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Rebel Tibetan singer jailed for "subversive songs" released

February 11, 2011

Phayul[Wednesday, February 09, 2011 13:19]

By Kalsang Rinchen

Dharamsala, February 9 – China has released on Tuesday a popular Tibetan
singer jailed for his songs that called for Tibetan independence,
expressed nostalgia for the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai
Lama and remembered the Chinese government’s crackdown on Tibetans
across Tibet in 2008.

According to the Radio Free Asia , Tashi Dhondup, was freed from a
Chinese jail in Xining early Tuesday. “He arrived safely at his hometown
in Yulgan county on the same day at around 7:00 p.m.,” the RFA quoted a
relative of Tashi as saying. “On the way, he passed through Tsekhog
county, where he was well received by the locals with scarves and
greetings.”

“His family, fans, and friends gave him a warm welcome on his arrival at
his home county in Malho prefecture,” said the relative who asked not to
be named.

“So far, the local police have not imposed restrictions on the local
Tibetans and Mongolians for welcoming the popular singer following his
more than a year in detention,” the relative said.

Tashi was sentenced to one year and seven months’ jail term in March
last year for producing a music album with “subversive songs”.

Tashi was arrested on Dec 3, 2009 from a restaurant in Xining, where he
had been in hiding after authorities banned his album titled “Torture
without Trace” in November the same year.

Chinese authorities in central Henan province, where the singer is a
member of the Henan Mongolian Autonomous Region Arts Troupe, had issued
the warrant for his arrest.

Tashi was previously detained in September 2008, according to sources of
the International Campaign for Tibet, and accused by authorities of
including 'counter-revolutionary content' in a song entitled 'The Year
of 1959,' the year of the Lhasa Uprising and the Dalai Lama's flight
into exile. He was detained and beaten for over seven days by police in
Xining.

5,000 copies of his album sold out within a month of its October release
in Amdo region of eastern Tibet, where Tashi is a popular local star.

China launched a massive crackdown on Tibetan artistes, writers and
intellectuals, following the nationwide protests that started on March
10, 2008 in Lhasa and spread across the Tibetan plateau.

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