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Tibetan Singers Jailed After Releasing Songs About Self-immolation, Dalai Lama

Chinese authorities have jailed two Tibetan singers for two years each following their release of a music DVD including songs about self-immolations and the Dalai Lama, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said on Wednesday quoting exile Tibetan sources.

Singers Pema Trinley, 22, and Chakdor, 32, from Me'urama nomadic village in Ngaba were first detained in July 2012 days after the release of the album, entitled 'The Agony of Unhealed Wounds.'

News of their sentencing in February has only emerged recently. Their music DVD included songs in praise of the Dalai Lama, exiled head of Kirti monastery Kirti Rinpoche, and Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, the Tibetan political leader in exile. The singers' families have not been able to see them since they were imprisoned, and their current location is unknown, according to the Washington-based rights group.

A musician called Khenrap and lyricist Nyagdompo who worked on the album have disappeared, according to the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

One of Chakdor's songs refers to the Chinese government's exploitation of Tibet's natural and mineral reserves, with the lyrics "Our precious minerals/Being deceptively destroyed by authorities/Making this sacred land hollow/It is a force against our will."

The lyrics of several of Pema Trinley and Chakdor's songs have been translated into English by TCHRD.

Tashi Dhondup, a popular Tibetan singer from Amdo, served 14 months in a labor camp after he issued an album of songs in 2009 called 'Torture Without Wounds' containing lyrics that express his pain over the situation in Tibet.

Tibetan singers and writers have been at the forefront of a vibrant literary and cultural resurgence in Tibet since protests against the Chinese government's policy and in support of the Dalai Lama swept across the plateau from March, 2008. Expressions of grief and sorrow to the self-immolations have emerged in both music videos, blogs and poetry, indicating both the significance of the actions as statements, and the developing and resolute sense of Tibetan solidarity and unity across Tibetan areas.

Characterized by some Tibetans in exile as a 'tsampa revolution,' a younger generation of Tibetans is developing new strategies and new modes of expression to counter censorship and political repression, ICT said in a press release.

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