The BBC reports today that China has freed Tibetan music scholar Ngawang Choephel who has been serving an 18-year prison term on spying charges. In 1995, Mr. Choephel was in Tibet making a film on on traditional music and dance. When he did not return from Tibet, his mother reported him missing. It took more than a year for China to announce that it had jailed him.
For the past six years, Sir Paul has championed Mr.Choephel's case, supporting the prisoner's mother's attempts to bring international attention to her son's situation. One notable event took place back in September of 1997. A petition signed by Sir Paul, Sting, Peter Gabriel and David Bowie calling for the release of Mr. Choephel was delivered to the Chinese Embassy by Annie Lennox. When Chinese officials refused to meet with her, she left the petition in the mail box only to see an embassy worker retrieve it and throw it in a waste basket. Fortunately, today Mr. Choephel has been released by the Chinese government on a medical parole. Mr. Choephel is now in the United States to receive lung and liver medical treatment before he returns to India.
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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