Freed Tibetan Singer Barred From Travel, Public Performance

2017-02-17
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Tibetan singer Amchok Phuljung is shown in an undated photo.
Tibetan singer Amchok Phuljung is shown in an undated photo.
Photo sent by an RFA listener

A popular Tibetan singer freed after serving a four-year term for writing songs describing the hardships of Tibetans’ lives under Chinese rule has been barred by authorities from singing in public or from leaving his home town, sources say.

Amchok Phuljung, whose musical recordings before his arrest were widely popular in Tibetan areas of China, was released from Sichuan’s Mianyang prison on Feb. 2 after serving his full sentence.

Authorities have now forbidden him for one year from performing songs in public, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“He is banned from singing at popular concerts, and he is also prohibited from releasing any recordings of his music for one year,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Chinese authorities have also told him that if he ever sings illegal or politically sensitive songs again, he will never be pardoned,” the source said.

Before Phuljung's Aug. 3, 2012 detention after a short period spent in hiding, he had released an album of songs praising Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and exile prime minister Lobsang Sangay, one source told RFA in an earlier report.

Chinese authorities regularly revile the Dalai Lama and Lobsang Sangay as dangerous separatists and harshly punish expressions of support for both men by Tibetans living under Beijing’s rule.

Forbidden to leave

Phuljung has also been forbidden from leaving Amchok township in Marthang (in Chinese, Hongyuan) county, RFA’s source said, adding, “If he has to leave for any reason, he must first obtain permission from the local authorities.”

Chinese police had escorted Phuljung to his home town following Feb. 2 release from Mianyang, preventing receptions and other displays of public welcome along the way, the source said.

“But when he arrived home that evening, he was greeted warmly with songs and offerings of traditional ceremonial scarves.”

“Over the next two days, at least a thousand local Tibetans and residents of nearby areas, including Tibetan writers and singers, came to welcome him and celebrate his release,” he said.

Singers, writers, and artists promoting Tibetan national identity and culture have frequently been detained by Chinese authorities, with many handed long jail terms, following region-wide protests against Chinese rule that swept Tibetan areas of China in 2008.

Reported by Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.

CH. 1: MANDARIN | CANTONESE

CH. 2: VIETNAMESE | BURMESE | KOREAN

CH. 3: KHMER | LAO | UYGHUR

CH. 4: TIBETAN

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