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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

One year after release from prison, Tibetan film-maker still not free

June 8, 2015

Filming for Tibet, June 5, 2015 – Today marks the one year anniversary of Dhondup Wangchen’s release from prison in Qinghai’s provincial capital Xining.  Dhondup Wangchen had served a six year prison sentence for making the documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind”. However, far from being a free man, Dhondup Wangchen has endured a year of surveillance and closer monitoring, with his movements and communications restricted.

Lhamo Tso, wife of Dhondup Wangchen who was granted US asylum in 2012 and now lives in San Francisco, cannot travel to China or Tibet to see her husband due to her asylum status. She said: “I, as well as his aged parents, had hoped that Dhondup Wangchen’s release from prison would bring our family closer together again. But this year has been just as hard as the previous years as we are still separated. My children and I are incredibly frustrated that their father hasn't been allowed to join us in USA.”

Gyaljong Tsetrin, Zurich-based cousin of Dhondup Wangchen and producer of “Leaving Fear Behind” said: “I have very limited contact with Dhondup Wangchen as the authorities are monitoring his every move. I know from my own experience how hard it is upon release from prison and to be in ill health. The authorities apply all kinds of restrictions on former political prisoners. I hope that I will be able to meet him again when he is truly free.”

Dhondup Wangchen has been generally staying with relatives in Khotse in Tibet since his release. He is not recovering his health and is still suffering from his liver problems and high blood pressure which is a constant source of concern for his family and friends abroad.

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