Two Tibetan singers jailed for four years for singing politically sensitive songs were released this week in southwestern China’s Sichuan province after completing their sentence, according to a local source.
Pema Trinley, 27, and Chakdor, 35, were freed on Oct. 3 and returned to their homes in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county’s Meruma township, a Tibetan living in the area told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“When they arrived in their hometown, relatives, former prison mates, and other supporters gave them a warm welcome by offering ceremonial scarves,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“No details were immediately available concerning the condition of their health,” the source added.
Trinley and Chakdor were first detained in 2012 in Gansu province’s Machu (Maqu) county after producing a CD called “The Pain of an Open Wound” praising exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and Tibetan self-immolation protests challenging Chinese rule in Tibetan areas, the source said.
“They were first held for questioning for six months at the Maqu county detention center, and were later sentenced in 2013 to four years in prison,” he said.
The two men were then taken to Mianyang prison in Sichuan to serve their sentence, which included the year spent in detention before their trial, he said.
In an earlier report, Tibet’s India-based exile government, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) said that prison authorities at Mianyang had refused at first to acknowledge that the two singers were in their custody, “raising their families’ concern about their well-being and whereabouts.”
CTA also identified Chakdor as the close relative of a self-immolation protester named Choepa, who burned himself to death in August 2012 “to protest against the repressive policies of the Chinese government.”
China has jailed scores of Tibetan writers, artists, singers, and educators for asserting Tibetan national and cultural identity since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.
Reported by Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.