Pema Tseden detained at airport

Pema Tseden
Pema Tseden

29th June 2016

Tibetan filmmaker is currently in hospital with chest pains

UPDATE 12 June 2016 Yesterday Pema Tseden updated his Weibo account for the first time since he was detained and hospitalised. In the post (Chinese), which came 17 days after his arrest, he thanked well-wishers and people following his case for their concern and said that he was feeling better. He added that he is now seeking an explanation from authorities for his detention and treatment by police, and that authorities were investigating the incident.

The Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden is in detention after being arrested by security personnel at Xining Airport in Qinghai Province. Pema Tseden, 46, is currently in hospital with chest pains sustained during his arrest and detention. He will return to detention after his discharge from hospital.

Pema Tseden’s arrest and detention took place on the evening of 25 June at Xining Airport, where he had arrived from his home in Beijing to promote a new film. After exiting the airport building he discovered that he had left his backpack at the baggage collection area. He went back inside and informed a member of staff about his missing bag, but was instead told to leave. Pema Tseden then showed his plane ticket to the staff member to explain that the item was his, but the staff member showed no interest and then contacted the police.

When the police arrived they refused to let Pema Tseden leave the airport and instead handcuffed his arms behind his back and took him to the airport police station. Pema Tseden was interrogated for the whole night before being taking to a nearby detention facility the following morning where he was told that he had been arrested for disturbing public order.

Detention and hospital

According to a friend that visited Pema Tseden briefly at the detention facility, his handcuffs were very tight and he had a number of bruises. The police told the friend that Pema Tseden had been experiencing headaches and chest pains and that he needed to see a doctor.

Pema Tseden was transferred to hospital on 27 June after suffering from dizziness and chest congestion. He is currently receiving medical treatment and is under further observation.  It is understood that Pema Tseden will be detained for five days, two of which he has already spent in detention. Once he has been discharged from hospital he will spend a further three days in detention.

Pema Tseden in custody

Take action

Under Chinese rule Tibetans risk arrest for acts as small as flying a Tibetan flag or calling for the Dalai Lama's long life or return to Tibet. Many of those in detention or prison are political prisoners who have stood up to the occupation. Join in with Free Tibet's Robed Resisters campaign to show solidarity with Tibetan political prisoners.