Tibetan singer Palden sentenced to three years in prison as China intensifies constraints on freedom of expression

A Tibetan singer named Palden has been sentenced on an unknown date a few months after his detention earlier this year in Golog (Ch: Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture,  Qinghai Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo. 

While details on Palden’s imprisonment still remain vague, it has emerged that the singer was apprehended after he shared a patriotic Tibetan song on the Chinese social media platform KuaiShou. He was held in an undisclosed location for an extended period of time before getting sentenced on unknown charges. 

Palden’s incarceration occurs in an environment of ever-increasing restrictions on online expression and discourse leading to punitive actions undertaken against several Tibetans.

Throughout his detention in an unknown location, Palden was denied fundamental rights, including access to due legal process. The glaring lack of transparency in the judicial proceedings has raised concerns about the fairness and legitimacy of the verdict.

In a disturbing pattern, Chinese authorities are systematically targeting Tibetan singers and writers for exercising their freedom of expression online. Tibetans are detained and subjected to enforced disappearance in violation of their fundamental rights. This recurrent phenomenon raises grave concerns regarding the arbitrary nature of such actions and the absence of due process in addressing these matters.

Palden is from Yotag village in Didha town, Pema County, Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. He initially gained popular acclaim for a song paying tribute to his mother that he performed at a singing competition orchestrated by a famous Tibetan businesswoman Menthang Sermo Tso. The heartfelt composition garnered widespread popularity online.

Under the guise of maintaining social stability, Chinese authorities have undertaken intrusive measures, including house searches and scrutiny of personal electronic devices. These actions have had a detrimental impact on the routine lives of Tibetans, perpetuating an atmosphere of repression and heightened surveillance.

The arbitrary application of punitive actions such as enforced disappearance extends even to the slightest deviation from the Chinese party-state’s propaganda narratives.

TCHRD calls on the Chinese authorities to respect human rights and fulfill its obligations as a party to numerous human rights conventions. Innocent Tibetans like Palden must be released immediately without conditions and their fundamental rights reinstated and safeguarded.

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