Banned Tibetan Singer Disappears

Chinese authorities crack down on expressions of Tibetan religious and national identity.

tibetan-monk-305.jpg Tibetan monks in exile in Nepal prepare for a ceremony marking the fiftieth anniversary of Tibetan Democracy Day, Sept. 2, 2010.

A popular Tibetan singer has evaded a police search for him following his release on CD of a song praising the Dalai Lama, according to sources in Tibet.

“The Chinese authorities are looking for Pasang, but so far he has not been detained.  His parents are worried about his fate,” a Tibetan man said, speaking from the regional capital Lhasa and giving the names of Pasang’s parents as Dawa Tsering, his father, and Dolkar, his mother.

“The authorities blamed him for singing and recording politically sensitive themes in his songs. They ordered the confiscation of all copies of his CD two days after the CD was released,” he said.

Pasang, aged about 21 and a resident of Nechung in the Toelung Dechen county of Lhasa prefecture, was inspired by Tibetans in the eastern regions of Kham and Amdo who sang songs containing “Tibetan themes” and praising exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, the source said.

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 following a failed national uprising against Chinese rule, is routinely vilified by China’s leaders as a “splittist” seeking Tibetan independence, though he says he seeks only “meaningful autonomy” for Tibetans inside China.

The song “Ultimate Hope for Peace,” included in the banned CD, contains imagery linking the Dalai Lama to “a Kalsang flower” and praying for his long life, a second source said, also speaking from Tibet.

‘Good at singing’

Pasang “was good at singing even when he was in middle school,” the source said, adding that the banned CD is the first recording the singer has produced.

“Although the Chinese have banned the CD, Tibetans are still trying to procure it,” he said.

Reached for comment, a Chinese official at the Toelung Dechen county office replied, “Who told you? There was no incident. Don’t spread such rumors.”

Earlier, in March, authorities in China’s western Qinghai province handed another singer, Tashi Dhondup, 30, a 15-month term of “re-education through labor” after he recorded and distributed CDs of his own songs protesting Chinese rule over Tibet.

The singer, an ethnic Mongol, had “violated laws” by singing songs in support of Tibetan independence and of the Dalai Lama, according to a written decision by the Yulgan [in Chinese, Henan] county re-education through labor committee.

Originally reported by RFA’s Tibetan service. Translations by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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