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A Tibetan Detained and Tortured for Singing National Anthem in China

Pema Wangchen was recorded singing the anthem Feb. 13, the fifth day of the Tibetan New Year, in Ogzang Township, Ganze County, Sichuan.

A father of three of was reportedly detained and tortured by security officials for singing the Tibetan national anthem at a public gathering in China’s western Sichuan province.

Video of the Tibetan man singing the banned anthem at a public gathering in what appeared to be a village in the Tibet Autonomous Region went viral on Wechat in April.

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A Tibetan monk in India who knows the man told VOA’s Tibetan Service that Pema Wangchen, a single parent, was recorded singing the anthem Feb. 13, the fifth day of the Tibetan New Year, in Ogzang Township, Ganze County, Sichuan.

Tibet. Wikimedia Commons
Tibet. Wikimedia Commons

After the video surfaced, the man was detained for 15 days before being released in early May.

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Choe Gyaltsen, an exiled Tibetan who is also from Ganze County, says Wangchen, whose pinky finger is now paralyzed, was possibly suspended by his smallest finger during interrogation, during which he was repeatedly told that his “family members are all criminal.”

Buddha painted over a rock wall in Tibet. Wikimedia Commons
Buddha painted over a rock wall in Tibet. Wikimedia Commons

Wangchen’s brother, Palden Trelan, a monk from Ganze Monastery, was arrested in 2008 after he and two other monks marched through Ganze shouting “Long live the Dalai Lama,” according to a Radio Free Asia report in 2015.

Trelan had served seven years in prison by the time he was released May 18, 2015.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA’s Tibetan Service.

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