Release Tibetan Documentarist, Mr Dhondup Wangchen

Heidi Hautala wrote with Edward McMillan Scott and Eva Lichtenberger a letter to the ambassador of China to the European Union about the case of Mr. Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan prisoner. [:]Among other things the signatories request to ensure that Mr. Dhondup is guaranteed urgent medical attention and that his sentence would be reviewed through a fair and transparent process.


His Excellency Mr. Song Zhe Brussels, 02 December 2010

Ambassador, Head of the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union

Dear H.E. Mr. Song Zhe,

We are writing with reference to the case of Mr. Dhondup Wangchen (Chinese name Dangzhi Xiangqian) who was sentenced to 6 years in prison on 28 December 2009 in the city of Xining, following his arrest on 26 March 2008.

 Mr Dhondup has been jailed for “subversion and incitement to separatism,” after producing the documentary Leaving Fear Behind. Great concerns remain as to the fairness of the court proceedings and procedural irregularities. Reports concerning the secrecy surrounding the hearings are alarming in particular.


During a meeting in Brussels with his wife, Mrs. Lhamo Tso, she informed us of her husband’s situation and raised some worrying concerns about him.

We have learned that Mr Dhondup has been held on occasions in secret detention. Secret detention violates the right to personal liberty and the prohibition of arbitrary arrest or detention, as foreseen by the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights that China has signed on 1998 and thereby preliminarily endorsed the Convention and committed to refraining from acts that would defeat the Convention’s object and purpose.

We are furthermore obliged to reiterate our concerns over the poor prison conditions in China. Reports of ill-treatment and manifold abuse are widespread. Access to health care is one of such concerns.

It appears that Mr. Dhondup is suffering from Hepatitis B as well as a heart condition. We therefore kindly request that you mediate with the central government of the People’s Republic of China and other appropriate institutions and ministries to ensure that Mr. Dhondup is guaranteed urgent medical attention as his condition is believed to be deteriorating.


We would welcome the release of documents pertaining to his medical analysis to reassure his wife Mrs. Lhamo that his health condition is not getting worse whilst in detention. In addition, we also take this opportunity to ask the Chinese government to give permission to Mrs. Lhamo to visit her husband in Xichuan Prison, Xining City, Qinghai Province, where he is being held, with accordance to the Chinese prison laws and regulations which allow each direct family member a monthly visit under prison’s personnel supervision.

Due to severe concerns over the fairness and procedural conduct of Mr. Dhondup’s trial we would also request that his sentence be reviewed through a fair and transparent process. It is of primary importance that his lawyer and family be ensured access to this process.

The EU and China enjoy solid relations and exchange of views on topics of mutual interest. We would be grateful if Your Excellency could respond to the aforementioned requests which are of great concern to us.

We would welcome any information on developments in Mr. Dhondup Wangchen’s case and how our requests would be taken forward under your leadership and advice.

We remain at your disposal for discussing these issues further.

Yours sincerely,

Edward McMillan Scott MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament

Heidi Hautala MEP, Chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights

Eva Lichtenberger MEP, Member of the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the People’s Republic of China