Dharamshala: A popular Tibetan singer named Kelsang Yarphel, imprisoned for singing songs on Tibetan unity and language, was released from Sichuan’s Mianyang Prison on Monday, 10 July after serving his four-year sentence. His current health conditions are still unknown.
According to TCHRD report, Yarphel, 41, was primarily targeted for his many popular dunglen songs that called for unity among Tibetans and expressed pride in Tibetan identity. Dunglen, literally meaning ‘strum and sing’ is a modern musical form developed in the eastern Tibet region of Amdo.
“Kelsang Yarphel was detained around 14 July 2013 in Lhasa and taken to a detention centre in Chengdu where he remained incommunicado until his sentencing on 27 November 2014. It was his third detention that eventually resulted in a prison term. In 2012, he was arbitrarily detained on two different occasions by the Chinese police but was later released without charges. Around the same time, Chinese authorities enforced a ban on the sale and distribution of Yarphel’s DVDs, many of which were confiscated,” TCHRD reports.
In October and November 2012, at Khawei Metok concert, Yarphel performed a song called Bhodpa Tso meaning ‘Fellow Tibetans’. In the song, he exhorts Tibetans to learn and speak Tibetan, unite three traditional provinces of Tibet and uphold patriotism.
Popularly known as ‘contemporary Tibet’s young nightingale’, Yarphel is a native of Makhug Tara village in Machu County, Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the Tibetan province of Amdo. He is married to Tsezin Palmo and has three children. His parents are Gonpo Tseten and Markho.