Tibetan Performer Detained

Chinese police take a singer into custody for his politically sensitive songs and skits.

ganzi-tibet-305.jpg Chinese soldiers patrol a street in the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, March 23, 2008.

Authorities in China’s northwestern Qinghai province have detained a Tibetan singer and actor, apparently because of his performances reflecting the hardships of Tibetans’ lives under Chinese rule, according to a Tibetan source.

Sogtruk Sherab was taken into custody early Thursday by police in Yulgan (in Chinese, Henan) county in the province’s Tibetan-populated Malho (in Chinese, Huangnan) prefecture, a local resident said, speaking to RFA’s Tibetan service on condition of anonymity.

“He had sung several songs and staged many short satire skits on themes reflecting the Tibetan situation,” the source said.

“There is no information about his current place of detention or the condition of his health,” he added.

Among his other performances, Sherab had produced a skit celebrating the election of Harvard-educated Lobsang Sangay as Tibet’s India-based exile political leader, likely angering Chinese authorities.

“People suspect that he was detained because of his daring expressions of Tibet’s current situation through his songs and shows,” the source said.

Calls seeking comment from local police authorities rang unanswered Friday.

Scores jailed

China has jailed scores of Tibetan writers, artists, singers, and educators for asserting Tibetan national and cultural identity since widespread protests  swept Tibet and the Tibetan-populated Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu in 2008.

The arrests came as Tibetans step up their protests against Chinese rule, demanding the return of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

Fifty one Tibetans have self-immolated since February 2009 to back their calls for an end to Chinese rule, with nearly all of the protests taking place in Tibetan-populated provinces in western China.

In August, authorities in Sichuan detained Amchok Phuljung, a handicapped Tibetan singer, accusing him of recording songs praising the Dalai Lama.

And in July, another popular Tibetan singer was detained by Chinese authorities, apparently because of politically sensitive lyrics in his songs, according to a family member.

Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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