News and Views on Tibet

Former political prisoner urges IOC to not hold Olympics in Beijing

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Former political prisoner and film maker Dhondup Wangchen will tour 15 European nations ahead of the 2022 Beijing Olympics (Photo/Getty Images)

By Tenzin Dharpo

DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 19: Well known Tibetan activist and former political prisoner Dhondup Wangchen is retracing his steps ahead of the 2022 Beijing winter Olympics as he begins a speaking tour of 15 countries in Europe to urge the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to not hold the Games in Beijing. Back in 2007, prior to the 2008 Olympics in China, Wangchen made the documentary film ‘Leaving Fear Behind’ which showcased the sentiments of ordinary Tibetans under Chinese rule inside Tibet.

On Thursday the activists kicked off his tour in Paris where he will take part in the protest rally calling for the boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympic games on November 20 in the French capital, which is organised jointly organised by five Tibetan Associations in Paris. During his tour, he will meet with National Olympic Committees, government officials, media and Tibet supporters to share his experiences and to gather support for his campaign.

“I am touring European countries to shine the spotlight on China’s continued human rights abuses, particularly in Tibet. In the run up to the 2008 Beijing Games, China promised that their human rights record would improve. Back then, I believed in the International Olympic Committee and trusted them to live up to their promises,” said Dhondup Wangchen adding, “Let history not repeat itself”.

“You see the world coming together, I see a suffering nation, forgotten. Athletes are preparing for the biggest competition of their lives, yet my brothers and sisters are struggling for fundamental rights. As the 2022 Games approach, I want to share with you my personal Olympic oath.

“I do this for the honor of my own people, and all oppressed persons, in respect for the fundamental principles of the Olympic tradition, and to strive to make the world a better place,” he said in his new short film My Olympic Oath.

Dhondup Wangchen welcomed by Tibetans in Paris, France on November 18, 2021 (Photo/Facebook)ot

Between 2007 to 2008, Wangchen and his filming assistant Golog Jigme interviewed and filmed 108 Tibetans from various parts of Tibet, discussing the political situation and repressive Chinese rule in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The documentary film ‘Leaving Fear behind’ extracted from over 40 hours of raw footage was later released worldwide by Zurich-based Filming for Tibet and Dhondup Wangchen’s cousin, Gyaljong Tsetrin.

Dhondup Wangchen and Golog Jigme were later detained by Chinese authorities in March 2008 for making the documentary film. In Dec. 2009, after over a year of being held incommunicado, Dhondup Wangchen was sentenced to six years in prison for “inciting subversion”. His friend and assistant, Tibetan monk Golok Jigme, suffered detention and torture.

Dhondup Wangchen suffered torture and manual labor during his sentence and contracted Hepatitis B in prison. Even after his release from a prison in Qinghai’s provincial capital Xining on June 5, 2014, Wangchen continued to be heavily watched and put under surveillance by Chinese authorities. In Dec. 2017, he escaped to the United States and was reunited with his family.

His documentary film has received acclaim capturing the grassroots Tibetan psyche and highlighted the feelings and emotions of Tibetans under Chinese rule. The documentary received international awards including Committee to Protect Journalists International Press Freedom Award in 2012 and the Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent in 2014.

One Response

  1. The WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) has more principle than the IOC (International Olympic Committee)! The IOC is fine with the mysterious disappearance of a young tennis star in communist China! I am talking about Chinese Tennis Star Peng Shuai who has been taken hostage by the CCP after she posted a long kept secret of her ordeal of being raped by no other than the former Vice President of the CCP Zhang Gaoli! She didn’t even tell her mother about the abuse. Finally, she came out smoking by exposing the sexual assault by declaring, “Even if I am destroying myself, like throwing an egg against a rock, or a moth flying into a flame, I will speak out the truth”. No sooner her harrowing experience was posted on her weibo account, it was deleted and scrubbed clean by Chinese censors. To add insult to injury, like thousands of Ughurs, Mongolians and Tibetans including the Panchen Lama Gedun Choekyi Nyima, she disappeared!!!
    In East Turkistan, there are more than a million Uyghurs languishing in concentration camps and their culture is smothered. In Tibet, the same genocidal crime has been an on-going campaign since 1951 by the CCP. Tibetan lands are confiscated without compensation and when they protest they are beaten to death or incarcerated for life. Hundreds of Tibet’s intellectuals, academics and prominent Lamas and monks have disappeared without a trace. All this means nothing to the IOC who is only concerned about making big bucks even in the face of genocidal crime blemish heaped against the CCP regime.
    By contrast the WTA has come out with sound and fury about the disappearance of Peng Shuai and threatened to pull out all Women’s Tennis Tournaments in communist China, no matter what the financial consequences!!! Now that’s called courage! That’s called moral strength! No wonder it was founded by the likes of Billie Jean King during the height of the civil rights Movement in 1973. Today, it is standing up to the worlds most egregious regime which is hell bent on destroying democracy, export totalitarianism across the world by supporting the likes of Taliban in Afghanistan who still stone women to death, who deny education to girls, who practise amputation of limbs and who treat women as nothing more than toys for men’s sexual gratification! The CCP is the God father of every autocrat in the world including – Putin, Kim Jong Un, Bashar Al Assad, Hun Sen, Rodrigo Duarte, a litany of African dictators and the last dictator of Europe, Alexander Lukashenka.
    The IOC is has been a toady of tyrants from the time of Adolf Hitler and his infamous Nazi regime. Today, it repeating its folly again by sucking up to the monstrous CCP regime. It’s time it has changed its course and throw the shameful association with killer regimes and STOP THE BEIJING OLYMPICS 2022 FORTHWITH!

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