Exile Tibetan stars back Jailed Singers campaign

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

US-based Phurbu T Namgyal, Techung and Nawang Khechog support Free Tibet campaign for musicians jailed in Tibet

Joining Western stars including Peter Gabriel and Radiohead, Phurbu T Namgyal, Techung and Nawang Khechog have added their signatures to a petition launched by Free Tibet calling on China to release nine singers jailed in Tibet for songs celebrating Tibetan culture and calling for freedom.
Lolo, Chakdor, Pema Trinley, Kalsang Yarphel, Shawo Tashi, Trinley Tsekar and Gongpo Tsezin were arrested or sentenced in 2013. Achok Phulsung and Choksal were jailed in 2012 (1).
Trinley Tsekar from Driru County was sentenced to nine years in December 2013 - the longest sentence – for his involvement in protests against mining in the area last May (2). The area has seen continued protests and repression since the launch of a “patriotic education” campaign in September last year (3).
Grammy-nominated flutist Nawang Khechog (4) said:
“This is a very important campaign for the release of our brave Tibetan freedom fighters. If China wishes to be a super power in the world, it needs to offer freedom to the people as most of the freedom loving countries do.”
Phurbu T Namgyal who is based in Minnesota, USA (5), 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."
San Francisco-based Techung (also known as Tashi Dhondup Sharzur) produces music in contemporary and traditional Tibetan style and has performed at His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s public events in a number of countries (6).
The petition signed by the musicians was launched in December 2012, and has secured more than 1,500 signatures less than a month since its launch (7).

It calls on China’s minister of justice to release the singers, saying:
“Singing songs in your own language about the issues of concern to your own people is not a crime. China claims to protect Tibetan culture but by imprisoning these musicians it is suppressing that culture, as well as violating the human rights of these individuals . . . I urge you to ensure that all artists in Tibet and all Tibetans are free to express themselves without fear of arrest, imprisonment or any other form of punishment.”
Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:
“All Tibetan singers should have the freedom to sing on behalf of their compatriots and for freedom. No one is more aware of the injustices faced by Tibet’s jailed musicians than their fellow Tibetan artists. Music speaks to and for people everywhere and the range of musicians supporting this campaign shows that. Free Tibet is deeply grateful to Phurbu T Namgyal, Techung and Nawang Khechog and to musicians everywhere for using their voices on behalf of Tibet’s jailed singers.”
For further information or comment, contact media and campaigns officer Alistair Currie:
E: alistair@freetibet.org
T: +44 (0)207 324 4605
Notes for editors
(1)  Further information about each of the jailed singers, including their detention status, song lyrics and videos can be seen at www.freetibet.org/jailed-singers
(2)  http://www.tchrd.org/2013/12/diru-crackdown-three-tibetans-sent-to-prison-for-up-to-13-years-singer-gets-9-years-in-prison/
(3)  Free Tibet news article http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/na/crackdown-continues-driru
(4)  Nawang Khechog http://www.nawangkhechog.com/
(5)  Phurbu T Namgyal http://potalasound.com/
(6)  Techung http://www.techung.com/
(7)  More information about the campaign and its celebrity supporters is available at www.freetibet.org/musicians