News and Views on Tibet

China sentences two Tibetan singers

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DHARAMSHALA, June 13: In continuing crackdown on Tibetan intellectuals and artists, China has secretly sentenced two Tibetan singers to two years in prison for their songs about the ongoing self-immolation protests.

According to Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, singers Pema Trinley, 22, and Chakdor, 32, both hailing from Meuruma nomadic village, were secretly sentenced by a Chinese court in Ngaba, eastern Tibet in February. However, the whereabouts of the two singers, who are also related, remain unknown, the group said.

Trinley and Chakdor were detained in July 2012 from neighbouring Machu region in Malho days after the release of their music album, “Agony of Unhealed Wounds.”

The album contains songs about the current situation in Tibet including self-immolation protests, as well as songs in praise of the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, Kirti Rinpoche (exiled head of the Kirti monastery) and Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people, the group said.

In a release Thursday, TCHRD noted that despite confirmed information about their sentencing, it is still unknown where they are imprisoned.

“Sources said family members of both singers were notified by local authorities through a letter stating that Pema Trinley and Chakdor were being imprisoned at Mianyang Prison in Sichuan Province,” the rights group said.

“However, family members and relatives of the singers travelled to Mianyang at least two times but were turned away by prison officials who claimed that the two singers are not in that prison. The confusion and secrecy surrounding the whereabouts of the singers have added to the suffering of their loved ones who have apparently not seen them since their arbitrary detention.”

TCHRD added that two other Tibetans, who collaborated with the two singers on their music album, have also gone missing.

“The whereabouts and wellbeing of musician Khenrap and lyricist Nyagdompo remain unknown,” the group said.

Chakdor is also a close cousin of Tibetan self-immolator Choepa who passed away in his fiery protest on August 10, 2012.

Tibetan singers, writers, and artists promoting Tibetan national identity and culture have been the target of China’s ongoing crackdown on intellectuals, especially after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In August last year, the exile Tibetan administration submitted a detailed profile of 64 Tibetan intellectuals to the UN Special Rapporteur in Geneva and urged for necessary inquiry into their cases.

Calling the ongoing crackdown on Tibetan artists and intellectuals the “harshest” since the Cultural Revolution, the Central Tibetan Administration said that at least 24 Tibetans intellectuals have been given sentences ranging from few months to life imprisonment for exercising their freedom of expression.

CTA noted that the whereabouts of about 37 Tibetan intellectuals remain unknown, while 12 intellectuals were released on fear of custodial death after excessive torture during detention by the Chinese authorities.

Below are the lyrics of one of the songs in the album ‘Agony of Unhealed Wounds.’

This Is How It Is

Lyrics: Nyak Dompo
Singer: Chakdor

Our precious minerals

Being deceptively destroyed by authorities

Making this sacred land hollow

It is a force against our will

The accomplishments of our past scholars

The five major and minor supreme sciences

Using all means to destroy them

It is a force against our will

The inheritors of the Snowland

The heroic male and female youths

Being murdered by authorities

It is a force against our will

The protector of sentient beings

His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso

Cut off from us by authorities

This is our fate
This is our fate

[Translation by High Peaks Pure Earth]

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