Trinley Tsekar

30 November 2016

trinley-tsekar-500x500NAME: Trinley Tsekar
AGE: 24
SENTENCE DATE: 19 December 2013
SENTENCE: 9 years imprisonment
CHARGES: Seditiously splitting the state, attacking policemen, disturbing social order, damaging property

Today we make our final report of the “#ArtIsNotACrime not in Tibet, not anywhere” campaign with the spotlight on Tibetan musician Trinley Tsekar. We once again call on the Chinese government to respect the rule of law and international human rights in cases concerning artists.

In November 2013, Chinese public security officials detained Tsekar in the town of Diru (Chinese: Biru) in the Nagchu (Chinese: Naqu) Prefecture, the largest prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region. According to the Chinese government’s official response to the 2014 United Nations Human Rights Council urgent appeal, Tsekar was charged with “seditiously splitting the state”, alongside attacking policemen, disturbing social order, and damaging properties; all of which were combined with an alleged prior two-and-a-half-year conviction for robbery.

As a result, Tsekar was sentenced to nine years in prison and has currently served 1,086 days at the Diru PSB Detention Center in the Nagchu Prefecture, according to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.

The reasons behind Tsekar’s arrest and imprisonment are related to his album ‘Chain of Unity’, which features songs expressing the “suffering of Tibetan people”, according to the International Campaign for Tibet. In addition, numerous sources report that authorities suspected Tsekar to have instigated environmental protests against Chinese mining operations in Naglha Dzamba Mountain, a location that locals hold sacred, and detained him for his role in the protest as well.

As World Human Rights Day approaches tomorrow, it is important to note that Trinley Tsekar’s human rights have been consistently ignored and undermined by Chinese authorities, as peaceful protesting and artistic expression are rights that should be afforded to all citizens, as opposed to them resulting in a nine-year incarceration.

Art is not a crime.

Watch Trinley Tsekar’s video for ‘Bod la Dro’ (‘Let’s Go to Tibet’) here:

Please help us in securing Tsekar’s release from prison and abolishing the charge of “seditiously splitting the state” by sharing this story with your colleagues and friends, and on your social media profiles using hashtags #ArtIsNotACrime and #FreeTrinleyTsekar.

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and share our social media messages.

Check back with us tomorrow on World Human Rights Day to see how you can help.


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 a “#ArtIsNotACrime not in Tibet, not anywhere” campaign leading up to World Human Rights Day on Saturday 10 December 2016.

The campaign began on Monday 5 December 2016 and is each day spotlighting the case of a different Tibetan musician imprisoned for their art. Freemuse is also calling on the Chinese government to 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

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