Tibetan singer arrested at concert

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Gaybay joins at least ten other musicians jailed in Tibet

Another popular singer has been arrested in Tibet, in Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan (1). Gaybay (photograph available, 2) was arrested at the concert hall where he had just performed on 24 May. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Gaybay took part in a concert in Khakog, the capital city of Khakog County, along with a group of well-known Tibetan singers. He performed songs including “Will Be Perished" (video of his performance available, 3) which expresses the importance of preserving Tibetan language and culture. In 2012, Gaybay released an album containing Tibetan patriotic songs that was subsequently banned by the authorities and the singer withdrew form public appearances.

Since 2012, China has jailed at least ten other musicians who have used their songs to express patriotic views or criticise China’s policies. 22 year-old singer Trinley Tsekar was jailed for nine years, allegedly for involvement in an anti-mining protest in 2013. Other sentences range from two to six years, with no information currently available about four of the musicians (4).

Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:
“Music is a vital part of Tibet’s resistance. Singers such as Gaybay not only keep alive a culture that China is trying to erase from the world, but their songs articulate the aspirations, fears and courage of a people who remain proud and defiant after 60 years of occupation.

“In 2012, the world community responded with justified outrage to the treatment of Pussy Riot but musicians in Tibet have no platform or profile. Their protests consist of singing songs and seeking to have their music heard; their arrests, trials and sentencing take place where no media are permitted to go. Their courage deserves the world’s support. ”

Free Tibet’s campaign to secure the release of all of Tibet’s Jailed Musicians has received the backing of Peter Gabriel, Iggy Pop, Thom Yorke and Ed O’Brien of Radiohead, and other leading musicians (4).


Free Tibet campaigns and media manager Alistair Currie
T: +44 (0)207 324 4605
E: Alistair@freetibet.org


(1) Location: Khakog, Kakhog County (Ch: Hongyuan), Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP), Sichuan Province.
(2) Gaybay (also known as Gebe or Gebey) photograph at https://www.flickr.com/photos/freetibetorg/14281558774/
(3) Video of Gaybay’s performance on 24 May at www.freetibet.org/about/political-prisoners-gaybay
(4) Musicians confirmed as arrested since 2012 are: Gaybay, Lolo, Shawo Tashi, Pema Thinley, Chakdor, Chokyal, Achok Phulshung, Kalsang Yarphel, Trinley Tsekar, Gongpo Tsezin and Pema Rigzin. More information available at http://freetibet.org/get-involved/tibets-jailed-musicians