According to an account provided by a tourist who recently visited Tibet, Yadong, a popular Tibetan singer, is believed to have disappeared since July last. He is the Khampa singer from Chengdu who sings in Chinese besides singing in his mother tongue, Tibetan. He is apparently very popular in Chengdu. His song “Khampa Han” (roughly translated as Brave Khampa) is not very approved by the officials.
In July just before a public performance of his song in Lhasa, a government official gave an anti Dalai Lama speech. Yadong is known to have gone over to his fellow partner in the evening an apologised saying he will not perform after what was being said about His Holiness. He walked out of the performance in the last moment. Last week, TCHRD heard from an unconfirmed source that Yadong was arrested in Chengdu, and his present whereabouts is not known.
This is one of the second known case of Tibetan singer, who was believed to have been arrested and taken to an unknown place after Ngawang Choephel who was arrested while researching on de-phasing Tibetan music and dance. Ngawang Choephel was detained for over a year without any formal trial and is now currently serving 18 years prison term after being charged with ‘espionage’.
“Yadong and several other popular Tibetan singers were called in Lhasa for the felicitation of Hongkong reversion to China in July 1997, since that day Yadong was not seen in public”, says a group of young Tibetan who recently arrived from Derge region of Tibet. Although there are no confirmed reports about his arrest, the majority of the people with whom TCHRD interviewed spoke of his disappearance. Various other rumours that are spreading in Lhasa relates of his death due to a road accident and that of his trip to a foreign country.
“Yadong is known for his melodious voice both in Mandarin and Tibetan. His compositions are mainly related to religion, with many of his songs in praise of the Buddha and the enlightened one. He was once acclaimed as the second best male singer of China during one of the major song competitions. It is believed that he has many Chinese fans from mainland China” says another group of Tibetan who arrived India in early October 1997. Many of his album are also abundantly available in India for sale.
Upon asked about Yadong’s present whereabouts, a Chamdo man said, “I heard people saying that he escaped to a foreign country from prison after he was imprisoned for singing song in praise of H.H the Dalai Lama.” “He is a giant looking man, with a beard and long hair”, added the Chamdo man.
“Yadong is said to be from Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture but he no longer lives in Karze”, said another new comer from Tibet. According to another recent arrival, he is from Derge, Penta.
It is also said that Yadong was a member of the Karze Dance Troupe during which time he was imprisoned for three months for reasons unknown. This resulted in his dismissal from the dance troupe upon his release from the prison.. He even went on an official trip to Taiwan and USA once.
Whatever the case may be it is an undeniable fact that Yadong is not seen in public anymore. His absence is quite conspicuous in context to his periodic appearance in the Television.
Tibetans are being continuously suppressed for exercising their freedom of expression in any form, thereby denying the Tibetan people of their basic right of expression.