Formerly Jailed Tibetan filmmaker from Tibet testifies in US Congress

Dhondup Wangchen testifies at US Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
Dhondup Wangchen testifies at US Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

(, Feb16, 2018) – After spending six-year years in jail, followed by a perilous escape journey, Dhondup Wangchen appeared before the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China on Feb 14, to testify on his treatment by China and conditions in Chinese ruled Tibet, aspects of which he had captured on video and sent abroad before his arrest in Mar 2008.

Addressing the commission, which was chaired by Senator Marco Rubio and attended by Senator Steve Daines and Congressmen Chris Smith and Ted Lieu, Dhondup Wangchen presented details about his arrest, detention and the heavy surveillance even after his release from prison.

He said he was sentenced on Dec 28, 2009 to six years in prison for “subversion of state power”, with the case against him mentioning projects he was involved with, consisting of printing and distributing books and making the video documentary Leaving Fear Behind.

He said there were thousands of Tibetans like him in Tibet actively involved in the struggle and needed support and partnership from the outside world.

He said the systemic suppression of free press and reporting from Tibet could only be fought with “a systematic counter approach” and urged the US Congress to pass the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2017.

He also asked the congress to pass a Sense of Congress resolution requiring the treatment of the Tibetan people to be made an important factor in the conduct of United States relations with the People’s Republic of China.

And he wanted the US Administration to raise the issue of Tibet at appropriate international fora, including UN bodies, and urged China to release Tibetan political prisoners, including the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.

Dhondup Wangchen was later hosted a reception by the House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi in the Capitol Hill. Those who attended the reception included Representatives Jim McGovern, Eliot Engel, Judy Chu, and Barbara lee. Commissioner Dr Tenzin Dorjee and former Special Coordinator for Tibet Sara Sewell were also present.



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