By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, Jan 7: A group representing journalists in the the exile Tibetan community today issued a statement condemning China's recent sentencing of a Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen.
Despite international pressure and worldwide protests
calling for Dhondup’s release, Chinese court last week sentenced him
to six years of imprisonment.
Chinese authorities arrested Wangchen in March 2008 for documenting Tibetan people’s dissatisfaction about China’s policies, current situation inside Tibet, and the Tibetan people’s call for the return of the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama through a documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind”.
In the statement, the Association of Tibetan Journalists (ATJ) questioned the legitimacy of the court verdict and called on Chinese authorities for a fair and transparent retrial of Dhondup Wangchen.
“Keeping in view the Chinese government’s decision to replace the family appointed lawyer of Dhondup Wangchen with a government appointed lawyer from Xining”, the statement said it doubted if Wangchen was given a fair trial in anyway.
The statement also said it was concerned about Wangchen’s health, citing reports that he was suffering from Hepatitis B and was being denied proper medical treatment in prison.
"If China is true to its words and claims of stability and prosperity in Tibet, it should let us visit Tibet and witness the situation in Tibet for ourselves." ATJ’s president Mr Tashi Wangchuk said in the statement.
In the statement, ATJ also called on the Chinese government for unconditional release of Tibetan writers Kunga Tsangyang
, Kunchok Tsephel
(Chomey website proprietor), Dolma Kyab
and others who are currently languishing in Chinese jails.