Tibetan singer Gepe was arrested on 24 May 2014 in Sichuan province after his performance in a concert attended by thousands.
The concert, organized by a group of Tibetan youth, had received permission from local authorities, and according to a report from Voice of America, the concert was to address the importance of Tibetan language and culture.
Gepe is a popular singer from Ngaba in Amdo. Back in 2012, after he released an album that expresses the pain of separation from his spiritual leader and a strong desire for Tibetan unity, he disappeared for quite a lengthy period of time. Below is one of his songs, “I am coming” with English subtitles translated by Grey Buffalo:
Gepe is not the first Tibetan singer to be prosecuted in China. Since the unrest of March 2008 in Lhasa, Tibetan artists have been one of the targets of political suppression. Tibetan author and poet Tsering Woeser described the series of crackdowns as “the same policies of the Cultural Revolution but of a different name”.
Last December, Thinley Tsekar and Gonpo Tenzin were arrested in Diru County. Both sing about Tibetan identity, culture and language. Thinley was sentenced to nine years imprisonment for “mobilizing anti-government sentiments among Tibetan listeners of his music”. Here is one of his songs available on YouTube:
In April 2012, popular Tibetan singer Lo Lo was arrested after he released an album titled “Raise the flag of Tibet, sons of snow”. The singer was eventually sentenced to six years imprisonment in August 2013. Below is one of his songs via YouTube:
To promote loyalty to the Land of Snows
For the complete independence of Tibet
With a realised understanding of our objectives
Raise the flag of Tibet- sons of the snow
In March 2012, popular singer Ugyen Tenzin was detained after the release of his album titled “An Unending Flow of My Heart's Blood”. Some of his songs are dedicated to spiritual leaders including the Dalai Lama and Karmapa. Below is his album's theme song, “The Heart's Blood Flows”, with English subtitles translated by “High peaks pure earth”:
In 2011, well-known female singer Hortsang Lhalung Tso was detained before attending a Tibetan culture show in Sangchu county with other popular Tibetan singers and musicians. Here is one of her songs on YouTube: