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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Dhondup Wangchen

 

Dhondup Wangchen is a self-taught Tibetan documentary filmmaker who conceived and shot the film "Leaving Fear Behind" to portray life in Tibet in advance of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.  Shortly after his footage was smuggled overseas, Wangchen disappeared into Chinese detention.  His colleagues in Switzerland founded the film company Filming for Tibet to produce the 25-minute film from interviews with Tibetans that Wangchen had taped.  In March 2008, the same month that Wangchen was detained, peaceful Tibetan protests deteriorated into clashes with Han Chinese residents of Lhasa, capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, and Tibetan areas of western China.  Wangchen became the first of at least 10 Tibetans who were imprisoned as Chinese authorities launched a crackdown on independent coverage of tensions in Tibet.  Knowledge of Wangchen's whereabouts came only after Jigme Gyatso, a monk who had helped shoot the film, was released after being jailed for seven months.  A year later, in December 2009, Wangchen was sentenced to six years in prison.  In January 2010, he was denied appeal.

Dhondup Wangchen has been RELEASED.