The Chinese Film Directors Guild has issued a statement demanding an explanation after Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden was hospitalised during a period of detention by Chinese police.
According to the guild, Tseden flew from Beijing to Xining in Northwest China on June 25 and was forcibly taken away by police when he tried to re-enter the airport to retrieve a bag he’d left at the baggage carousel.
In the early hours of June 26, he was taken to a detention facility for five days of “administrative detention”, but was hospitalised two days later with medical issues including vertigo, chest pains and numbness in his fingers.
“We call on related departments to quickly respond to society’s concerns and make the case public, including the reason for the enforcement methods used by the police, whether their procedures were within the rules, and whether there are questions of the use of violence or excessive enforcement,” the guild said in its statement.
Tseden made his debut with award-winning Tibetan-language drama The Silent Holy Stones in 2005, while his last film Tharlo won the Grand Prize and student jury prize at this year’s Tokyo Filmex. He was also recently on the jury at the Shanghai International Film Festival.
His work focuses on the life of ordinary Tibetan people and is not thought to be overtly political or critical of the Chinese government.