A documentary film about
Tulku Tenzin Delek

Created by:
Elinore Burke &
Tsering Ngodup


Sign the English online petition at:

Tibet Initiative Deutschland e.V.
(Tibet Support Group Germany)


"Sentenced to Die" is a one-hour documentary film which examines the situation surrounding the case of Tulku Tenzin Delek. The case of Tulku Tenzin Delek has galvanized the efforts of Tibet Support Groups (TSGs) from around the world. Currently languishing in a Chinese prison, Tenzin has been convicted by the Chinese Supreme People's Court of 'inciting separatism' and for involvement in a series of bombings in western Sichuan Province between 1998 and 2002. However, all his life, Tenzin Delek preached nonviolence and peace and worked tirelessly for the good of his community. Because of his popularity, he posed a threat to local Chinese authorities. Therefore, thousands of Tibetans who have followed his teachings over the past 20 years, as well as numerous international human rights organizations believe that Tenzin Delek was framed for crimes he did not commit.

The film's purpose is to create more awareness about Tenzin Delek's situation as one critical moment in the ongoing struggle for Tibetan freedom. The immediate release of Tenzin is crucial, even beyond the scope of one man's life: his case is an example of the crimes perpetrated in Tibet over the past fifty-five years, and what will continue to happen unless action is taken at the international level.

Independent filmmaker Elinore Burke has teamed up with Tsering Ngodup of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in Dharamsala, India, to document the case of Tulku Tenzin Delek. Because the filmmakers were not physically able to contact Tenzin, his story is told through the voices of members of the Tibetan community living in exile in Dharamsala and Mundgod, India. During a three-week period in the summer of 2004, the filmmakers shot interviews with officials of the Tibetan Government-in-exile, leaders of NGOs and TSGs world-wide. In these interviews each person speaks about Tenzin Delek and what their administration or organization is doing for his case; this is put into context of the Tibetan struggle for freedom. Disciples of Tenzin Delek, former political prisoners, and other residents of Dharamsala were also questioned and in these interviews they relate their experiences as Tibetans driven into exile by the Chinese, adding another layer to the story of Tenzin. In addition to the conversations with these subjects, the documentary includes images and archival video footage contributed by those interviewed and the CTA.

Those who had contact with Tenzin in the monastic, political, academic and artistic communities, and who have contributed to this documentary include members of:

• The Central Tibetan Administration
• Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
• National Democratic Party of Tibet
• Tibetan Youth Congress
• Friends of Tibet
• Tibetan Women's Association
• Students For a Free Tibet
• The International Campaign For Tibet
• Doma Ling Nunnery, Dharamsala
• Tibet Initiative Deutschland e.V.
• Drepung Monastery, Mundgod

Soname Yangchen of Brighton, England, and the Exile Brothers, Dharamsala's very own rock band, have contributed music to this work.