Tibetan Musician Kalsang Yarphel Released

Kalsang Yarphel Released
Kalsang Yarphel Released
11th July 2017

Kalsang Yarphel spent four years in prison for his politically themed music

The Tibetan musician Kalsang Yarphel was released on 10 July 2017 after serving four years in prison.

He was welcomed by his family and friends with Tibetan ceremonial scarves (khatak). As of now, his health condition is unknown.

Free Tibet pushed for Kalsang Yarphel’s release as part of its Jailed Musicians campaign.

Kalsang Yarphel’s arrest

In October and November 2012, Kalsang Yarphel, along with a few other Tibetan musicians and artists, had organised a concert called "Khawai Metok" (Snow Flower). They wanted to encourage Tibetans to speak and write in their native language. The DVD of the concert was widely distributed across Tibet. However, a month later, Chinese government banned the DVD.

On 14 June 2013, Kalsang Yarphel was arrested from Lhasa and taken to Chengdu for singing politically themed songs.

He spent around 16 months in detention without trial before 27 November 2014, when Sichuan's Chengdu Jinniu People's Court sentenced him to four years in prison.

Following his release, Kalsang Yarphel has returned to his home in Makhug Tara in Machu County in Kanlho, eastern Tibet, where he lives with Tsezin Palmo, his wife, and their three children.


Tibet’s Jailed Musicians

In recent years a number of Tibetan singers have been arrested and jailed for calling for an independent Tibet, denouncing China’s oppression or defending Tibetan culture and expressing Tibetan national pride.

Free Tibet has campaigned for Tibetan musicians to be released, advocating for their freedom of expression and culture to be respected by the Chinese government. In 2014, Free Tibet wrote to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, raising the disappearance of several Tibetan singers. The United Nations wrote to China, demanding that they account for the missing musicians. The Chinese government was forced to admit that the musicians had been jailed for “separatist” activities. Then, in September 2015 a petition with more than 11,000 signatures was handed to China’s Justice Minister asking for the release of the artists.

Several other Tibetan musicians have been released in the past year, including Amchok Phuljung and Pema Rigzin.


Information supplied by Tibet Watch

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