DHARAMSALA, 4 Feb: Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan filmmaker and former political prisoner has been nominated for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.
The self-taught Tibetan filmmaker-activist who endured torture and suffering in Chines prison for six years was nominated for the coveted prize by Norwegian MP Rasmus Hansson.
”I have nominated Dhondup Wangchen for the Nobel Peace Prize,” Hansson a member of the Green Party (Miljøpartiet De Grønne, MDG), announced in a Facebook post describing the former Tibetan Political prisoner “a quiet man who defiantly risked everything to remind people and politicians of Tibet and China.”
While the Norwegian biologist, civil servant, environmental activist and a former national spokesperson for the Green Party has said that Wangchen “does not organize huge demonstrations. Is not world-famous. Does not use big words and Can not meet Støre (prime minister of Norway) or Huitfeldt (Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs),” he has described “Dhondup Wangchen “is the memory of the Tibetans’ obvious demands for human rights, and of fifty years of Chinese occupation and brutal efforts to crush the people and culture of Tibet.”
“Dhondup Wangchen is not just a voice for Tibet, but for all who need us to remember, that they have as much right to peace and human rights as we do,” he said and conclude by declaring that “the Nobel Peace Prize is there for us to remember.”
The 47-year-old former Tibetan political prisoner who just concluded his final leg of the European speaking tour(November 2021 – February 2022) has met Hansson earlier in January when he came to Norway to request authorities to boycott the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
“It is a great honour for me to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and I would like to thank Rasmus Hansson for his initiative. This nomination recognises and pays tribute to the peaceful non-violent struggle of Tibetans. It is important that the issue of Tibet is not forgotten, especially as the Olympics spotlight starts to fade,” Filming for Tibet quoted Dhondup Wangchen as saying in a press release after his nomination.
The Tibetan filmmaker was awarded the2012 CPJ International Press Freedom Awards and the 2019 Geneva Summit’s Courage Award for his “heroic efforts to spotlight and sound the alarm about China’s grave violations of the human rights of the Tibetan people.”
Dhondup Wangchen (born 1974 in Bayen, in Qinghai/Tibet/China) was arrested in 2008 along with his monk assistant, Golog Jigme for interviewing more than 100 Tibetans in the remote areas of eastern Tibet on their opinion on the Beijing Olympics, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and about their lives under Chinese rule. The tapes were smuggled into exile and made into a 25-minute documentary film- “Leaving Fear Behind”.
While he was sentenced to six years in prison on December 28, 2009, on the charges of ‘subversion of state power’ and his assistant, Golog Jigme was detained for seven months during which he was severely tortured by the prison authorities. After his release, Jigme was constantly harassed by the authorities and rearrested on several occasions.
The New York Times described the Tibetan filmmaker’s documentary film as “an unadorned indictment of the Chinese government”. It premiered on August 6, 2008, in Beijing, a few days before the start of the Olympics and was clandestinely screened for foreign reporters in Beijing.
The documentary film has been translated into a dozen languages and has been screened in more than 30 countries worldwide.
Dhondup Wangchen, was released on June 5, 2014, after serving a six-year sentence and escaped from Tibet and reunited with his family on Christmas day in the US in 2017.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee who is responsible for selecting the Nobel Peace Prize laureates stated on its website that a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize may be submitted by any persons who are qualified to nominate.
Qualified nominators as revised in Sept. 2016 state that a nomination is considered valid if it is submitted by a person who falls within one of the following categories:
- Members of national assemblies and national governments (cabinet members/ministers) of sovereign states as well as current heads of states
- Members of The International Court of Justice in The Hague and The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague
- Members of l’Institut de Droit International
- Members of the international board of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
- University professors, professors emeriti and associate professors of history, social sciences, law, philosophy, theology, and religion; university rectors and university directors (or their equivalents); directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes
- Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
- Members of the main board of directors or its equivalent of organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
- Current and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee (proposals by current members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after 1 February)
- Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.