A former Chinese captive Tibetan video activist, Dhondup Wangchen has safely escaped to United States of America according to the press release and arrived in San Francisco in the afternoon of December 25. The Tibetan activist reunited with his wife and children in the United States after more than ten years.
“Tibetan video activist Dhondup Wangchen arrived to safety in San Francisco on the afternoon of 25 December, after an arduous and risky escape from Tibet and the People’s Republic of China.” said the report by the Filming for Tibet website today.
Though the Tibetan activist have not yet met with the press and expected to brief the media in due course of time, he is reported have said that he had the feeling of safety and freedom after reaching the United States.
“After many years, this is the first time I’m enjoying the feeling of safety and freedom. I would like to thank everyone who made it possible for me to hold my wife and children in my arms again. However, I also feel the pain of having left behind my country, Tibet.” said Dhundup Wangchen on his arrival at to San Francisco.
The Tibetan activist was detained by Chinese authorities in Tibet in March 2008 for making the documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind”, Dhondup Wangchen was sentenced to six years in prison for “inciting subversion”. His friend and assistant, Tibetan monk Golok Jigme, suffered from detention and torture, too. “Leaving Fear Behind” was released worldwide by Zurich-based Filming for Tibet lead by Dhondup Wangchen’s cousin, Gyaljong Tsetrin.
Wangchen’s arrest sparked very intensive campaigns across the world in criticism to Chinese oppression. He contracted Hepatitis B in prison and was made to undergo manual labour. Even though he was released from a prison in Qinghai’s provincial capital Xining on June 5, 2014, he remained under strict surveillance with his movements and communications constantly monitored. Dhondup Wangchen was able to successfully evade the authorities and flee from his home area in Tibet and then the People’s Republic of China altogether.
Dhondup Wangchen’s wife Lhamo Tso and their children were granted political asylum in USA in 2012 while his assistance Golok Jigme after escaping Tibet received political asylum in Switzerland in 2015. Today, Wangchen is once again reunited with his wife and children in United States.