By Tenzin Dharpo
Tibetan singer Gonpo Tenzin after his release from prison on Aug.2, 2018. photo- RFA
DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 6: A popular Tibetan singer who was imprisoned for singing on Tibetan identity and unity has been released from Chinese prison on August 1 after completing his sentence, sources said.
Gonpo Tenzin, 32, from Shachu village in the Septra township, Driru County in eastern Tibet’s Kham region was released after serving three-and-a-half-year term.
His family who went to receive the singer at the prison were not allowed to take him home. Instead, the authorities took Tenzin home in order to prevent grand receptions by their communities for Tibetan figures who had served time for political charges.
Tenzin was detained on Nov. 30, 2013 in occupied Tibet’s capital Lhasa city. He was later charged by a local Chinese court on 15 April 2015 for “inciting separatism”, a blanket offense for Tibetans espousing freedom in Tibet or Tibetan identity under the Chinese rule.
A popular singer, Tenzin’s most prolific song ‘How Can We Have New Year’s Celebrations in Tibet?’ became a hugely popular. The song called for Tibetans not to engage in celebration on the Tibetan New Year with situation inside Tibet worst than ever under Chinese rule. Authorities accused the singer of singing reactionary songs and thereby attempting to incite separatist sentiments in the community.
Gonpo Tenzin is among many Tibetan artists that were prosecuted after the 2008 pan-Tibet protest. Many writers, poets and singers were detained and sentenced as a part of mass crackdown by China inside occupied Tibet.