China Jails Tibetan Filmmaker

A Tibetan documentary filmmaker has been sentenced to six years for a film he made that was critical of Beijing’s policies in Tibet. From the Guardian:

Dhongdup Wangchen and his friend Golog Jigme, a monk, were detained shortly after completing Leaving Fear Behind, which highlighted Tibetan anger with Chinese policies before the Olympics. The tapes had already been smuggled out of the country.

The films featured interviews with ordinary Tibetans who expressed their love for the Dalai Lama, their exiled spiritual leader, and said the Olympics would do little to improve their lives. “The Chinese say they have made improvements in Tibet. But we don’t see any improvement at all,” Wangchen said in the documentary. “The truth is that Tibetans are not free to speak of their suffering.”

A statement placed on a website promoting the film said the 35-year-old filmmaker was sentenced on 28 December in Xining, provincial capital of Qinghai, where there is a large Tibetan population. His family said he was jailed for subversion. They found out about the sentencing only recently, Wangpo Tethong, a friend living in exile, told Associated Press.

Clips of Leaving Fear Behind are on YouTube:

More can be seen here.

In related news, China has pulled films out of the Palm Springs Film Festival in protest over the showing of another documentary related to Tibet. From Variety:

State media said Chinese producers were angered at Palm Spring’s inclusion of “The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet’s Struggle for Freedom,” which deals with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who Beijing considers a dangerous separatist.

Fest director Darryl Macdonald said Palm Springs execs had met Chinese government officials who had asked them not to screen “The Sun Behind the Clouds,” but had declined this request.

Watch a trailer for The Sun Behind the Clouds:

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