News

Imprisoned Tibetan Filmmaker's Wife Calls for his Release in China

As China steps efforts to silence dissent in Tibetan regions and stop the spread of self-immolation protests, activists overseas are trying to draw international attention to the Tibetans' cause.  Lhamo Tso, the wife of an imprisoned Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen is one of those speaking out.

Dhondup Wangchen’s troubles began four years ago while producing a film about Tibetan concerns about life in China.  Chinese authorities saw the documentary as a threat to Chinese rule.

Wangchen shot Leaving Fear Behind in the run up to the Beijing Olympics and was later sentenced to six years in prison.

Lhamo Tso has been trying to raise international awareness of her husband’s case for several years. She spoke recent at rally in New York and expressed fears to VOA about her husband’s health.

“It’s been five years since I’ve seen him. I’ve not heard his voice since March 17, 2008,” she said.

Before Wangchen began filming Leaving Fear Behind, Lhamo Tso fled with their four children to India. Wangchen got his film footage out of China, but was detained shortly afterwards.

“In some respects, we might have expected a longer sentence. He didn’t do anything wrong. What he did was utterly peaceful, utterly reasonable, utterly consistent with exercising his right under the Chinese constitution to freedom of expression, but in China freedom of expression is not freedom of expression or freedom of speech," said Steven Marshall, a Tibet specialist at the Congressional Executive Commission on China.

Tso says her husband's imprisonment wears heavily on her, but she believes speaking out about it is helping him.

“His workload now has been reduced as a result of the intense campaign effort for his release and support from overseas. The more campaigning we can do for a prisoner, the more they will benefit, particularly when the campaign focuses on a specific individual and case,” she said.

China sees itself as a liberator of the Tibetan people and argues that it has brought development, commerce and much needed infrastructure to the region.  But prior to the Beijing Olympics, protests began spreading across the Tibetan plateau. And Marshall says that led to at least 1,200 arrests.  “We are assuming that a lot of these people have been released. These numbers, however, the 1,200 for example, I would be stunned if that number was even half of the total number,” he said.

Under Chinese law, Wangchen is now eligible for medical parole. And that's something his family hopes will happen soon.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wangchuk
April 03, 2012 6:43 AM
Dhondup Wangchen was sentenced to six years in prison for making a documentary. This shows how little freedom Tibetans under Chinese occupation have. His wife & family have been denied contact w/ him. This is how the CCP treats Tibetans.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs