Tibet Watch has learned that Tibetan singer Palden was arbitrarily detained and sentenced to three in years in prison in a secret trial in November last year.
The singer, aged 30, who hails from Yotak village (ཡོ་སྟག་སྡེ་བ།), Dedha Township (དྷི་མདའ་ཡུལ་ཚོ།), Pema County (པདྨ་རྫོང་།), in eastern Tibet, was arrested for singing Messenger of [Tibetan] Empire (བཙན་པོའི་ཕོ་ཉ།), a song that he performed online in December 2022 as part of a singing contest with a Dranyen -Tibetan stringed instrument that Palden loves to play, but the police found the song patriotic.
Following a secret trial in Golok prefecture that was also unusually quick compared to time taken for court trial of other detained prisoners in the past, Palden was sentenced to three years in prison. He is known to be held incommunicado at a detention centre in Pema County as of 27 December 2023.
A source informed Tibet Watch that Palden “was interrogated for a long time in detention… He was never given a free and fair trial, but [instead] he was later informed by the authority [prefecture level] that he had been sentenced to three years of imprisonment [without any legal documentation].”
According to the source who shared the information in late January, the authorities had not allowed Palden’s family to meet him.
Palden rose in popularity after coming sixth in the December 2022 contest, winning admiration from across Tibet for his sincere personality and his song Remembering Mother getting widely shared afterward.
Palden’s account on the Chinese social media application has 98.5K followers, but no pictures and music have been posted since 26 March 2023.