Alternative BRICS Summit in Dharamsala

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Press Release: For Immediate Release

Alternative BRICS Summit in Dharamsala

Tibet Campaigners demand action from BRICS leaders as Xi Jinping attends first summit as China’s Head of State

Photos of the campaign can be viewed here:
Tibet at BRICS Summit 2013

25 March 2013

Press contacts:
Tashi Dolma, Tibetan Women’s Association: Tibetan, Hindi +91 9459553943
Dorjee Tseten, Students for a Free Tibet – India: English, Tibetan +91 9911 521 009

Dharamshala: As government leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and China prepare to meet for the BRICS Summit in Durban, Tibetans demand action for Tibet as China’s new President Xi Jinping travels to Durban for his first summit as Head of State, and highlight Xi Jinping’s Tibet Challenge.

A two-day summit starting tomorrow will witness a historic meeting of Xi Jinping with government leaders from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa in Durban, South Africa, while the self-immolations in occupied Tibet – now totaling at least 110 – show no sign of abating. “In the months since Xi Jinping was elevated to the top of the Chinese Communist Party, there has been an increase in China’s hardline response to dissent in Tibet, with a heightened military presence, mass detentions and a campaign to “criminalize” family members of self-immolation protesters.” said Tashi Dolma, President, Tibetan Women’s Association. “These actions and China’s anti-Dalai Lama propaganda are exacerbating tensions in Tibet. Through this campaign we will explain the nature of Xi Jinping’s “Tibet Challenge”, and call on BRICS leaders to act collectively and with principle, to press Xi to lift China’s crackdown and urgently review China’s policies in Tibet.”

“Tibet is Xi Jinping’s number one challenge and he has to address the legitimate grievances of Tibetans living in occupied Tibet and bring about an end to the tragic wave of self-immolations.” said Dorjee Tseten of Students for a Free Tibet India. “Recently Indian MP Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to raise the ongoing critical self-immolation issue inside Tibet with his counterpart Xi Jinping at the BRICS summit. This is also a challenge to other BRICS leaders not to shy away from this reality, and press President Xi to use his new position to find a just and lasting solution for Tibet.”

Tibetans and supporters from the BRICS nations have issued a joint statement urging their respective government to discuss the Tibet issue with Xi Jinping. We received news of another self-immolation yesterday by a 30 years old mother of four. Tibetans inside Tibet are continuing to resist against brutal security measures by Chinese police. “Tibet today is one of the most repressed and closed societies in the world, where merely talking on the phone can land you in jail. Support for the Dalai Lama can be prosecuted as an offence against the state,” Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee said.

We have also sent an open letter to the embassies of the BRICS nations in India including Indian PM office. In the letter we asked concerned government not to hide from the truth about China’s brutal repression of the Tibetan people. We appealed them all to urge President Xi to alleviate the situation by lifting the crackdown in Tibet and urgently review China’s policies in Tibet. We have also urged them to press Mr. Xi to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit all Tibetan areas as a matter of urgency.

Notes:
1. See Resistance in Tibet: Self-immolation and Protest, a timeline report which documents the current wave of self-immolations and protests across Tibet http://issuu.com/internationaltibetnetwork/docs/resistanceintibet_selfimmolationsandprotest

2. See reports from International Campaign for Tibet http://www.savetibet.org/media-center/ict-news-reports/distress-death-sentence-tibetan-accused-inciting-self-immolation
and
http://www.savetibet.org/media-center/ict-news-reports/thousands-tibetan-pilgrims-face-troops-religious-ceremonies-eastern-tibet

Jamyang Kyi in TWA's Dolma

TWA’s latest Dolma now on the newstand

Dolma: The Intellectual Expression of and for Tibetan Women

Jamyang Kyi in TWA's DolmaA Reader’s Impression of Dolma Magazine, by Vicki Robinson, Political Organizer and Women’s Rights Activist based in Canada

November 2011: The newly published 22nd edition of Dolma is colorful, inviting and dramatic and is a “must read” for all those interested in the literary and intellectual empowerment of Tibetan women. Between its covers are many and varied voices of women and men, Tibetan and non-Tibetan. These voices are on the leading edge of intellectual expression in the Free Tibet movement and far beyond .

Throughout this volume the reader engages with the colorful design and graphics. Each page is pleasing to the eye. The graphics and photographs enhance the power of the message brought by individual articles, stories, poems and book reviews.

At the core and in the limelight of this edition are two articles and excerpts from successful and recently published women authors – one Tibetan and one Chinese.

The distinguished Jamyang Kyi, a fiery writer from Tibet, has recently published A Series of Tortures: A Diary of Interrogation. This volume is a highly moving set of notes she kept when she was arrested and interrogated by the Security Department following the 2008 uprisings in Tibet. The Tibetan Women’s Association has launched this volume in honor of the indomitable literary spirit of the Tibetan women inside Tibet. The book is originally written in Tibetan and is now translated into English and Chinese. It is a source of inspiration for all generations.

