China: Imprisoned Tibetan singer released after completing sentence


Tibetan singer Achok Phulshung was released from prison on 2 February 2017 after completing his four-and-a-half year prison sentence for singing songs praising the Dalai Lama and about Tibetans killed in 2008 during peaceful protests, reported The Tibet Post International on 3 February 2017.

“We welcome the release of Achok Phushung, but note with great concern that it only comes after he served out his full four-and-a-half year sentence,” said Freemuse Executive Director Ole Reitov. “We call on the Chinese government to immediately release all Tibetan musicians currently imprisoned for their artistic expressions. Singing about an alternative vision for society is not a crime”.

The singer was taken into custody in August 2012 and was held in secret by Chinese authorities until his sentencing. Upon being charged with separatism and sentenced, the singer served out his prison term at Mianyang prison in the Sichuan province. Prior to his arrest and imprisonment, Phulshung had released five albums containing patriotic songs about Tibet.

In September 2016, two other Tibetan singers – Chakdor and Pema Trinley – were released from prison after completing their four-year prison sentences for the recording and distribution of an album that included songs about the current situation in Tibet and self-immolation protests, as well as songs in praise of famous Tibetan leaders.

Also in September 2016, Tibetan writer and poet Gangkye Drupa Kyab was re-detained for 15 days, just one day after his release from prison, because his welcome ceremony at his village including him in traditional Tibetan dress, ceremonial offering scarves and the a photo of the Dalai Lama.

Phulshung is one of the many Tibetan singers who has been imprisoned for his art. Musicians Lo Lo, Shawo Tashi, Kelsang Yarphel, Gonpo Tenzin and Trinley Tsekar, are just some of the musicians who remain behind bars for singing songs the Chinese government deems objectionable.

Since 2013, Freemuse has campaigned for the release of Achok Phulshung and continues to campaign for the release of the five other singers who remain imprisoned for their art in China.


Read more about our campaign here


Sources

» The Tibet Post International – 3 February 2017
Musician arrested over singing for Tibet freed after 4 years in prison

» Voice Project – 3 February 2017
Tibetan musician, Achok Phulshung, released from Chinese prison


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» 14 October 2016: China: Two Tibetan singers released after serving out four-year prison terms

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» 8 December 2014: China/Tibet: Folk singer sentenced to two and a half years in prison

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