Imprisoned Filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen’s Wife In US

Arrested, Illegally Imprisoned, Denied A Fair Trial, Tortured: For Making a Film

A little over three years ago, plainspoken businessman Dhondup Wangchen bought a small camera and began interviewing monks and yak herders for his documentary film Leaving Fear Behind. He bravely gave a voice to displaced nomads and everyday Tibetans living under China’s rule. Sadly, after finishing the film, he was arrested and his own voice was silenced.

As a prisoner of the Chinese government, Wangchen:
* endured torture to extract a confession.
* contracted hepatitis B and is denied adequate treatment.
* had the lawyer he chose replaced with a government-appointed one — violating his right to choose his own counsel and denying him access to independent legal assistance.

On December 28, 2009, Dhondup Wangchen was sentenced to six year’s imprisonment for “subversion”  in Xichuan Labour Camp in China, following a secret trial in Xining. His wife, Lhamo Tso, is living under hard conditions since she escaped to India and has had to support not only her four children, but also the parents of her husband.

Care2 petitions helped generate almost 60,000 signatures to both the US and China to call for his release.

This week, his wife Lhamo Tso arrived in San Francisco to begin a three week tour of California to build awareness of the case of her husband and to campaign for his release.

I remember the first time I saw Lhamo. She was almost shyly hidden in the crowd at a temple in Dharamsala India, where monks, nuns and local residents had converged in a candlelight prayer vigil for her recently-arrested husband.

When I saw her last month, she was in Times Square, showing her husbands’ movie, and speaking to an audience (though Lhamo is learning English, she has translators assist her).

She is a tireless mother of four, campaigning for the release of her husband, and the reunification of their family.  This is her first visit to the US.

Watch the complete 25-minute documentary ”Leaving Fear Behind” on YouTube here. Read more about the making of the film here.

Film screenings and Q&As with Lhamo Tso:

Saturday, April 7, 2012: 6:30 pm Moffitt Library, Room 102 UC Berkeley, CA

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 7:00 pm Placer County Library, Community Room, 350 Nevada Street, Auburn, CA

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 6:00 pm Cozmic Café, Upstairs, 594 Main Street, Placerville, CA

Thursday, April 12, 2012 7:00 pm Madelyn Helling Library, 980 Helling Way, Nevada City

Monday, April 23, 2012 6-8:00 pm University of San Francisco, Berman Hall in Fromm Hall, 2130 Fulton Street,  San Francisco, CA 94117

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 5:30-7:00 pm Amnesty West, 350 Sansome Street Suite 210, San Francisco, CA 94104

Click here for tour details and updates.



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Donna B.
Donna B.3 years ago

What a sad story. I just don't understand how people can treat other people this way.. For only speaking the truth. I did sign the petition and I will pray for this whole family. She is one strong woman.

KS Goh
KS Goh3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia3 years ago

i admire the people who've risked it all and lost it all to bring to truth to the world. prison is for criminals, not people like this, who want to help another person

J.L. A.
JL A.3 years ago

May this brave woman's spirit lead to humane treatment and justice for her husband.

Colum N.
Colum N.3 years ago


You have no right to take over Tibet, it's not your country.

Stop brutalizing these beautiful people and their amazing culture with your banal views

Heidi Minx
Heidi Minx3 years ago

Kelly R. -- if you would like to make a donation, here is the information:

"If you wish to support Lhamo Tso's visit and help her continue to campaign for the release of her husband, you can make a tax-deductible donation. Click on Donate General Contribution and under Special Instructions write "Lhamo Tso Fund".
Here is the link:

Diana E F.
Diana E F.3 years ago

Good film. A sign of courage for makers and interviewees.

Alicia v.
Alicia V.3 years ago

Good luck.

kelly rahach
kelly r.3 years ago

Another small heartbeat against the beast that is communist China.


Where can we donate?

Stephanie Hungerford

I hope she can get tons of people to support her. And I pray god will comfort her in her time of trial