Qinghai police confirm Tibetan-language filmmaker hospitalized following detention

By Chen Heying Source:Globaltimes.cn Published: 2016/6/29 19:28:48

Police in Northwest China's Qinghai Province confirmed Wednesday that award-winning Tibetan film director Pema Tseden has been hospitalized for hypertension and hyperglycemia after being detained for a dispute over luggage at the airport in the provincial capital, Xining.

On Saturday evening, Tseden broke into the arrival lobby at the airport in the capital of his home province to look for luggage he had forgotten when he left the airport earlier that day. 

According to a statement sent by the Department of Public Security of Qinghai Province to the Global Times on Wednesday, Tseden had a row with security staffers after he ignored their promises to search for his luggage and their attempts to dissuade him from breaking into the area, and the security staff later called the police.

Tseden was taken into custody on Sunday morning and was detained for five days for disturbing public order after a preliminary physical examination in the hospital showed no signs that he was unfit for detention, according to the statement.

Pema Tseden, best known for the films Tharlo and Old Dog, is China's first director to make films entirely in the Tibetan language. His work has won many prizes at home.

Tseden's detention has made a splash online and has even attracted expressions of gave concern from the Chinese film industry. 

"He felt dizzy, with chest distress and numb fingers on Monday while in police custody … and was found to have deep scars and bruises all over his body," self-proclaimed indie filmmaker Derge Tsering said on his Sina Weibo account.

"Pema Tseden was detained and felt under the weather … We call on the police to release the details about the quarrel and detention, fearing there may have been violent enforcement of the law," China Film Directors' Guild said in a statement posted on its official Sina Weibo account on Wednesday.

In the statement sent to the Global Times, the police explained that Tseden had three abrasions on his wrists because of handcuffs. "He refused to cooperate with the police when they were taking him away from the airport," the statement said.

On Monday morning, he was diagnosed with hypertension and hyperglycemia in the hospital without any other symptoms, after he claimed that he felt dizzy and had chest pain, according to the police. Doctors suggested hospitalizing him.

The police added that Tseden agreed to resume his detention after recovering.

Pema Tseden could not be reached by the Global Times as of press time.

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