DHARAMSALA, Oct 23: Popular Tibetan folk singer and music producer Pema Rigzin was released from prison today after completing two and half years of imprisonment.
Upon his return home, local Tibetans accorded him a grand welcome; many offered ceremonial Tibetan scarves to express their solidarity and joy.
Pema Rigzin was detained on May 7, 2013 in Chengdu city for belting out Tibetan songs with alleged political overtones. He was held incommunicado until Nov 27, 2014 when an intermediate Chinese people’s court sentenced him to two and half years’ imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 yuan.
Though his family members were allowed to attend the trial, they were denied the right to hire a lawyer for Pema by the Chinese authorities. He was 44 at the time.
Pema Rigzin hails from nomadic camp No. 4 of Meuruma Village in Ngaba County in the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo. He joined the local Namtso Monastery as a child and later continued his studies at the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Serta County.
He began his singing career in 1982 and became well known among Tibetans for belting out songs such as “Song in remembrance of Snow land” and “Tears”. In 2008, he stopped singing songs but established a new recording studio in Chengdu and produced records and DVDs for other Tibetan singers.
On numerous occasions, Chinese authorities pressured Pema Rigzin to shut down his studio.