Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen released

7 April 2015, 16:27 UTC | China, United States of America
Dhondup Wangchen, a self-taught filmmaker from eastern Tibet, who together with Golog Jigme, secretly filmed over 35 hours of interviews with everyday Tibetans © Private

On 5 June 2014, self-taught filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen was detained for his involvement in a Tibetan human rights film called ‘Leaving Fear Behind’. He was released by authorities after spending six years as a prisoner of conscience in China.

Wangchen came to the attention of the Chinese authorities after smuggling the film footage out of Tibet. The confiscated footage expressed Tibetan attitudes towards the Beijing Olympics and the Dalai Lama. He was sentenced for ‘subversion of state power’ and ‘inciting separatism’ after a secret trial. He was repeatedly tortured and refused medical treatment during his detention.

Wangchen’s wife, Lhamo Tso, now lives in San Francisco with their children after being granted US asylum in 2012. She had this to say after his release: 'Six years of injustice and painful counting the days ended today. It is a day of unbelievable joy for his parents in Dharamsla, our children and myself. We look forward to be reunited as a family.'

Supporters like you delivered thousands of letters, cards, petitions and signatures demanding Chinese authorities release Wangchen. Victories in human rights cases in China are few and far between, but Wangchen’s release proves that when we work together, we can create change. 

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