Dharamshala: Dhondup Wangchen, the famous Tibetan filmmaker who made the documentary "Leaving Fear Behind", was sentenced to six years in prison at the end of last month. His family members were depressed by the unfair sentence, a report said.
The Chinese Intermediate People's Court in Xining, the provincial capital of so-called Qinghai province, on 28 December 2009 sentenced the 34 year-old filmmaker, to 6 years in prison.
Dhondup Wangchen was detained on 26 March 2008, soon after completing filming of the documentary 'Leaving Fear Behind.' The film collected the opinions of 108 Tibetans on the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the current situation in Tibet, and their hopes for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's
return to Tibet. Several other people involved with or appearing in the documentary have also been investigated by the Chinese authorities.
Wangchen is reportedly suffering from hepatitis B, and is not receiving proper treatment while in prison. Li Dunyong, a Chinese lawyer hired by the family to defend Wangchen, was forced to drop the case. None of his family members were informed of the sentence.
Wangchen's cousin, Jamyang Tsultrim, who fled Tibet in 2002 and received political asylum in Switzerland, said that he was saddened by the unjust sentence. "This sentence for Tibetan filmmaker by Chinese authorities is a sign which reveals that the Tibetan people in Tibet have no freedom of expression. No official documents relating to Dhondup Wangchen's arrest and trial were provided to his family. Last year, even his Chinese lawyer was denied access to his case. I was deeply saddened by this unfair sentence," he said.
Wangchen's wife, Lhamo Tso, is living with Wangchen's parents and four children in the north Indian city of Dharamshala, the residence of exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetan refugees.