Canyon Sam in TWA's DolmaCanyon Sam is a Chinese American author, performer, professor and activist who has a long and loyal history of friendship with Tibetan women. In the interview she outlines some of that history and also talks about her recently published book Sky Train, which has a blessing from His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the back cover. The volume outlines how women’s experiences were distinct from those of men in Tibet, and that women’s histories and experiences have also been invisible. No more! Canyon Sam has given us a beautifully written and strongly worded account of many of the Tibetan women she has come to know.

These are only two of the many amazing pieces in Dolma, 22nd edition. The reader definitely has a treat in store to delve into this most recent outpouring of intellectual activity so capably put together and published by the Tibetan Women’s Association and its editor Tenzin Dhardon Sharling. Enjoy!

Read this latest issue of Dolma online and see our publications page for other books and reports produced by TWA.

A Sequence of Tortures book launch

TWA commemorates 52nd anniversary of Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day

A Sequence of Tortures book launchAn exclusive literary event ‘Honoring the Literary Spirit of Tibetan Women inside Tibet’ paid tribute to the spirit and courage of Tibetan women inside Tibet

New Delhi:
On the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the National Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day, the Tibetan Women’s Association dedicated this day to honor the indomitable literary spirit of the Tibetan Women inside Tibet. TWA organized an exclusive literary event, “Honoring the Literary Spirit of Tibetan Women inside Tibet”. The event held at the Deputy Speaker Hall of Constitution Club of India, featured a book launch and a panel discussion.

The book ‘A Sequence of Tortures; A Diary of Interrogations’ is written by Jamyang Kyi, who is one of the most important voices writing from Tibet. The writer has been jailed, and interrogated on many instances and continue to be under heavy scrutiny for her writing demanding more freedom in Tibet. As a writer, singer and blogger she continues to speak for her people at great peril of her life under the Chinese authorities. Her book originally written in Tibetan has been translated and published in three languages, Tibetan, English and Chinese by TWA who will be distributing the books worldwide.

View a book synopsis and information about the author here.

Following the launch a panel discussion on the topic “Literary Spirit of Women under Oppression” was held. Chaired by Swati Chopra , New Delhi based writer and poet and author of ‘Dharamsala Diaries’ and ‘Women Awakened: Stories of Contemporary Spirituality in India’, the key speakers for the panel discussion included: Gyari Dolma, Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Jaya Jaitly, Former president of Samta Party and Social Activist, Nafisa Ali, Social Activist and Actor and Nilanjana S. Roy, Journalist and Literary Critic. The guest speakers for the panel discussion are themselves women writers and activist who have always spoken for people and causes even when sometimes, their speaking up has angered certain parties and they have been threatened.

While the five female panelists launched the English version of the book, the Chinese version was released by Major General Vinod Saighal.

Swati Chopra observed that the book A” Sequence of Tortures; A Diary of Interrogations” addresses bigger issues the Chinese authorities are trying to make out of it. She lauded the author Jamyang Kyi for painstakingly outlining in great details the physical and psychological torture that she endured. “A ray of hope runs through the book and Jamyang Kyi is a believer in truth.”

Gyari Dolma honored the brave women inside Tibet and lamented that ‘while we are living in exile because of the consequences of oppression and occupation by a brutal force, the women inside Tibet is under fear because of oppression.’ She commended the grit and perseverance of Jamyang Kyi and said that ‘it’s amazing that even in her fear, we see strength’.

Jaya Jaitly pronounced that today’s function is about honoring women who are expressing themselves. She proclaimed that ‘the chakra for Indian freedom fighters is the pen for Tibetan people’. “Book lasts longer that we do and this book brings out the struggle in women, therefore let us honor the writing of Jamyang Kyi as an effective tool of non-violent protest.”

Nafisa Ali saluted the courage of women like Tsering Woeser and Jamyang Kyi, their cause and their mission. She expressed condolences to those affected by the Tsunami in Japan but bemoaned that ‘what Japan is going through today, Tibet goes through everyday’. Nafisa vehemently remarked that the world should let China and Tibet get the reform that is required. “If the dictatorship gives way for a peaceful benefactor, then we will have a wonderful place in South East Asia.”

Nilanjana S. Roy quoted an expression by Jamyang Kyi : “Chinese are allowed to write articles but we Tibetans are not even allowed to create them.” She expressed her adulation for the writer and said that ‘the fluency with which Jamyang Kyi remembers everything of her 21 days in prison is amazing.’ Nilanjana affirmed that the book makes for a poignant reading and reflects many voices of women around the world.

