Write a Letter Today for Dhondup Wangchen

Dhondup WangchenTomorrow is our Write-a-Thon event in St. Louis! Please join us from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Schlafly Bottleworks to enjoy good food and drink and to write a few letters. This event is the last major event in 2013 for the chapter, use your voice and take action now before we get too caught up in the holidays. People like Dhondup Wangchen need our help.

Dhondup Wangchen is a Tibetan filmmaker who documented the skepticism Tibetans felt about the promises the Chinese government made regarding greater freedom in the months leading up to the 2008 Summer Olympics. The film, Leaving Fear Behind, also voiced adoration for the Dalai Lama as well as the Tibetans’ criticism for the Chinese authorities in general. Wangchen was detained on suspicion of “illegal journalism,” which is not an offense under Chinese law.

Wangchen was subsequently held without charge for more than a year. Afterward, he was tried in secret and sentenced to six years in prison. Unless we take action now, he won’t be released from prison until December 2014.

Sample Letter

Please copy the Chinese characters for Dhondup Wangchen’s name if you can. Thank you for time and effort.

President of the People’s Republic of China
XI Jinping
The State Council General Office
2 Fuyoujie
Beijingshi 100017
People’s Republic of China

Your Excellency,

I am writing to ask you to release Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen 当知项欠. In 2008 he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for “inciting separatism” after a secret trial by Xining City Intermediate Court.

While the reasons for 当知项欠’s arrest are unclear, he was first detained after producing a documentary about the opinions of Tibetans on various matters prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Amnesty International considers 当知项 a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. I call on you to release 当知项欠 immediately and unconditionally.

In detention 当知项欠 has been tortured and forced to do hard labor; consequently he suffers from a number of serious health issues. While he remains in detention, please insure that 当知项欠 receives all necessary medical attention.

当知项欠’s experience is emblematic of the discrimination and harsh criminal punishment that Tibetans throughout China experience for peacefully expressing their cultural identity. I call on you to respect, protect and fulfill Tibetans’ human right to enjoy their own culture, to practice their religion, and to use their own language.

I also ask you to take effective measures to ensure that all people in China are able to enjoy their rights to freedom of expression, in line with Chinese constitutional guarantees and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China has declared its intent to ratify in the near future. I thank you for your attention to these concerns and look forward to your reply.

[Your Name]

Write-a-Thon Event Details

Just in case you weren’t yet enticed about joining us.

Who: Our Amnesty International chapter and anyone else who wants to do something good for someone else this holiday season.

What: To write letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience worldwide

When: Saturday, Dec. 7 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Schlafly Bottleworks – 7260
Southwest Ave.@ Manchester. Maplewood, MO 63143

Why: Because people need our help and we can make a difference, and because it’s fun

How: Just show up and enjoy great company, food, and beer (food and beer not free). We’ll provide the paper, pens, and pertinent information on each of the cases.


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