Tibetan Filmmaker Arrested in China

Tibetan Filmmaker Arrested in China

What you need to know

The detention and possible mistreatment of an award-winning Tibetan filmmaker comes as international politicians appear to be running out of patience with China’s human rights abuses.

Pema Tseden, an award-winning Tibetan director, was reportedly arrested by authorities at Xining Airport in Qinghai, China, on June 25 and admitted to hospital two days later.

In a statement released today, the China Film Directors' Guild expressed deep concern over the incident and suggested Tseden may have been abused by police.

The guild says although Tseden was accused of disturbing public order, no other details of the charges or the arrest are known. It has asked the Chinese government to explain the reason for the arrest and investigate whether the police mistreated Tseden.

According to Agence France-Presse, the film director was taken in by police and is serving five days of administrative detention for scuffling with police over luggage at the airport on Saturday. He was taken to hospital on Monday night after complaining of headaches and chest pain.

Tseden’s work has featured at the prestigious Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, among other international film events.

Unprecedented crackdown under Xi

Earlier this week, the U.K.’s ruling Conservative Party called for a review of that government’s China policy in light of what it described as an “unprecedented crackdown on human rights.”

The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission report, “The Darkest Moment: The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2013-2016,” highlights a deterioration of human rights in China in the past three years.

The commission’s inquiry included hearing evidence from Anastasia Lin (林耶凡), the Chinese-born winner of Miss World Canada who was banned from China because of her human rights work, Bob Fu (傅希秋), founder of China Aid and Tiananmen Square protestor, and prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Teng Biao (滕彪). Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) was one of 30 others to make a written submission to the inquiry.

The report covers a number of human rights abuses: the detention and harassment of human rights lawyers; the use of torture; the abduction and detention of booksellers from Hong Kong; forced organ harvesting; the continued detention of dissidents, bloggers and journalists in China; the increased repression of the media; the use of televised forced confessions; and, the ongoing repression in Tibet and the deteriorating political situation in Hong Kong.

MP Fiona Bruce, who chaired the commission, said every submission to the inquiry “revealed a situation which is the worst China has seen for many years, possibly since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.”

In light of worsening situation, Bruce said the UK government should “rethink its approach to China,” to and “speak out publicly and consistently on human rights.”

It should also “consider ways it can more effectively promote and protect basic rights that are being gravely violated in mainland China and in Hong Kong.”

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole