Lhundrub Dakpa, a prominent Tibetan singer from Kham Driru County in Nagchu region of Tibet. Photo: TPI

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Dharamshala, India — Chinese authorities have sentenced a prominent Tibetan singer from Kham Driru County in the Nagchu region, eastern Tibet to six years in prison for singing Tibetan songs opposing China's repressive policies and oppression in Tibet.

In May 2019, just two months after the release of his new song 'Black Hat' (Tibetan: Shamo Nagpo), Lhundrub Dakpa, a 36-year-old prominent Tibetan singer from Driru County, Nagchu was arrested in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), according to a source.

For more than a year, Dakpa was held in arbitrary custody and subjected to torture, including rigorous beatings and severe interrogations. In June 2020, a Chinese court in the TAR sentenced Dakpa to a six-year term on charges of "separatist activities."

Dakpa along with another popular Tibetan singer sang in 2013 and released a music video titled: Rise up auspicious (Tibetan: Tashi Yardo) that mentions prayers for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Dakpa was previously known to be jailed in a prison in the Nagchu region, but exact details about his present location and health condition are still unknown. In April 2015, the other singer, known for his patriotic songs, was subsequently sentenced to three and a half years.

The Chinese authorities never stopped targeting the freedom of movement, speech, and religion of the Tibetan people. China has further tightened control over the freedom and livelihood conditions of Tibetans in Driru County in the Nagchu region of Tibet by issuing a booklet in June 2014, outlining two sets of draconian regulations under strike-hard measures. In the past few years, hundreds of Tibetans from Driru County alone have been imprisoned at a prison near Lhasa, the Capital of Tibet.

Over the past 70 decades, there has been ongoing political repression, social discrimination, economic marginalization, environmental destruction, and cultural assimilation, particularly due to Chinese migration to Tibet which is fueling intense resentment among the people of occupied Tibet.

The communist-totalitarian state of China began its invasion of Tibet in 1949, reaching complete occupation of the country in 1959. Since that time, more than 1.2 million people, 20% of the nation's population of six million, have died as a direct result of China's invasion and occupation. In addition, over 99% of Tibet's six thousand religious monasteries, temples, and shrines, have been looted or decimated resulting in the destruction of hundreds of thousands of sacred Buddhist scriptures.

Until 1949, Tibet was an independent nation in the Himalayas which had little contact with the rest of the world. It existed as a rich cultural storehouse — a unifying theme among the Tibetans — as was their own language, literature, art, and world view developed by living at high altitudes, under harsh conditions, in a balance with their environment.

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