URGENT ACTION: Filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen
Update [November 2009]  A  letter written by filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, who has been in detention since March 2008, has found its way out of China to his cousin in Europe. In the letter, the director of Leaving Fear Behind says his trial has started and he is not optimistic about its outcome. Dhondup also expressed his worry for his elderly parents and his uncertainty as to what his sentence would be. It has been confirmed that Dhondup has been charged with ‘inciting separatism’ and could face a harsh sentence. Fears for his health persist following Dhondup’s admission that he has been tortured, as well as contracting hepatitus B, whilst in detention.

This is extremely worrying and concerning news and makes it even more vital to urge the British government  to continue to ask for news and details of Dhondup Wangchen's trial, and to request that an official from the British Embassy in Beijing can visit him to ascertain his health and well being, the conditions he is being held in and, if possible, to observe this trial or meet his defense lawyer. Please write or visit your MP or the Foreign Secretary.  For addresses etc click [here]

► Read the New York Times article on Dhondup Wangchen: China Is Trying a Tibetan Filmmaker for Subversion, by Andrew Jacobs, October 30, 2009  [here]

Leaving Fear Behind, the film
Dhondup Wangchen raised in parliament
Urgent Action background, July 2009



Leaving Fear Behind, the film:
The footage of the interviews Dhondup managed to conduct whilst in Tibet was smuggled out and can be seen in this short but powerful film. The more people who see this film, the more it will help raise the profile of Dhondup Wangchen's case and the issue of Tibet.

How you can help: Tibet Society has produced DVDs of the film that are available for members and supporters to use - you can arrange a local film screening and contact your local press for coverage, send to your MP and MEP, ask your school to screen and perhaps do a project on freedom of expression, watch it yourself and give it to friends.

For a copy (£1.50 to cover reproduction costs and postage), please contact Tibet Society on 020 7272 1414 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . It can also be viewed on the internet here. For further background information click here.



Dhondup Wangchen raised in parliament

Tibet: Human Rights: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 03 Nov 2009

Norman Baker
: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to (a) (i) monitor and (ii) witness the trial of the Tibetan film-maker Dhondup Wangchen who has been in detention in Tibet since March 2008 and (b) establish his medical condition.

Chris Bryant: We are aware of Dhondup Wangchen’s case. We are concerned about his well-being following his continued detention pending a trial, and about the conditions of his detention. His case was raised at the EU/China Human Rights Dialogue in Prague on 14 May 2009, where his name was included on an individual case list. On this the EU side asked for clarification as to the whereabouts and the grounds of his detention, as well as for his release. Most recently, my hon. Friend, Ivan Lewis, Minister of State for the Middle East and the Far East, also raised this case during his trip to Lhasa and Beijing in September, reiterating our concerns for his safety and welfare. The Chinese response was to inform us of the nature of his arrest, that the relevant Chinese authority raised charges against him and that his case was under judicial proceedings. We will continue to raise this case at every appropriate opportunity.



URGENT ACTION: Filmaker Dhondup Wangchen - ACT now to call for a fair trial

[July 2009]  In early 2008, Dhondup Wangchen, left his wife and young family in India and made the journey to his homeland, Tibet, to make a documentary film. With the Olympic Games due to be held in Beijing in August, Dhondup wanted to record how Tibetans living in Tibet felt about their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, the Olympics and their current life in Tibet.

The Chinese authorities arrested Dhondup in March 2008. He was simply interviewing and filming ordinary Tibetans talking of their hopes, opinions and concerns; enabling them to peacefully exercise the basic human right of freedom of expression. For this, he has been held in detention for 16 months and is now facing trial for “inciting separatism”. Dhondup has no independent legal representation; the lawyers hired by his family have had one brief visit and been denied any further access. There are grave concerns about his health as he has contracted Hepatitis B since being in detention and has been without medical treatment. The local authorities will not confirm when and where the trial will take place which gives cause for doubt he will have a fair trial.

How you can help Dhondup Wangchen

Write to our Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, and urge that he requests an observer from the British Embassy in Beijing to attend the trial and he also obtains assurances that Dhondup will …

    • have access to independent legal advice and representation of his choosing
    • receive any medical care he requires
   
will be given a fair and open trial is in line with international fair trial standards.

Please copy your letter to the British Ambassador in Beijing to highlight Dhondup’s case in Beijing.

The British government works with the Chinese government to help establish internationally recognised due legal processes and rule of law in China. We, as taxpayers, support these programmes. We must now call into question the effectiveness of such initiatives and urge the government to ensure the Chinese government does not simply use them as window dressing, but shows real commitment to implementing the basic rights of defendants to have fair and open trials and access to independent legal advice and representation.

As an insight into what little regard the Chinese government holds these programmes, six well-known human rights lawyers have recently had their licences to practice law revoked. At least 14  more are at risk of suffering the same fate as they are await the results of the annual assessment of their licences.



Useful links & addresses

To find out who your MP is click [here]
To write to your MP online click [here]
To find out more about your MP click [here]

David Miliband
Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign & Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH
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Ivan Lewis
Minister of State
Foreign & Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH
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General email for FCO Ministers: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Prime Minister Gordon Brown
10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AH

Madame Fu-Ying
The Chinese Embassy
49-51 Portland Place, London, W1B 1JL

Sir William Ehrman KCMG
British Embassy, 11 Guang Hua Lu, Jian Guo Men Wai, Beijing 100600, People’s Republic of China
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