Tibetan documentary filmmaker travels to Denmark to push for boycott of Winter Olympics


Standing outside the Chinese Embassy in Copenhagen, Dhondup Wangchen holds a sign saying “No to Beijing 2022”. His next destination is Sweden.

Tibetan documentary filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen travels across Europe to publicize China as the host country of the Olympic Games and he recently visited Denmark, R&D news reports.

Dhondup Wangchen is a system critic who, prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, made a documentary depicting the suffering of Tibetans during the Chinese regime’s preparations for the Games. According to his own statement, he was kidnapped, tortured and imprisoned by the Chinese government for the film, but has since managed to escape the country.

Now, 14 years after the initial protest, he is once again trying to get his point across. As a Tibetan, “he has a responsibility to be loud,” he says. No less than 15 European nations are the destinations of his trip, which began in November, and meeting politicians, athletes and diplomats have become part of the daily life of the Tibetan. Meetings, he comes in with a clear message.

“I would call for a diplomatic boycott. European nations should unite and stand united against China, ”he told DR News.

“They (China) don’t need to be the host at all. In 2008, China had the opportunity to prove that it respects human rights and individual freedom, but in In the months leading up to the Olympics, a lot of people were killed. People I know too, “he said.

As a precondition for hosting Beijing in 2008, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) demanded that the Chinese government strengthen respect for human rights in the country. A promise that they do not have, according to the documentary maker, to keep.

“I believed in the IOC and that China would improve. But in Tibet, people were still being killed and I feared that Tibetan culture would remain eradicated, ”he said.

Because even before Beijing got the organization of the 2008 Games, there was unrest in Tibet and it only got worse with regard to the organization of the Games. More and more peaceful protesters have “disappeared” and have never been found since, said Dhondup Wangchen.

“Therefore, it breaks my heart that Beijing is allowed to host an Olympics again,” he said.

The documentary that cost Dhondup Wangchen his freedom

In the year leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Dhondup Wangchen interviewed 108 Tibetans and recorded his documentary “Leaving Fear Behind” which criticized Beijing for hosting the Olympics. Although he knew it could cause him problems, he felt responsible for showing how bad it was in his home country of Tibet.

“We weren’t afraid. When we made the movie we thought they could put us in jail or kill us. We thought we had to show that Tibet was being eradicated, ”he said.

During the riots in Tibet in March 2008, he was arrested by Chinese police for encouraging the weakening of Chinese state power. Just days before the start of the Beijing Olympics on August 8, 2008, his documentary was smuggled out of Tibet and aired.

Dhondup Wangchen was at that time still detained and according to his own statements, during his detention he was placed in a dark room where brutal methods were used to get him to confess to his alleged crime.

“When I was kidnapped, I was given a bag over my head, handcuffed and placed on a wooden chair, where I was not allowed to sleep or eat for seven days. I lived in constant fear there, ”he says.

When he was subsequently jailed on the same charge, the harsh treatment continued. The Chinese prison was a kind of labor camp, says Dhondup Wangchen.

“We worked 15 to 16 hours a day and had to make military clothing for countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. If you did not do it correctly, you were punished with an electric shock in the mouth or under the arms.

Despite pressure from several human rights organizations, Dhondup Wangchen remained in captivity for six years. After his release, he was still under surveillance by Chinese authorities, and he explains that it still looked a lot like a prison.

In 2017, however, with financial assistance from international human rights organizations, he managed to escape Tibet to the United States, where he was granted political asylum and now lives in exile with his. family.


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