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Archive for January 21st, 2010

China Jails Filmmaker, Dhondup Wangchen.

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In most countries we are used to critical films and documentaries.

We are accustomed to governments being criticised and even if the criticism is harsh, little if anything happens to the filmmaker.

At worst there is a discussion on the television programme and some sharp remarks are exchange, but that’s about it.

Contrast that with what happens to Tibetans.

The self-taught filmmaker, Dhondup Wangchen, went around gathering peoples’ views on various subjects for his film, Leaving Fear Behind.

For that he’s been jailed for six years, as the Times reports:

“A film-maker has been jailed in China for six years for making a documentary in which ordinary Tibetans praised the Dalai Lama.

The film, Leaving Fear Behind, was shot by Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan from a poor farming family in western Qinghai province, and his friend Golog Jigme Gyatso, a monk. The two men had spent several months before the 2008 Beijing Olympics interviewing Tibetans about the upcoming games and their views of the Chinese Government.

The 108 Tibetans spoke with remarkable openness in the interviews and had agreed to show their faces on camera.

The pair had finished shooting the documentary and smuggled the tapes out of Tibet when a riot erupted in the capital, Lhasa, in March 2008. They were arrested a few days later as unrest spread rapidly through Tibetan-populated regions of China.

This is how he was treated:

“The court in Xining in Qinghai province handed him a six-year sentence after authorities accused him of subversion, his family said in a statement.

“My children and I feel desperate about the prospect of not being able to see him for so many years,” said his wife Lhamo Tso, who fled to safety in India with their four children in 2006 before he started filming.

“We call on the Chinese authorities to show humanity by releasing him. My husband is not a criminal; he just tried to show the truth,” she said.

The family said that the court barred him from bringing a lawyer and that the verdict was delivered quietly on December 28.”

Written by modernityblog

21/01/2010 at 15:20