(TibetanReview.net, Oct26, 2014) – Tibetan amateur filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, freed by China in June this year after completing his sentence, was conferred one of the awards of the 2014 Václav Havel International Prize with Creative Dissent by the Oslo Freedom Forum on Oct 22. The forum brings together some of the world’s leading minds to honour survivors of political oppression and persecution.
The award was received by his wife Lhamo Tso who urged China to allow her husband to reunite with his family in the USA. The two have not met for the last seven years.
Dhondup Wangchen, 40, was jailed for six years on Dec 28, 2009, after secretly filming interviews with Tibetans across the Tibetan Plateau about life under Chinese rule. The footage was smuggled out of Tibet just before his arrest and made into a documentary film titled “Leaving Fear Behind” in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
The other recipients of the award were Turkish protestor and “Standing Man” Erdem Gunduz and the Russian punk rock protest group Pussy Riot. Each received an artist’s representation of the “Goddess of Democracy,” a statue erected by Chinese student leaders during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, and shared a prize money of 350,000 Norwegian crowns.
The Václav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent was founded in 2012 to celebrate those who, with bravery and ingenuity, unmask the lie of dictatorship by living in truth. Former Czech President Václav Havel, an anti-communist hero, playwright and Nobel Peace laureate, in whose name the prize is named, passed away in Dec 2011.