NBA player and global activist Enes Kanter Freedom will discuss the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics alongside Tibetan activists this week on the International Campaign for Tibet’s “Tibet Talks” webcast.
The Tibet Talk will stream live Friday, Jan. 21, 2022 at 12 noon EST/9 am PST at www.savetibet.org/live.
Freedom, an 11-year veteran of the NBA and an outspoken champion of human rights, will appear alongside Dhondup Wangchen, an escaped Tibetan political prisoner who endured torture and abuse in China’s prisons after he created “Leaving Fear Behind,” a documentary of interviews with Tibetans in Tibet about their situation and their views on the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Wangpo Tethong, the executive director of the International Campaign for Tibet-Europe, will also take part in the discussion.
Enes Kanter Freedom said: “It’s an honor to speak alongside a courageous Tibetan former political prisoner like Dhondup Wangchen and a leading Tibetan activist like Wangpo Tethong at the International Campaign for Tibet’s Tibet Talks.
“As China’s brutal oppression in Tibet shows, the Chinese Communist Party does not represent the core Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship. With the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics about to begin, my fellow athletes must speak up for our brothers and sisters in Tibet.”
Enes Kanter Freedom and Tibet
Freedom first made his support for Tibet known in a video he posted to social media in October in which he wore a t-shirt with the image of the Dalai Lama and declared that, “Tibet belongs to Tibetans. I’m here to add my voice and speak out about what is happening in Tibet.”
In the video, Freedom pointed out that Tibetans can be arrested simply for owning photos of the Dalai Lama or flying the Tibetan national flag.
“I say shame on the Chinese government,” he said. “The Chinese dictatorship is erasing Tibetan identity and culture.”
Freedom also wore sneakers to the Celtics season-opening game that night bearing the words “Free Tibet” along with an image of a Tibetan self-immolator.
In response to Freedom’s activism, Chinese authorities pulled Celtics games from the Chinese internet.
The Chinese government has brutally occupied Tibet for over 60 years, turning it into the least-free country on Earth alongside Syria, according to the latest rankings from the watchdog group Freedom House.
To create the documentary “Leaving Fear Behind,” Dhondup Wangchen and Golog Jigme, a Tibetan monk and activist, spent about six months making a perilous trek through the eastern regions of Tibet.
The film features interviews with average Tibetans describing, in heart-wrenching detail, the inhumanity of Chinese rule, as well as their feelings about the then-upcoming 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
On Aug. 6, 2008, “Leaving Fear Behind” premiered in secret before a group of foreign journalists in Beijing, just days before the Olympics began.
Although the documentary reached the outside world, both Wangchen and Jigme were arrested for their attempts to exercise free speech. Wangchen was given a six-year sentence, and, after being subjected to close surveillance and mistreatment by Chinese police following his release, he decided to flee the country.
Over the past few months, Wangchen has been traveling through Europe to meet with government officials and national Olympic committees to raise awareness about Tibet before the next Beijing Olympics, which begin Feb. 4.
Wangchen has been assisted in his travels by Wangpo Tethong, the International Campaign for Tibet-Europe executive director who will also take part in the Tibet Talk.