By Phuntsok Yangchen
Lhamo receiving the award on her husband's behalf/Oct 22, 2013
DHARAMSHALA, October 24: The Oslo Freedom Forum, a gathering that brings together some of the world's leading minds to honour survivors of political oppression and persecution, on Wednesday awarded Dhondup Wangchen with the 2014 Václav Havel International Prize with Creative Dissent.
Lhamo Tso, Dhondup Wangchen’s wife received the award on behalf of him on Wednesday. She urged China to allow her husband to travel out of Tibet and reunite with his family in America, which bestowed them political asylum.
Receiving the award, Tso said the award shows that the sacrifices made by him and his friends are honored and not forgotten.
“We have not met him for the last seven years and there are many other families of political prisoners who have not met with their families for years and I always pray for their reunion,” she added.
Dhondup Wangchen (born 1974 in Bayen, in Qinghai/Tibet) was sentenced to six years in prison on 28 December 2009 for 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. He was released in June this year.
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.
The Václav Havel Prize was also presented to Turkish protestor and "Standing Man" Erdem Gunduz and the Russian punk rock protest group Pussy Riot. Each award recipient will receive an artist’s representation of the “Goddess of Democracy,” a statue erected by Chinese student leaders during the Tiananmen Square protests of June 1989 and share a prize of 350,000 Norwegian crowns.
The Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent, founded in 2012 celebrates those who, with bravery and ingenuity, unmask the lie of dictatorship by living in truth. Václav Havel was chairman of Human Rights Foundation from 2009 until his death in December 2011.