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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

TCHRD condemns China sentencing of Tibetan Filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen

January 12, 2010 -  January 11 2010

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) condemns in
strongest term over China's sentencing of Tibetan Filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen
on 28 December 2009. It is not exactly known where his trial took place;
however, it was believed that he was tried in a court in Xining, the
provincial capital of Qinghai Province, where he had been detained since his
arrest. According to Dhondup's Cousin Gejong Tsetrin living in Switzerland
who help distribute the film, the sentence was announced on 28 December

Dhondup, 35, has been in detention since 26 March 2008, for filming
interviews with ordinary Tibetans on their views on the Olympic Games, the
Dalai Lama and Chinese government policies in Tibet. His film was first
shown to journalists in Beijing two days before the start of the Olympics in
August 2008. In the past more than a year since his detention, he was known
to be in very poor health suffering from Hepatitis-B and has not received
any medical treatment, was denied the right to be represented by the Beijing
based lawyer hired by his family in June last year. Dhondup Wangchen was
formally arrested in July 2008 under suspicion of "inciting separatism and
stealing, secretly gathering, purchasing, and illegally providing
intelligence for an organisation, institution, or personnel outside the

Li Dunyong, from the Beijing Gongxin law firm, was blocked from taking on
the case by the Xining judicial authorities, who informed Dhondup Wangchen's
family that the court would designate a government-appointed lawyer for the
trial, a clear violation of China's Criminal Procedure Law and its
obligations under international human rights law, which guarantee criminal
defendants the right to choose their own defense counsel and to meet their
counsel while in detention. The calls by rights groups and the exile
parliament for fair trial and his unconditional release remain unheeded.

TCHRD calls on the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to
respect and uphold the rights guarantee under the domestic laws and various
international laws such as right to freedom of expression, opinion and fair
trial. The Centre also calls on the government of PRC to earnestly implement
the provisions of the Human Rights Action Plan announced on 13 April 2009
that it will not remain a mere document showcasing empty promises. "The
National Human Rights Action Plan of China 2009-2010" clearly stated that,
"the state is further improving the system of treatment for detainees. The
rules regarding detainees' correspondence, meeting with people,
entertainment, and family visits shall be improved. The state is improving
the sanitation management system for detainees as well as their medical
treatment, and promoting standardized management of detainees' life and
health care." As a matter of urgency, Dhondup Wangchen should be provided
with immediate medical attention as he is suffering from potentially fatal
disease, Hepatitis-B.
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