News and Views on Tibet

China sentences Tibetan singer without trial

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By Tsering Dhundup

DHARAMSHALA, Nov 28: In the ongoing crackdown on Tibetan intellectuals and artists, reports indicate that China has sentenced a young Tibetan singer named Golog Palden from the Golog Pemajong District. Palden received a three-year sentence in Pemajong prison without a trial, as per Tibettimes.

According to the report, months ago, Chinese police in Tibet arrested singer Golok Palden from Pema Jong County on an alleged charge of singing a Tibetan patriotic song. Following a prolonged interrogation and detention, he was sentenced to three years imprisonment through a secret trial.

The source indicates that Golok Palden was denied a legal proceeding for his sentence. The absence of a court in Pemajong County necessitated the court proceedings to take place in Golok prefecture. However, police officials from Pemajong County verbally informed his imprisonment to his family without presenting any legal documentation.

Golok Palden, a resident of Yotak village, Dedha Township, Pema Jong county, is known for playing Dranyen, the Tibetan traditional lute. In a virtual contest organized by Sermo Tso, Monthang, earned sixth place last year. Despite his previous popularity, his Quaishou account, with 98.5K followers, has been inactive since March 26 of this year, with no pictures or music posted to date.

Chinese authorities continue to impose restrictions on Tibetan artists, writers, and intellectuals, arresting and sentencing them on various accusations. Singers Pema Trinley and Chakdor from the Meuruma nomadic village were secretly sentenced by a Chinese court in Ngaba, eastern Tibet, in February 2013. They were detained in July 2012, days after releasing their music album, “Agony of Unhealed Wounds,” which addressed the situation in Tibet, including self-immolation protests and songs praising the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, Kirti Rinpoche and then Sikyong Lobsang Sangay.

In 2020, Tibetan writer and poet Gendun Lhundrup was reportedly arrested in eastern Tibet’s Qinghai province. Known for his interest in preserving Tibetan culture, Lhundrup had released an anthology of poems called “Khorwa” and contributed to the website “Waseng-drak,” advocating for freedom of expression for writers and artists.’

Numerous writers, singers, and artists face long jail terms for promoting Tibetan national identity and culture. In 2016, writer Tashi Wangchuk was arrested for language advocacy and sentenced to five years in prison after a one-day trial in 2018. In June 2020, Tibetan singer Lhundrub Drakpa received a six-year sentence for his song “Black Hat,” released in March of the previous year. Drakpa spent over a year in pre-trial detention without access to legal representation. Additionally, prominent scholar Rongwo Gangkar, missing for over a year, was confirmed detained in early 2021 by Chinese authorities.

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