Tibetan ex-prisoner folds Chinese suppression of culture into documentary film

New York, Sep 23(ANI): Ngawang Choephel, a Tibetan filmmaker who spent six and a half years in Chinese prisons on espionage charges, has made a documentary film, which he says is a testament to his love for Tibet.

"Tibet in Song" tells of Choephel's arrest during a trip to Tibet to shoot a documentary about the impact of a half-century of Chinese rule on Tibetan folk music.

During the 1995 trip, Choephel was stopped by Chinese authorities on suspicion of espionage. He was imprisoned for a year and then eventually sentenced to another 18 years in jail.

Choephel's release from prison in 2002 made headlines and concluded an international human rights campaign that was joined by Paul McCartney and Annie Lennox.

Months later, he moved to New York, where he has lived ever since, and worked to finish the film.

The film, which has won awards at several film festivals around the world, contends that the Chinese authorities have co-opted elements of Tibetan music and dance for their propaganda while otherwise suppressing cultural traditions.

The film is scheduled to play for a week at New York's Cinema Village Theatre before being shown across the country.

The 44-year-old hopes that it will teach more people about Tibet's struggles.

"We have been telling our stories for over 50 years - the same story over and over and over. The Chinese did this to me, did that to me," The New York Times quoted Choephel, as saying.

"How are we going to solve this? Sharing my experience and being a voice for my friends in Tibet. Will it help? I think it will. But will it solve the problem? No," he added. (ANI)

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