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.
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.
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