We are outraged to learn that world-renowned Tibetan filmmaker, Pema Tseden, was detained and severely beaten by Chinese security officials following an incident at Xining airport on June 26. Pema Tseden is reportedly undergoing emergency medical treatment at a local hospital, and is set to continue his 5-day detention after his discharge from the hospital.
Pema Tseden, 46, is a ground-breaking and critically acclaimed Tibetan filmmaker whose films have raised the profile of contemporary Tibetan arts from within Tibet. Born to a nomadic family in Amdo, eastern Tibet, he is also the first Tibetan feature filmmaker to establish himself as a Tibetan cultural icon. Tseden’s groundbreaking achievements have garnered him international acclaim and respect, most notably from both Tibetan and Chinese filmmakers.
According to reports from Tibet, on June 25, at Xining Airport, airport officials repeatedly refused Pema Tseden’s request to reclaim his lost hand luggage and called in Chinese security officials who abruptly handcuffed and detained him. During his two days in detention for what police have described as ‘disturbing public order’, Tseden reportedly suffered serious physical abuse, resulting in numerous injuries, and for which he is currently undergoing emergency medical treatment.
Students for a Free Tibet condemns the arbitrary detention of, and use of excessive force against Pema Tseden. This incident is symptomatic of the oppression and discrimination faced on a daily basis by Tibetans living under Chinese rule. We call for an immediate end to Tseden’s detention, for him to receive all necessary medical treatment, and for a thorough investigation into this outrageous incident.
As we continue to monitor the situation, we ask that our members and supporters around the world help spread information about Pema Tseden’s ongoing case within the international community.
Acting Executive Director
Students for a Free Tibet International