What happened? After our last post reporting that the Tibetan blogosphere is quiet, suddenly yesterday it became alive again with new posts. Did High Peaks Pure Earth have anything to do with this? Maybe our friends in Tibet heard we were thirsting for new posts to read. Anyway, we are glad to see bloggers are back!!!
Jamyang Kyi wrote a new post yesterday. It is quite by coincidence that for the last few days we have been wondering about the name and identity of a person who had been arrested. On February 4th 2009, Radio Free Asia reported that a singer named Sogtruk Shebrab (Sog phrug shes rab) was detained for singing the song 2008. This same report was carried on other Tibetan news websites.
It is not clear if two people have been arrested or if there is some confusion over the names. According to Jamyang Kyi’s latest post the person who has been arrested is called Tashi Dondrup. Tashi Dondrup is well known to us. He has produced three VCDs in the past. One of his VCDs was produced with another famous female Amdo singer Gonpo Tso (mGon po ‘tsho). He is from Henan County (rma-lho sog-rigs rang-skyong-khul) from the village of Gser lung. His age is given to us in typical Tibetan style as 24-25 (rtsa bzhi-rtsa lnga).
According to our friends, Tashi Dondrup had cleared the song with the Security Bureau – gong an ju (公安局) (Tibetans often pretend to misspell gung an cud and write sku ngan cus meaning Bad Bureau) and had received their permission to produce the VCD. Since last March, all production of VCD and other materials for public sale has to be cleared with the Security Bureau before public sale.
This is the song 1958-2008 (the video has been made by someone outside of Tibet)
Here is Jamyang Kyi’s 11th February blogpost about Tashi Dondrup*:
Do you know the singer named Tashi Dondrup (bKra shis don grub)?
On the twelfth of this month, after my nephew Dawa Tsering came back home from herding animals, he said, “Aunty! Tashi Dondrup, the singer, has been arrested for singing songs about the Tibetan cause. My shepherd friend has downloaded the song ‘2008’ (bGyad lo dang nyis stong brgyad) on his mobile phone and I also have this song”. I did not take much notice because the singer I know as Tashi Dondrup usually sings songs praising the Chinese. My nephew noticed my disinterest and, eyes wide open, he said carefully, “Aunty, he does not sing Chinese songs, he is a traditional singer”. I thought my nephew is just a twelve year old student, moreover in the village people love making idle talk and saying things without any firm basis. I thought this was another misunderstanding and did not discuss it with anyone.
I arrived in Ziling (Xining) yesterday and I learned that a young boy name Tashi Dondrup of Mongol origin has produced a CD named “Songs of 2008” but he was arrested before distributing it into the market in December 2008. I was told that his song has been posted on the internet and widely downloaded on to cell phones and is now distributed amongst the Tibetans.
Tonight I carefully asked my nephew where his friend got the song by Tashi Dondrup, with eyes wide open, he told me that his friend downloaded it from the internet. My nephew came first in his school examination and I brought him to Xining with me as I had promised him before. At that moment, I realised that sometimes even a child can tell you something worthwhile that needed to be noted. I feel that anything can be heard no matter how far the place is located and remote from the modern city.
I realised that all the people of Tibet are deeply concerned about the news. Let us together salute and remember all the heroes and heroines who either died or remain in prison including the fellow brother Tashi Dondrup forever, everlasting…
*Update 1: At the time of writing this blogpost, a new comment was added onto Jamyang Kyi’s blog by a reader saying:
The musician Tashi Dondrup hasn’t been arrested. Saw him in a shop in Xining yesterday.
*Update 2, 13th February 2009: High Peaks Pure Earth has learned that the singer and mandolin player Tashi Dondrup has indeed been detained as feared. It appears that there are 3 people named Tashi Dondrup and this has created a lot of confusion. Another Tashi Dondrup is a singer who sings in Chinese and has a successful career in China but not in Tibet – this is the one Jamyang Kyi refers to. Finally the third Tashi Dondrup is a record seller who runs a shop – the one that might have been seen by the reader of Jamyang Kyi’s blog.
*Update 3, 16th February 2009: High Peaks Pure Earth has learned that the detained singer Tashi Dondrup has been released. Many thanks to the reader who found this YouTube video featuring Tashi Dondrup.
*Update 4, 25th February 2009: A further comment was posted to this blogpost by someone calling themselves Jiumei on 23rd February 2009:
The Tibetan musician Tashi Dondrup was arrested around 10th August 2008 in Xining while he was staying in a hotel by soldiers wearing uniform. I had a conversation with him before and we are close friends so I know his situation very well. I can testify to this, if you still doubt this news and his arrest please contact me on [XX] and I will tell you the situation truthfully.
*Update 5, 4th December 2009, news of Tashi Dondrup’s arrest in Xining reported in The Times. Please see: http://www.highpeakspureearth.com/2009/12/update-on-tibetan-singer-tashi-dondrup.html