Commending Dhondup Wangchen upon the occasion of receiving the 2013 Champion of Free Speech Award

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LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION commending Dhondup Wangchen, a self-taught Tibe-
tan documentary filmmaker who conceived and shot the film "Leaving Fear
Behind" as he is honored in absentia by the New York Chapter of the
Visual Artists Guild with the 2013 Champion of Free Speech Award

WHEREAS, It is the practice of this Legislative Body to take note of and
publicly acknowledge individuals of remarkable integrity and character
whose endeavors have enhanced the quality of education in this great
Empire State; and
WHEREAS, Attendant to such concern, and in full accord with its long-
standing traditions, this Legislative Body is justly proud to commend
Dhondup Wangchen, a self-taught Tibetan documentary filmmaker who
conceived and shot the film "Leaving Fear Behind" as he is honored in
absentia by the New York Chapter of the Visual Artists Guild with the
2013 Champion of Free Speech Award; and
WHEREAS, Dhondup Wangchen is a self-taught Tibetan documentary film-
maker who conceived and shot the film "Leaving Fear Behind" to portray
life in Tibet prior to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing; and
WHEREAS, Dhondup Wangchen's colleagues in Switzerland founded the film
company Filming for Tibet to produce the 25-minute film, made from
interviews with Tibetans based on 35 hours of footage and 108 interviews
which he conducted over five months; and
WHEREAS, In March 2008, shortly after his footage was smuggled over-
seas, Dhondup Wangchen was detained and imprisoned by the People's
Republic of China; and
WHEREAS, In March 2008, the same month that Dhondup Wangchen was
detained, he became the first of at least 10 Tibetans who were impri-
soned by Chinese authorities in a crackdown launched on independent
coverage of tensions in Tibet; and
WHEREAS, Knowledge of Dhondup Wangchen's whereabouts came only after
Jigme Gyatso, a monk who had helped shoot the film, was released after
being jailed for seven months; and
WHEREAS, In December 2009, Dhondup Wangchen was sentenced to six years
in prison; in January of 2010, he was denied appeal; and
WHEREAS, Dhondup Wangchen's family was not told of the charges against
him, and they learned secondhand that he had been convicted of inciting
separatism; and
WHEREAS, Dhondup Wangchen spent several months of solitary confinement
that started in March of 2012; he has contracted Hepatitis B in prison;
WHEREAS, Dhondup Wangchen moved his wife, Lhamo Tso, and four chil-
dren, to India before beginning the film, in order to protect them from
reprisal by Chinese authorities; and
WHEREAS, Lhamo Tso continues to travel internationally to campaign for
her husband's release, determined to keep Dhondup Wangchen's case in the
public eye; and
WHEREAS, On March 10, 2011, former Speaker of the United States House
of Representatives Nancy Pelosi called for Dhondup Wangchen's release in
honor of Tibetan Uprising Day; and
WHEREAS, Dhondup Wangchen was named as one of the winners of the
Committee to Protect Journalists' 2012 International Press Freedom
Awards, an annual recognition of courageous reporting; now, therefore,
be it
RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
commend Dhondup Wangchen, independent filmmaker for his contribution
towards human rights and justice, upon the occasion of the Visual

Artists Guild's New York Chapter 2013 Annual Dinner and Tiananmen
Commemoration Event; and be it further
RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to Dhondup Wangchen's wife, Lhamo Tso.


  • 24 / May / 2013
  • 30 / May / 2013
  • 30 / May / 2013

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative


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