Tibetan woman writer Woeser denied international accolade

Source: phayul.com

Delhi, March 5: Woeser has been again placed under house arrest and denied a visa to travel after being internationally recognised for her work for Tibetan freedom.

A leading and prominent writer, poet and activist for Tibetan freedom, Woeser was awarded the Netherlands based award last year for her ‘courage in speaking for those who are silenced and oppressed’. She was due to receive the prize at the Netherlands embassy but was told by Chinese authorities that this was not possible and she was now under house arrest in Beijing.

Director of the Prince Claus Fund, Christa Meindersma issued a reply to this injustice, she said: “The fact that Tsering Woeser is not free to leave her home and freely express herself demonstrates once again the importance of her voice.”

In an online video interview with the Associated Press, Woeser explained the events. Firstly, she received a phone call from the Beijing Public Security Bureau denying her the right to accept this accolade, and in addition, friends whom were due to attend were also not permitted.

Following this, two members of the State Security police informed her that she would not be able to leave her residence for the month of March, and should she do so, she would be followed. Woeser states the surveillance of her residence had already began two weeks prior when a car was constantly parked downstairs from her building.

Security has been increased even more so in Beijing in the build-up to China’s annual legislative session (the Chinese’s People’s Political Consultative Conference). In the past, this time has seen a number of individuals deemed to be problematic by the government oppressed and put under house arrest.

Jia Quinglin, a senior leader in government and leader of the country’s top government advisory group issued a statement against the supporters of the Dalai Lama, he said:

“The Communist Party committees and governments at all levels must closely rely on the people and resolutely crush the Dalai clique’s conspiracy to foment chaos in the Tibetan areas and uphold the harmony and the social stability of the Tibet and the Tibetan areas.”

Woeser has been previous barred from travelling after being awarded the Norwegian Author Union’s 2007 Freedom of Expression Prize and in 2010 the Internal Women’s Media foundation 2010 ‘Courage in Journalism’ award. This flagrant abuse of power by the Chinese Government is unacceptable and only serves to highlight the means they will go to silence the people of Tibet and their rightful voice for freedom.

Tibetan writer Woeser honoured

Source: phayul.com

Prominent Tibetan writer Woeser has been awarded a Prince Laus Award for her works of poetry, novels and blogs, on the Tibetan’s people plight and giving them a voice to the world.

The honour, named after the late husband of Queen Beatrix of Netherlands, is awarded to those whose works have achieved strides and positive effects in their cultural and social field.

A press release by the Prince Claus Fund said: “Woeser is honoured for her courage in speaking for those who are silenced and oppressed, for her compelling combination of literary quality and political reportage, for recording, articulating and supporting Tibetan culture, and for her active commitment to
self-determination, freedom and development in Tibet.”

This is not the first award that Woeser has won for her efforts to report on the suffering of the Tibetan people. In 2007 she was award the Norwegian Author Union’s 2007 Freedom of Expression Prize, and in 2010 the Internal Women’s Media foundation 2010 ‘Courage in Journalism award however on both occasions she was not permitted to travel abroad to accept the accolades, with the Chinese government denying her a passport on the grounds of ‘national security’.

After her 2004 novel, Notes on Tibet, was published and subsequently banned by the Chinese Government after nine months for opinions deemed ‘harmful to the unification and solidary of our nation’, Woeser has maintained an active online presence through her blog.

She and her husband Wang Lixiong, a fellow outspoken critic and writer on Tibet, have been living in self-imposed exile in Beijing. In a recent interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide, she described the atmosphere in Lhasa as one dominated by ‘fear’, she added “You inevitably become contaminated by it to the point where you dare not to do anything anymore. In Beijing I feel almost free. The scale of this emotional city dilutes the fear.”

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.”