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Tibetan singer arrested for "political" concert

August 12, 2013

August 8 - China has arrested a popular Tibetan singer from Machu County last month for organizing musical concerts with a theme to promote Tibetan language, Lhamo Kyap, a former political prisoner said.

Public Security Bureau officials from Sichuan County arrested singer Kalsang Yarphel in Lhasa on July 14 this year and took him to Chengdu, Sichuan Province, where he is currently held under detention.

Yarphel, 38, is accused of organizing "Khawai Metok" (Snow Flower), a series of concert that took place last year in October and November. The concert, Kyab said, was aimed at encouraging people to speak and write Tibetan. Yarphel had already faced arrests and interrogation a few times in the past regarding the concert and his song called "Tibetans" that he sang at the concert. Authorities accuse him of singing songs that have political overtones.

His song tells the Tibetans to learn and speak Tibetan, and work towards creating unity among Tibetans.

“Tibetans! We must learn Tibetan, speak Tibetan, It is our responsibility to learn and speak Tibetan, Tibetans! We must unite…” a portion of his lyrics says.

Many singers and artistes performed at the concert "Khawai Metok" last year, and video of the concert was distributed widely in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunan Provinces. A month later, the video was banned by the Chinese government.

Kalsang Yarphel is a native of Mukhag Tara in Machu County. Yarphel is married to Tsezin Palmo, and has three children aged 21, 19 and 18.

Yarphel has a sizeable fan following in Tibet, especially in Machu County. He started learning singing at the age of 15 and has released several records till date.
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