentences to a myriad of ways to censor the Internet and promote self-censorship, China is one of the most unfriendly countries for freedom of expression. In late 2013, 32 journalists remained jailed, with at least 50 percent of them being from ethnic minorities, including eight other Tibetan journalists in addition to Wangchen. Although the Tibetan struggle under Chinese rule is decades old, conditions for journalism noticably worsened in the aftermath of the 2008 uprising.

Since August 2008, Leaving Fear Behind has been screened in more than 30 countries worldwide and translated into five languages.


Suggested Tweet:

#FreethePress calling for release of Dhondup Wangchen jailed in #China tinyurl.com/qfpc9pc


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Andrew Heslop

Date

2014-04-05 13:00

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