Dharamshala – Gonpo Tenzin, a popular Tibetan singer from Driru (Ch: Biru) County in Ngachu region of Tibet was sentenced to three and a half years in prison by a local Chinese court on April 15th, 2015.
Gonpo was arrested in November 2013 on unknown charges, and was kept in detention without any access to legal proceedings for over a year. During his detention, he was brutally tortured and deprived of all political and legal rights.
After constant inquiries from Gonpo's family about the cause of his arrest, Chinese authorities have responded that the singer was arrested for his song 'Where is the New Year in Tibet'. The song allegedly praises Tibetan culture and language, and encourages Tibetan people to preserve their language and culture.
Gonpo Tenzin hails from Shakchu Township in Driru County. He lived with his aged parents, wife and kids at home before his arrest.
Driru County is at the center of several peaceful protests including self-immolation protests against the Chinese government's repressive measures in recent years. As a result of the peaceful Tibetan resistance, many youths from the region were imprisoned with politically-motivated charges, accusing them of colluding with 'exiled separatist forces'.
Monks from these regions have also been restricted from traveling to other places in Tibet for spiritual and educational purposes; instead the Chinese government is forcing them to undergo political re-education or repatriation classes.