Dec 14, 2010

Tibet: Exiled Musicians to Raise Awareness for Jailed Artists

Famous Tibetan musicians will tour in the US and India to campaign in favour of Tashi Dhondup and Dhondup Wangchen, who are detained for their support to the Dalai Lama and Tibetans.

Below is an article published by The Tibet Post

Tibetan classical musician Techung and the non-profit Built On Respect are working with other musicians and NGOs to raise awareness for two Tibetan artists illegally imprisoned in Tibet. Well-known Tibetan musician Techung and other local Tibetan musicians in each city; all bands will be performing in various places in US and India, December 2010-January 2011.

Heidi Minx from Built on Respect travels between NYC and Dharamshala, India -- concentrating on positive youth action, she works to fight cultural genocide, ageism, discrimination and raise social and political awareness, working predominantly with musicians to share her messages. Tashi Dhondup was sentenced and jailed for releasing a CD of songs that called for Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet, and talking about the torture and disappearance of so many Tibetans in the last 50 years.

Dhondup Wangchen was also arrested and sentenced for exercising a right under the PRC's constitution, his opinion - and those of other Tibetans, in his film, Leaving Fear Behind.

In the wake of the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the announcement that Liu Xiaobo was made a Nobel Laureate, pressure has mounted against the oppressive regimes in Asia. "My hope is that with a careful coordination with the human rights organizations, we can pressure the Chinese government to release Tashi Dhondup as soon as possible," said Techung.

Techung has planned a tour to rally both the Tibetan and Western communities and is also releasing a song about Tashi Dhondup. Built on Respect is working with, an online community of citizen activists, and the two organizations have garnered over 30,000 signatures calling for the release of Tashi Dhondup.Built on Respect's founder, Minx, has also been promoting a PSA created with US-based musicians, the Street Dogs, to raise awareness with Western youth and musicians.

There is a second initiative planned for mid-December to appeal to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama before the US-China summit, tentatively scheduled for January 2011, calling for the release of Dhondup and Wangchen.

Tibetan musician Techung grew up in Dharamshala, India, where his family and tens of thousands of other Tibetans resettled from their native Tibet. He toured with TIPA in its first international tour as a leading child actor in 1975-76 and for many years afterward. After emigrating to the U.S., he co-founded the San Francisco-based Chaksampa Tibetan Dance and Opera Company in 1989. From 1995-97 Techung worked for the Milarepa Fund in San Francisco who organized the Tibetan Freedom Concerts worldwide.

Built on Respect has been a mantra for alt-culture personality Heidi for years. It continues to be her driving mission, "Treating people with respect, and sewing the seeds of fairness creates solidarity." Minx has started Built On Respect to help Tibetan refugees in exile.