By Phuntsok Yangchen
Tibetan filmmaker Golog Jigme Gyatso in an undated photo. (Phayul file)
DHARAMSHALA, November 30: In a strange turn of events which have raised serious concerns over the well being of Golog Jigme Gyatso, a Tibetan filmmaker, Chinese authorities in eastern Tibet have framed murder charges against the missing Tibetan monk.
Jigme was earlier believed to have been detained after he went missing
under mysterious circumstances in September. He had assisted imprisoned filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen in secretly shooting his documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind”.
Speaking to Phayul, Ajam Amchok, a Tibetan living in south India said Chinese officials in Kanlho have made an announcement offering 2,00,000 Chinese Yuan (US$ 32,116) for information on Jigme.
The same announcement alleges Jigme of murder.
“Such allegations by the Chinese authorities have created strong suspicion among local Tibetans that Jigme could have died in prison after suffering severe torture at the hands of Chinese prison guards,” Ajam said citing sources in the region. “People believe that Chinese authorities are trying to shift blame by framing charges against the Tibetan monk filmmaker.”
It was widely believed that Jigme was rearrested after he went missing while returning back from the Chinese city of Lanzhou to Tsoe in Amdo, Tibet on September 20.
Jigme was first arrested in March 2008 from Labrang Tashi Khyil and was detained for seven months during which he was brutally tortured and beaten. He was rearrested in March 2009, during which he was kept in custody for about 40 days. Since then, he has been rearrested many times.
Jigme had assisted Dhondup Wangchen in secretly shooting his documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind” that shed light on the lives of Tibetans in China in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
The film, featuring a series of interviews with Tibetans talking about how China had destroyed the Tibetan culture, violated religious freedom and their undying reverence for the exiled leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, was smuggled out of Tibet and later released worldwide.
This month, Dhondup Wangchen was awarded
the 2012 International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists in recognition of his “courageous reporting” and “risking their lives and liberty to reveal abuses of power and human rights violations.”
He is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for making the film and has been reported in poor health.