Singer jailed for nine years

13th January 2014

Musicians campaign grows as Tibetan stars sign up

Exile Tibetan singers have joined the 1,600 people who have signed Free Tibet's petition calling for the release of jailed Tibetan musicians. Support from the three US-based singers comes as news emerges that Trinley Tsekar, arrested in November 2013, has been sentenced to nine years in prison – the longest sentence of any of the singers so far. Two other men were sentenced for the same protest - Tselha received a three year sentence and Choechap, 13 years.

Protest and crackdown

22 year-old Trinley Tsekar is from Driru County, where Tibetans staged a mass demonstration against Chinese mining on a sacred site in May 2013. In December, Trinley Tsekar was convicted and sentenced, reportedly due to his participation in the protests. In September last year, the authorities flooded Driru with officials and security forces in an attempt to impose a "political re-education" campaign on the area. After being ordered to fly Chinese flags on their houses, Tibetans threw them into the river. The county has been the scene of intense protests and repression since. In October 2013, security forces fired on a demonstration in Driru, injuring 60.

Celebrating Tibet

Trinley Tsekar's popular DVD Ring of Unity contains songs celebrating Tibetan identity, culture and language. China has made strenuous efforts to suppress Tibetan nationalism in Driru and Trinley Tsekar's conviction and the length of his sentence may be because of the messages in his songs.

Tibet musicians back campaign

Phurbu T Namgyal, Techung and Nawang Khechog have all signed the petition to China's justice minister demanding that all jailed singers in Tibet be released. Grammy-nominated Nawang Khechog is a world-renowned flutist and composer. Phurbu T Namgyal, who is popular inside and outside Tibet, said "Tibetan singers, writers, and artists inside Tibet and China should have the freedom to express their thoughts. I am very pleased to support this campaign and I hope that these artists are released unconditionally." Techung has performed at His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s public events in a number of countries.

Take action

Sign our petition calling on China to release Tibet's imprisoned musicians. action10.jpg