Musician released from prison after three and a half years

Gonpo Tenzin
Gonpo Tenzin
7th August 2018

Gonpo Tenzin was arrested in 2013 after authorities deemed his music to be separatist

Free Tibet has learned that a well-known Tibetan singer has been released after three and a half years in prison. Gonpo Tenzin was released on 1 August after serving his sentence. 

Gonpo Tenzin hails from Shakchu Town in Driru County, which is administered as part of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. He released a number of songs, one of which is entitled "No Losar for Tibet''. This album calls upon Tibetan people not to celebrate Losar (Tibetan New Year) due to the ongoing repression in Tibet. His music also promotes Tibetan culture, literature, identity, unity and the Tibetan language. He had distributed many DVDs of his songs to local Tibetans.

The content of Gonpo Tenzin’s music attracted the attention of the authorities and in 2013 a notice was issued for his arrest. He initially tried to hide but was arrested by Lhasa City police on 30 November 2013 and held in detention for a year and a half.

On 15 April 2015 he was found guilty of splittism, a state security crime often used against Tibetans who protest or express their culture outside of the boundaries tolerated by the ruling Chinese occupation. He was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment.

Gonpo Tenzin after his release
Gonpo Tenzin after his release
Gonpo Tenzin after his release

Gonpo Tenzin’s condition following his release is unknown. The singer received numerous greetings and good wishes on social media following his release, although messages and photos were later deleted. 

His native Driru County is one of the most restive areas in Tibet (PDF), with a number of protests taking place there in recent years, Chinese authorities have arrested writers and musicians, who have been subjected to arbitrary and secret detention and also tortured. The authorities have also imposed patriotic re-education campaigns on locals, raided monasteries and demolished religious buildings.

Full translation of Gonpo Tenzin's song " No Losar for Tibet''

No Losar for Tibet
White snow lion is standing in the distance, far away
The heroes of the land of snow, have no way to return
For the land of snow’s untamed son has a slimmer chance to find happiness  

No Losar for Tibet
Old dog barks from the rooftop of snow mountain
Wolves wail at the waist of snow mountain
Nearby the foothills, the fox plays cunning tricks  

No Losar for Tibet
Our warm blood of heart spilled over the earth 
The fortune of the land of snow has been thrown to the river 
Our lives being burnt for Tibet

No Losar for Tibet
The cries of land of snow for help spread across the globe
The tears of land of snow run across the earth,
Who on this earth, feels the pain of land of snow

No Losar for Tibet
The glorious pride of land of snow is being darkened by the shadow of mist
The magnificence of land of snow has been devoured by the periodic sun
The world of land of snow is close to vanishing

No Losar for Tibet
The rights of land of snow are under someone else's rule
The freedom of land of snow remains under oppression
If a true soul of Tibetan is there

No Losar for Tibet

Information supplied by Tibet Watch.

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