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China: Tibetan folk singer sentenced to two and a half years in prison

8 December 2014

On 27 November 2014, the Intermediate People’s Court in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, sentenced the well-known folk singer and music producer Pema Rigzin to two and a half years in prison and a fine of 50,000 yuan (US$ 8,130) for composing, releasing, and distributing music with alleged political overtones. Pema Rigzin, …

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China: Tibetan singer sentenced to four years in prison

2 December 2014

The popular Tibetan singer Kalsang Yarphel has been given a four year imprisonment verdict for belting out songs calling on Tibetans to speak their own language and to forge unity among themselves. Kalsang Yarphel, 39, was sentenced by a court in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, where he had …

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PEN International: Day of the Imprisoned Writer

6 November 2014

15 November 2014 marks the 33rd anniversary of the Day of the Imprisoned Writer. PEN International launched the first Day of the Imprisoned Writer in 1981, with the aim of focusing much-needed global attention on imprisoned, murdered or otherwise harassed writers. Since then, the Day of the Imprisoned Writer has …

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Pakistan: Women musicians speak out about ‘the gender challenge’

28 October 2014

In Pakistan today, women often find themselves unable to pursue music careers because of conservative family attitudes, political insecurity, and gender inequality. But certainly not all women, learned Sabrina Toppa, when she set out to investigate how the country’s ‘gender challenge’ affects musicians. Young, independent women are making a difference …

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China: President delivers directions to artists

20 October 2014

On 15 October 2014, the Chinese president Xi Jinping delivered a speech about the importance of arts to some of China’s leading creative figures. The Chinese state news agency Xinhua quoted President Xi Jinping as having said that “Academic and artistic democracy should also be promoted to allow for full …

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China: Authorities have arrested numerous artists

16 October 2014

Chinese authorities are reported to have arrested at least five artists on the Chinese mainland who have shown support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. The Chinese authorities are determined to prevent pro-democracy rallies in Hong Kong from spilling across the border into the mainland, so they have detained at …

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China: Censored poet and exiled musician sidetrack oppression

10 October 2014

Thanks to Internet connectivity, Tibetan artists inside and outside Tibet are finding new ways to communicate and collaborate. But to the Tibetans inside Tibet, this is at a high risk. By Dechen Pemba   “Music is like the wings of a bird that can fly over man-made borders.” Woeser In …

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Myanmar/Burma: How censorship shaped an artist

30 September 2014

In this 5-minute video film, an artist offers a peek into the underground of Myanmar where artists are taking their non-violent fight for freedom of expression to the streets. “They destroyed our art in a very ruthless way.” A young graffiti artist in Myanmar was censored for using the orange …

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China: Censorship of independent art has never been harsher

30 September 2014

China says it wants to promote ‘culture’ but its censorship of independent art has never been more systemic, reports Oiwan Lam from Beijing, where authorities clamped down on yet another independent film festival in August 2014. By Oiwan Lam Chinese authorities shut down the 11th Annual Beijing Independent Film Festival …

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