China jailed a Tibetan singer for three years over singing Tibetan song

Tibetan Singer Golog Palden. (Photo: TPI)

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Dharamshala — Chinese authorities have sentenced a Tibetan singer from Pema county, eastern Tibet, to three years' imprisonment allegedly for singing a patriotic song about Tibet on a social media platform. After disappearing for months, the Pema County Police informed his family that he had been imprisoned for three years and was currently serving his sentence in the Pema County Prison, without providing any documentation about the reasons for his imprisonment. 

According to a reliable source, popular Tibetan singer Golog Palden was recently sentenced to three years in prison for allegedly singing Tibetan patriotic songs. He was arrested several months ago and, after months of intensive interrogation, the Chinese authorities in Golog Golog prefecture sentenced him to three years' imprisonment in a secret trial.

"Chinese police forcibly arrested Golog Palden several months ago for allegedly singing a Tibetan patriotic song on Chinese social media in early 2023, after which he disappeared. Recently, he was sentenced to three years in prison for simply singing a Tibetan song. Although there is no court in Pema County, the Pema County Police informed his family that he had been imprisoned for three years and was currently serving his sentence in the Pema County Prison, without providing any documentation of his conviction," the source told TPI. Therefore, which court that sentenced and his state of health are not known due to the tight control imposed on the circulation of information about Tibetans to the outside world.

Golog Palden released a song entitled "Missing the Mother" earlier this year and also took part in a singing competition, coming sixth among the entrants. He also took part in an online singing competition and once sang a popular Tibetan song entitled "Messenger of the Kings", the gist of which is, 'I am the messenger of the Kings, to call on the younger generation to wake up from deep ignorance. We have a rich and precious culture, left by our ancestors, which we must protect, preserve and spread, and keep the history of Tibet in our hearts.'

Palden hails from the village of Yotak, Dhidha town, Pema county, Golog prefecture, Amdo, eastern Tibet. He loves singing and playing a Tibetan musical instrument (Dranyen). Last year, he took part in a virtual Dranyen competition organised by Sermo Tso, Monthang, and came sixth position. On that occasion, he was admired throughout Tibet for his innocent character, and his performance went viral. His social media account (Kuaishou: 快手) has 98.5,000 followers, but since March 26, 2023, there have been no updates, such as photos or music, posted until now.

China-Tibet: The one-thing you need to know

Over the past 70 decades, there has been ongoing political repression, social discrimination, economic marginalization, environmental destruction, and cultural assimilation, particularly due to Chinese migration to Tibet which is fueling intense resentment among the people of occupied Tibet.

The communist-totalitarian state of China began its invasion of Tibet in 1949, reaching complete occupation of the country in 1959. Since that time, more than 1.2 million people, 20% of the nation's population of six million, have died as a direct result of China's invasion and occupation. In addition, over 99% of Tibet's six thousand religious monasteries, temples, and shrines, have been looted or decimated resulting in the destruction of hundreds of thousands of sacred Buddhist scriptures.

Until 1949, Tibet was an independent Buddhist nation in the Himalayas which had little contact with the rest of the world. It existed as a rich cultural storehouse of the Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings of Buddhism. Religion was a unifying theme among the Tibetans -- as was their own language, literature, art, and world view developed by living at high altitudes, under harsh conditions, in a balance with their environment.