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Tibetan film-maker Dhondup Wangchen released

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Tibetan film-maker Dhondup Wangchen released

The winner of the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2012 Press Freedom Award was convicted on charges of “subversion” after the 2008 release of his documentary ‘Leaving Fear Behind’. The film consists of a series of interviews with Tibetans, in which they speak about issues such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Chinese occupation of Tibet. It has since been shown around the world and translated into five languages.  

After his imprisonment, Wangchen was transferred to a notoriously harsh labour camp where he contracted Hepatitis B and received inadequate medical treatment. Wangchen’s health has been worsening ever since, and his release may have been timed to shield the government from blame.  

“In Tibet, evidence has shown that political prisoners are granted sudden release when the Chinese authorities try to avoid custodial death in prison and not take the blame,” his wife Lhama Tso recently said. 

But upon his release Wangchen expressed optimism. "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," he said in a phone conversation with his cousin. 

As of December 2013, 32 journalists were imprisoned in China. And despite Wangchen’s release, the authorities continue to detain his fellow journalists amid a crackdown leading up to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.  

Author

Douglas Grant

Date

2014-06-05 15:04

Author information

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