Dhondup Wangchen

Dhondup Wangchen after his release from prison
Dhondup Wangchen after his release from prison

 UPDATE: Dhondup Wangchen was released in June 2014. During his incarceration he was subjected to prison labour and six months of solitary confinement. On his release he expressed his hope to recover his health and to join his family in the United States, where they are now living.

Tibetan film-maker Dhondup Wangchen was arrested in March 2008. He had just completed filming a series of interviews with Tibetans who had bravely voiced their feelings on the upcoming Beijing Olympics and the Chinese occupation.

The interviews were smuggled out of Tibet and made into a remarkable film, Leaving Fear Behind, which has been screened in more than 30 countries and was secretly shown to journalists on the eve of the Beijing Olympics.

Harsh sentence

On 28 December 2009, Dhondup was sentenced to six years in prison for “subversion”, according to a statement released by his family on 6 January 2010.

The Chinese authorities in Xining did not inform Wangchen’s relatives where the trial was taking place or the verdict.

Dhondup's wife Lhamo Tso said "I appeal to the court in Xining to allow my husband to have a legal representative of his own choosing. My children and I feel desperate about the prospect of not being able to see him for so many years. 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."

On 6 April 2010 Dhondup was transferred to Xichuan Labou Camp in Qinghai Province, which is renowned for its harsh conditions, and he has since contracted Hepatitis B.

Freedom award

On 14 September 14 2012, it was announced that Dhondup was to receive a press freedom award for Leaving Fear Behind, the film that led to his six-year prison sentence. 

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