The speakers vented an affirmative tone in saying that the book “A Series of Tortures; A Diary of Interrogations” make for an excellent example of ‘oral narratives of oppression that ends on a note of hope.’ They thanked TWA for bringing a remarkable writing into the consciousness of the readers.

Although it cannot be ascertained whether anything like the “A Sequence of Tortures; A Diary of Interrogations” will ever appear again, the fact remains that this writing represents a complete sequence of interrogations the likes of which had gone unrecorded. The publication not only lays bare the true situation of Tibetan people but also explores the harsh conditions under which individuals still continue to suffer. More importantly, it exposes a government that combines the characteristics of guile, deceit, and coercion. It is in a true sense a very moving personal account which resonates with the experiences of the elder generations, can be a source of inspiration for her peer group and provide a new avenue of emulation for upcoming generations.

Post 2008 national protests inside Tibet, the world is witnessing a cultural and intellectual renaissance in Tibet where intellectuals, thinkers and artists are reasserting their Tibetan identity and patriotism in a creative way. Tibetan Women like Tsering Woeser and Jamyang Kyi have written fiercely under oppression and their works have contributed largely to amplifying the suppressed voices in Tibet.

TWA pays paeans to these Tibetan women whose literary spirit, resilience and fearless acts have taken the Tibetan struggle notches higher and whose indomitable courage is exemplary of female fortitude and has encouraged women around the world. TWA is positive that today’s expression of solidarity will reach the women inside Tibet and that the voice of women inside Tibet will reach the women around the world.

TWA commemorates 52nd anniversary of Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day

TWA commemorates 52nd anniversary of Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day

TWA commemorates 52nd anniversary of Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day

TWA commemorates 52nd anniversary of Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day

TWA commemorates 52nd anniversary of Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day


Also view the photographs on Flickr.

A Sequence of Tortures: A Diary of Interrogations by Jamyang Kyi

Honoring the Literary Spirit of Tibetan Women inside Tibet

Notes on the book “A Sequence of Tortures: A Diary of Interrogations” and the author Jamyang Kyi

On the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the National Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day, the Tibetan Women’s Association dedicates this day to honor the indomitable literary spirit of the Tibetan Women inside Tibet. We are honored to launch the book ‘A Series of Tortures; A Diary of Interrogations’ written by Jamyang Kyi who resides in Qinghai, Tibet. The book originally written in Tibetan is now translated into English and Chinese.

Lurking Annihilation and Upheaval

For the Snowland of Tibet, 2008 was not only a year when threats of total annihilation loomed large. In that year of upheaval, the people of all three provinces of Tibet united and raised their voices as one to launch a peaceful protest movement. The Chinese government in Beijing, however, cracked down on the protest with brutal force. As a result, there was a new, manifold increase in global attention to the issue of Tibet and Tibet became the main subject of coverage by the various global news media. One of the prominent figures who featured within this event was the distinguished Jamyang Kyi.

On 1st April 2008, a group of police personnel claiming to be from the Qinghai Provincial State Security Department, on orders from Beijing, arrived at Jamyang Kyi’s office at the Qinghai Provincial Television Station and took her into custody. This was the first development in which an official, or a government officer, in Tibet was arrested in connection with the peaceful protests of 2008.

It is said, “There is in this world no walled fencing which is strong enough to be total protection against wind.” So it was that news about Jamyang Kyi’s arrest became known to the outside world on the second or third day of the incident. Radio Free Asia made the first broadcast. As a result, globally well known news publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times (London) carried news stories about her arrest. Through successive postings and follow-ups, the story appeared in a total of more than 500 publications across five continents and four oceans in a matter of several days. More significantly, journalists in Beijing demanded to know from the spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry the whereabouts of Jamyang Kyi. In response the Qinghai Provincial State Security Department sent a direct communication to the Qinghai Provincial Television Station, informing them that they were releasing Jamyang Kyi on bail. On the basis of a surety provided by the Qinghai Provincial Television Station, she was set free on April 21, 2008.

Astonishingly, in 2009, she made a series of postings on a blog she was maintaining inside Tibet a highly moving set of notes of fifty-nine thousand one hundred and fifteen words under the title of “A Sequence of Tortures: Diary of Interrogations.” Once again she single-handedly became the key figure who dug up and exposed to the outside world events that had taken place during the great peaceful protest movement in Tibet of 2008. The notes began to be translated into Chinese and English. English extracts were included in a report titled “Like Gold That Fears No Fire – New Writing from Tibet”. This report was compiled by the International Campaign for Tibet, Washington, D.C. and released during the 61st Frankfurt International Book Fair held in Germany in October 2009. The unique historical first hand account was made available to more than 7,000 publishers from over 100 countries as well as on the experts and scholars who attended the book fair.

