NAME: Lo Lo
SENTENCE DATE: 23 February 2013
SENTENCE: 6 years imprisonment
TIME SERVED TO DATE: 1,381 days
CHARGE: Seditiously splitting the state
As part of our “#ArtIsNotACrime – not in Tibet, not anywhere” campaign, today we are spotlighting the case of Tibetan musician Lo Lo and are calling for his immediate release.
Lo Lo was first arrested on 19 April 2012 in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the southwestern Qinghai province in China. According to the Chinese government’s official response to the 2014 United Nations Human Rights Council urgent appeal, Lo Lo was detained on suspicion of “seditiously splitting the state” and has currently spent 1,386 days in prison.
In 2013, a year after his initial arrest, Lo Lo was sentenced on the same charge and is currently serving a six-year prison sentence with three years deprivation of political rights. According to the International Campaign for Tibet in 2015, Lo Lo is reported to be suffering severe health problems stemming from being mistreated in prison. He is currently believed to be held in a prison in Qinghai.
Before he came to the attention of Chinese authorities, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy notes that Lo Lo had released his album ‘Raise the Tibetan Flag, Children of the Snowland’, featuring songs concerning the prohibited subjects of Tibetan independence from China and the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet.
In association with Lo Lo and his album, a 33-year-old monk and writer, Lobsang Jinpa, was also sentenced in 2013 to a five-year imprisonment sentence with three years deprivation of political rights for contributing lyrics on Lo Lo’s album. Jinpa – a monk at the Zilkar Monastery in Tibet – wrote lyrics on the subject of the 1995 disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama, a six-year-old boy who was named and recognized by the 14th and current Dalai Lama. The Panchen Lama is the second highest ranking monk in the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Jinpa was released from prison on 30 October 2017 after serving his full sentence.
Watch Lo Lo’s video, with English subtitles, for his album’s title song ‘Raise the Tibetan Flag, Children of the Snowland’ here:
Please help us in raising awareness on Lo Lo’s case and securing his release from prison by sharing this story with your colleagues and friends, and on your social media profiles by using hashtags #ArtIsNotACrime and #FreeLoLoTibet.
Tomorrow, we will report on the case of Tibetan singer Shawo Tashi, so be sure to return and read his story.
The government of China is currently holding at least five Tibetan musicians in prison for nothing more than singing and writing songs. In the run up to World Human Rights Day on 10 December 2016, we must remind China that art is not a crime and that musicians Lo Lo, Shawo Tashi, Kelsang Yarphel, Gonpo Tenzin and Trinley Tsekar, and all artists, have the human right and freedom to artistically express themselves, including the right to sing about their culture and identity, without fear of punishment. Sadly, some of these artists are also reported to suffer from severe health problems stemming from mistreatment in Chinese custody.
To raise awareness of these artists and show that art is not a crime, Freemuse is running its “#ArtIsNotACrime not in Tibet, not anywhere” campaign leading up to World Human Rights Day.
Starting today, we will spotlight the case of a different musician imprisoned for their art each day, and will be calling on the Chinese government to release these imprisoned artists, abolish the arbitrary charge of “seditiously splitting the state”, respect the rule of law and international human rights, and provide transparency in its reporting to international bodies on imprisoned artists.
“Imprisoning Tibetan artists is a grave violation of their human right to artistic freedom. We call on the Chinese government to release these musicians immediately, as well as any other artists it continues to hold arbitrarily on vague charges.” – Ole Reitov, Freemuse Executive Director
Visit freemuse.org/tibet for more