Tibetan film maker flees China, takes refuge in US

A Tibetan film maker who spent six years in jail for denouncing repression in Tibet in a documentary, fled China and has arrived in San Francisco, according to the group Filming for Tibet, which organised a campaign to support his work.

Dhondup Wangchen, 43, arrived in California on Monday, "after an arduous and risky escape from Tibet", Efe news quoted a statement on the group's web page as saying on Wednesday night.

"I'm enjoying the feeling of safety and freedom," said the film maker after reaching the US where he is set to join his wife and children.

Wangchen was detained in March 2008 for making the documentary film "Leaving Fear Behind". He was later handed a six-year prison sentence for "inciting subversion", a crime frequently attributed to dissidents.

The documentary, in which ordinary people from Tibet speak on topics such as the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, Chinese politics and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, won the 2012 International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

According to Filming for Tibet, Wangchen caught hepatitis B in prison, and his main assistant in the documentary, monk Golok Jigme, was also arrested.

Wangchen completed his jail term in Qinghai's provincial capital Xining in June 2014, but he remained under strict surveillance with his movements and communications constantly monitored by the authorities.

His wife and children were granted political asylum in the US in 2012, while Golok Jigme managed to flee two years later to Dharamsala in India, the residence of the Dalai Lama.

--IANS

ksk/bg


(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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