January 13, 2010

China Tortures “Subversive” Tibetan Filmmaker

With all the recent Buddhist uproar over the comments of Brit Hume, a larger travesty may have been under-reported.  This was brought to my attention by bloggers Nathan over at Dangerous Harvests and Marcus over at the aptly named Marcus’ Journal.  Both prolific bloggers and strong advocates of Engaged Buddhism they have posted an appeal…

Dear —-,

I’m writing to express my dismay at the recent jailings of Dhondup Wangchen and Phurbu Rinpoche, as well as the reported torture of Phurbu Rinpoche. I’m aware that China has been working hard to restore it’s international image, and to be a leading member of the world community. Acts like jailing a film-maker for a positive portrayal of the Dalai Lama, and jailing and torturing a respected religious figure will not aid in this restoration process.

As a Buddhist, I am deeply pained to hear of such injustices occurring, and ask that both Wangchen and Rinpoche be released from prison immediately and that the charges be dropped. I honestly don’t know what can be done to rectify torture, but I call on the Chinese government to set an example by ending all torture practices and publicly vowing to root out all practices that might contain elements of torture in them. My nation, the United States, continues to struggle with this issue. We still have leaders who aren’t fully willing to break the habits of using torture as a means of revenge or as a way to get information out of people. I believe that peace only comes when people and groups start standing up and changing their actions.

The Chinese government can become such an example if it chooses to. You’re place as a respected international leader is at stake. Please make the choice to be a positive example for all of us.



Madame Fu-Ying
The Chinese Embassy
49-51 Portland Place
London, W1B 1JL
TEL: 020 72994049

Ambassador Mr Zhou Wenzhoung
The Chinese Embassy
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel Operator: +1-202-4952000
E-mail: [email protected]

President Hu Jintao
Guojia Zhuxi
People’s Republic of China

Premier Wen Jiabao
No. 9 Xihuang-chenggen Beijie
Beijingshi 100032
People’s Republic of China

Wu Aiying
Minister of Justice
No. 10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Beijingshi 100020
People’s Republic of China
TEL: (86) 10 6520 6706
TEL: (86) 10 8313 9065
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]

For those that have not heard about this, Dhondup Wangchen is a Tibetan Filmmaker that has been in Chinese custody since 2008 and has recently been sentences to six years imprisonment.

As reported by Ecorazzi

Wangchen, aged 35, was arrested with his assistant, a monk named Jigme Gyatso, on March 26 2008 for the crime of state subversion after footage of his film Leaving Fear Behind was smuggled abroad and distributed on the Internet and at film festivals around the world. The 25 minute film documents the lives of Tibetans under Chinese rule, their views on His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the 2008 Beijing Olympic games.

As I have stated before, state religion (or state non-religion) scares the shit out of me as well does China’s usual stellar human rights record.  Chances are, Wanghen is being denied adequate health care while in custody and also reportedly tortured.

If readers of Elephant felt that a “Buddhist Blogger Hottie Contest” was worth almost 3000 hits then I hope that this plea at least doubles that number.  As compassionate Buddhists, Christians, Yogi(nis) and assorted heathens we should be willing to take some time to email the letter above to the address listed.

Watch a bit of the film below.


Deep bows,



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