Chinese diplomats threaten French journalist over secret Tibet film

Dharamshala: Cyril Payen, a journalist with France 24 network whose documentary Seven Days in Tibet was shot secretly and aired on 30th May, has been threatened by Chinese diplomatic personnel, Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) officials here claimed today.

The film, shot secretly after Payen was permitted to visit Tibet in May, lends credence to the complaints by Dalai Lama and human rights organizations that the Tibetan culture is being systematically erased, said Lobsang, an official of CTA.

Cyril Payen
Cyril Payen

The Tibetan Administrations says that Cyril Payen did get a rare access to enter Tibet in May with a seven day visa. He secretly filmed and interviewed Tibetans in the capital Lhasa, which he says is currently under an Orwellian veil of surveillance, like a city under occupation.

After the film was broadcast of France 24 television network, it was followed by a live debate.

“When Payen was leaving Paris for Bangkok on 3 June, the Chinese embassy in Paris contacted France 24 seeking a meeting with the journalist. As he had by then already left, two embassy officials went to France 24 to talk to its CEO, Marc Saikali. For two hours, they accused the station of broadcasting a mendacious report that was “riddled with errors” and demanded its removal from the website. The station refused,” Reporters without Borders, an NGO that upholds freedom of the press, states on its website.

On arrival at Bangkok on 4 June, Payen received threatening calls and text messages from the officials in Chinese embassy there.

“The embassy then stepped up its harassment of Payen, who received several anonymous calls and many texts. A message left yesterday by a female member of the embassy’s staff was openly threatening. She gave him an ultimatum to attend a meeting at the embassy by today at the latest to explain why he had “cheated” in order to obtain a Chinese visa. She urged him to stop postponing the meeting and to comply with the embassy request, or else “take the responsibility” of his refusal,” Reporters without Borders states .

The journalists organization has criticised the Chinese government’s intimidating tactics saying that “such unacceptable behaviour might be expected from the mafia but not from senior diplomats.”

Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience. He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI. In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.

1 Comment

  • I must congratulate France 24 Network & Cyril Payen for their courage and standing for the truth. What more can you expect from Chinese Govt? Most of the people are ignorant about what’s going on in Tibet. They care only about middle east for Oils! Mind you, Tibet is the largest drinking water reservoir in the world. No doubt we respect Chinese people and its culture. But we were not and we will never be Chinese….WE ARE TIBETANS and let us be Tibetan for the god sake!

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