Free Dhondup Wangchen!

The New York Times reports that Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan filmmaker who was arrested after recording statements from his countrymen criticising the government’s rule of Tibet, is now on trial for subversion. His film, entitled Leaving Fear Behind, was smuggled out of China shortly before he was arrested in March 2008. He has apparently been tortured while in custody, which, unfortunately, does not seem surprising. Now he has written a letter, smuggled out of prison, saying that his trial on charges of state subversion has begun. This is a particularly blatant and unconscionable attempt by the government to stamp out any public discussion by Tibetans of the issues confronting, and everyone who cares about their own freedom or that of their neighbors should call upon the Chinese government to free Dhondup Wangchen. Furthermore, the public should pressure American authorities and other influential parties to pressure China to show leniency in this case. Since Dhondup Wangchen has apparently not been accused of violent acts or political organising, this seems like the sort of case where the Chinese government might bend under pressure.

Please see the take action page on the Leaving Fear Behind site for suggestions on contacting the authorities in China and in your home country.


5 thoughts on “Free Dhondup Wangchen!

  1. pug_ster

    Most westerners don’t see a problem with this as overthrowing or subversion against the Chinese government doesn’t break Western laws. While they are at it, they don’t even see Chinese government as legitimate. They even have CIA slush funds to help them to do it. So who cares about Dhondup Wangchen?

  2. Otto Kerner

    Yeah, sure, but Dhondup Wangchen didn’t do anything other than make a film in which some people express their opinions, and he is guaranteed the right to free speech under the Chinese constitution and all international standards. The first threee sentences of your comment have nothing to do with his case, so your comment basically boils down to “who cares about Dhondup Wangchen?”. As I said, the answer is everybody who cares about their own freedom or that of their neighbors.

  3. pug_ster

    Do you have any details of how Dhondup Wangchen got arrested? From what I heard is that he lived outside of China for a few years, somehow he decided to come to China just in time for the Lhasa protests in 3/08 so he can document it. And now he is a ‘victim’ because he got caught. I dunno, maybe the film portray himself as a poor illiterate farmer, but maybe there’s much more to this.

  4. Otto Kerner

    Is there any relationship between “from what you heard” and reality? What’s your source for this? The film itself is not actually a documentary about the Lhasa protests, is it?

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