Author Jamyang Kyi

Jamyang Kyi was born at Jhado Radza Township in Mangra County of Tsolho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province. In 1984, she graduated from the Department of Teacher Training at the Tsolho (Chinese: Hainan) Minorities Technical School, Qinghai Province. After successfully undergoing a selection process, she began her work in the Tibetan section of the Qinghai Provincial Television Station. Her works at the station over the past 26 years have included doing translations, news presentations, writing and editing. In 1993, she took a correspondence course from the Qinghai Province Institute of Education and graduated in 1996.

Jamyang Kyi took up music as her part time vocation and attained great fame as a singer. She initiated a unique personal style which represented a blend of traditional folk music and contemporary artistic expressions. So far she has recorded five musical CD albums and three musical VCD albums. In addition, under the pen name of Mengzhu (Dream Pearl) she has written songs in both Tibetan and Chinese languages. Besides that, she has written many articles about the situation of Tibetan women. Among them the book titled za mo’i skyid sdug gangs ma char (The Snow-and-Rain Mixed Way of a Woman’s Life) has received significant appreciation both in and outside Tibet.

In March 2006, Jamyang Kyi took part in a Losar musical concert organized by the Latse Contemporary Tibetan Cultural Library based in New York City and in a panel discussion organized by the Modern Tibetan Studies Program of Columbia University. During her visit to New York, Washington, Seattle and other cities at that time, she manifested the characteristics of knowledgeable and broadminded women in Tibet today.

Although it cannot be ascertained whether anything like the “A Sequence of Tortures; A Diary of Interrogations” will ever appear again, the fact remains that this writing represents a complete sequence of interrogations the likes of which had gone unrecorded. The publication not only lays bare the true situation of Tibetan people but also explores the harsh conditions under which individuals still continue to suffer. More importantly, it exposes a government that combines the characteristics of guile, deceit, and coercion. It is in a true sense a very moving personal account which resonates with the experiences of the elder generations, can be a source of inspiration for her peer group and provide a new avenue of emulation for upcoming generations.

View news of the Sequence of Tortures’ book launch here.

Woeser: A Silenced Writer Further Restricted

A beacon of truth casting light on Tibet’s dark history under Chinese tyranny, 40-year-old Woeser authors various kinds of literature, employing her extraordinary talent in Chinese, to praise her Tibetan heritage and correct China’s red interpretation of Tibet’s past, especially the 1966 to 1976 Cultural Revolution. The now internationally-recognized writer has attracted diverse readers inside and outside China, and perhaps most alarmingly, the Chinese government, which has taken measures to douse her flame of free expression.

In unequivocal attempts to subdue her already widespread popularity and subversive rhetoric, the Chinese government has banned the Lhasa native’s books, sacked her from her job with the Tibetan Cultural Association in Lhasa, and barred her from international travel. Most recently Woeser’s two blogs, the last legs of her mass outreach, have been shut down, presumably by orders from the Chinese administration, this past summer.

Woeser, born in Lhasa at the outset of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in 1966, iconizes the new generation of Tibetans born in Chinese-occupied Tibet who leave their mother language on the shelf and learn to read and write in Chinese. Having attended Chinese schools from childhood and eventually graduating from Chengdu’s Southwest Nationalities Institute in Chinese literature, Woeser takes advantage of her expertise in the language to educate Chinese about the Tibetan issue.

Upon graduation in 1990, she worked as a journalist, eventually moving back to Lhasa to join the Tibetan Cultural Association; all the while, she started poetry writing and tapping into her rich Buddhist culture. Woeser also found inspiration from reading works of foreign authors, such as Edward Said, prompting her to dig deeper into Tibet’s past. She discovered vast discrepancies between the “red education” she received in Chinese schools and her clandestine independent research about the Cultural Revolution and China’s inroads into Tibet on the pretense of liberating the country. Woeser’s father, a half-Tibetan-half-Han who once served as an officer of the PLA, confirmed some of her research.

Her mission to retell the story of Tibet had springboarded Woeser into publishing her prose and poetry in order to defend the truth. Her work culminated in Notes on Tibet, which led to her termination at the Tibetan Cultural Association in 2004 because she did not repent for publishing what the Chinese Government’s United Front Office named “political mistakes.”

Woeser turned to online-journalling in the wake of her dismissal and created two weblogs in order to make accessible her writings on Tibet. Short-lived, her blogs “Maroon Map” and “Woeser Blog” were closed last summer without explanation. Suspecting the handiwork of the Chinese government, Woeser explains that she had posted politically sensitive material, including a photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama accompanied by a poem she composed for the religious leader on his birthday, July 6.

Despite the overt actions by the Chinese government to stifle her voice, the writer vows to continue her campaign against the illegal occupation through her compositions. A determined Woeser states in an interview with Radio Free Asia, “Though my blogs are shut down, they cannot stop my speech and my writing.”

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