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Monk who assisted jailed filmmaker escapes into exile
Phayul[Monday, May 19, 2014 18:02]
Golok Jigme Gyatso
Golok Jigme Gyatso
DHARAMSHALA, MAY 19: A Tibetan monk who had assisted in making of a documentary film criticizing Chinese rule in Tibet has escaped into exile. Jigme Gyatso or popularly known as Golok Jigme arrived in Dharamsala on Sunday, and is currently under the care of the Tibetan Reception Centre here.

Representatives of various Tibetan NGOs welcomed him with traditional well-wishing scarves at his quarter at the Reception Centre.

Golok Jigme was recently honored by the Reporters Without Borders among their list of “100 Information Heroes” on World Press Freedom Day.

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 featured 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.

Wangchen and Jigme traveled to remote corners in the eastern region of Amdo and across the Tibetan plateau from October 2007 to March 2008 filming over thirty five hours of interviews. The tapes were smuggled out in March 2008 to Switzerland, where Wangchen's cousin Gyaljong Tsetrin edited them into a 25 minute film.

Golok 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 was rearrested many times.

Jigme Gyatso was born in 1969 in Golog Serta, in the Kardze region of Kham (in Chinese: Ganzi, Sichuan province).

Dhondup Wangchen currently serving his six years’ imprisonment sentence is expected to be released next month.

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