Saturday, January 9, 2010

Free Dhondup Wangchen and Phurbu Rinpoche

Marcus posted the following call to action, which I think is worth addressing.

News also came out this week that China has sentenced Tibetan film-maker Dhondup Wangchen to six years imprisonment for making a film in which he interviewed Tibetans about their views on living under Chinese occupation. Again, there were reports of torture and Dhondup Wangchen was denied his choice of legal representation during the trial. No Buddhist bloggers, as far as I'm aware, have yet initiated a letter-writing campaign about this.

Instead of arguing with Marcus about his take on the whole Brit Hume saga, I'm going straight to task at hand. Here's my letter and below that, the list of addresses Marcus provided.

Dear ----,

I'm writing to express my dismay at the recent jailings of Dhondup Wangchen and Phurbu Rinpoche, as well as the reported torture of Phurbu Rinpoche. I'm aware that China has been working hard to restore it's international image, and to be a leading member of the world community. Acts like jailing a film-maker for a positive portrayal of the Dalai Lama, and jailing and torturing a respected religious figure will not aid in this restoration process.

As a Buddhist, I am deeply pained to hear of such injustices occurring, and ask that both Wangchen and Rinpoche be released from prison immediately and that the charges be dropped. I honestly don't know what can be done to rectify torture, but I call on the Chinese government to set an example by ending all torture practices and publicly vowing to root out all practices that might contain elements of torture in them. My nation, the United States, continues to struggle with this issue. We still have leaders who aren't fully willing to break the habits of using torture as a means of revenge or as a way to get information out of people. I believe that peace only comes when people and groups start standing up and changing their actions.

The Chinese government can become such an example if it chooses to. You're place as a respected international leader is at stake. Please make the choice to be a positive example for all of us.


Nathan G. Thompson

Madame Fu-Ying
The Chinese Embassy
49-51 Portland Place
London, W1B 1JL
TEL: 020 72994049

Ambassador Mr Zhou Wenzhoung
The Chinese Embassy
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel Operator: +1-202-4952000

President Hu Jintao
Guojia Zhuxi
People's Republic of China

Premier Wen Jiabao
No. 9 Xihuang-chenggen Beijie
Beijingshi 100032
People's Republic of China

Wu Aiying
Minister of Justice
No. 10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Beijingshi 100020
People's Republic of China
TEL: (86) 10 6520 6706
TEL: (86) 10 8313 9065


Algernon said...

It is a good letter.

I'm going to address an issue underlying this post, with all respect for Marcus.

As trivial as the "Brit Fume" might have been, it seems ill-tempered to get down on those who felt differently and thought it was worth writing to the news organization.

Writing letters to the editor, including emails to news organizations, is a healthy practice of citizenship.

Buddhist bloggers don't fixate only on this sort of thing. Buddhist websites and blogs have also given rise to initiatives like the Clear View Project, which raises consciousness and advocates on behalf of monks held as political prisoners in Burma.

That may seem more important to me than "Britgate," but if I were to challenge other Buddhists to adjust their value system and prioritize their issues more like how I prioritize them -- what is that really about?

Anonymous said...


Thank you Nathan. I'll link to this post from my own blog next time I write there, if I may.

And thank you too Algernon. You are right. It was ill-tempered of me to criticize those who wrote to Fox News.

However, I think that the value system of those who will write to Fox News (demanding that a private individual apologise for his personal opinion) but not write to the Chinese government (over the issue of torture of Buddhists) could do with some kind of challenge.

Wishing you peace,


Kyle said...

My letter has been writen and will be in the mail tomorrow!


Adam said...

I wrote mine, and sent emails. Though my letter looks a little bit different......