Authorities in a Tibetan-populated area in western China’s Qinghai province have detained a popular singer after he released an album with songs calling for independence, sources said.
Tibetan singer Lo Lo, 29, from Dhomda town in Yulshul county in the Yulshul (in Chinese, Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, was apprehended on April 19.
His detention came months after he had released his album titled, “Raise the Flag of Tibet, Sons of the Snow,” said Lobsang Sangyal, an exile monk at a monastery in South India.
The lyrics of the title track, one of 14 songs on the album, calls for independence for Tibet, the unity of the Tibetan people, and the return of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
“To promote loyalty to the Land of Snows, for the complete independence of Tibet,” run the lyrics of the song, based on an album copy obtained by RFA.
“With a realized understanding of our objectives, raise the flag of Tibet, sons of the snow,” Lo Lo sings.
Lo Lo’s detention follows the sentencing in March of another singer from the prefecture who had recorded songs calling for Tibetan freedom and unity in the face of Chinese rule.
Ugyen Tenzin, 25, was detained in February and later sentenced to two years in prison following the release of his album, “An Unending Flow of My Heart’s Blood,” which contained one song dedicated to Tibet’s exile prime minister Lobsang Sangay.
Authorities said Ugyen Tenzin had also participated in protests in Nangchen, a county in Yulshul.
Qinghai province is among three key Tibetan-populated provinces where tensions have risen in recent months following a wave of protests challenging rule by Beijing and calling for the return of the Dalai Lama.
There have been 35 Tibetan self-immolation protests since 2009 in the provinces of Gansu, Sichuan, and Qinghai, triggering ramped-up security across those areas and in the neighboring Tibet Autonomous Region.
China has jailed scores of Tibetan writers, artists, singers, and educators for asserting Tibetan national identity and civil rights since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.
Another popular Tibetan singer, Tashi Dhondup, was released from jail last year after serving most of a 15-month sentence for recording songs calling for Tibetan independence.
Reported by RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Righden Dolma. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.