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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."

Tibetan filmmaker being tried in secret, without his lawyer

November 13, 2009

Tibetan Review
November 12, 2009

The trial had begun in Qinghai’s capital Xining
of the Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, said
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in a
statement Nov 10, although it was not clear what
he was charged with. The authorities had denied
him the service of his lawyer, Li Dunyong from
Beijing. With the trial apparently being held in
secret, serious concerns remain about the fairness of the trial.

"Given that his only crime was to interview
Tibetans for a documentary, his release should be
approved without delay," said RSF. "A prison
sentence would an insult to the spirit of
openness that was affirmed during the Beijing Olympic Games."

The report said Dhondup spoke about his trial in
a letter he wrote from prison to his cousin in
Switzerland. "My trial has started. There is no
good news I can share with you. It is unclear
what the sentence will be," he was reported to
have written. He has spoken of having resigned to
his fate in regard to the case but of being
worried that a long prison term would mean he
would fail to be a more caring son to his aged parents.

Dhondup has also voiced concern about his wife
and four children, who sought refuge in India
after he began filming interviews in Tibet.

Dhondup’s lawyer Li Dunyong, who had been forced
to drop out of the case, had earlier spoken about
their few meetings, during which the former spoke
of having been tortured and of being ill with hepatitis B.

The interviews that Dhondup filmed in Tibet,
along with a monk, were used for a documentary
that was screened during the Beijing Olympics in
Aug’08. It has also been screened at numerous
other locations, including on the sideline of the
UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
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