Tibetan woman journalist Tsering Woeser now lives under house arrest in Beijing, China

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Tibetan human rights journalist Tsering Woeser
Tibetan author, poet and human rights journalist Tsering Woeser has written on the plight of social justice for Tibetans living inside and outside China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region. Her most recent book, “Forbidden Memory – Tibet During the Cultural Revolution” highlights interviews of those who were on-the-ground in the Tibetan region during China’s Cultural Revolution. Image: Copyright Tsering Woeser

(WNN) Beijing, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, EASTERN ASIA: A Tibetan woman blogger, author, poet, journalist and reporter, Tsering Woeser, who has continued to report on China’s crackdown on Tibetans and Tibetan resistance inside China, has been placed under house arrest by Chinese officials for a second time a few days ago on Thursday June 27, 2013.

Described by The New York Times as “Always Under Close Watch” in 2009, Woeser is loved by Tibetans worldwide for her courageous coverage, that can cost her personally.

“Born in Lhasa, Tsering Woeser’s website, Invisible Tibet, together with her poetry and non-fiction and her embrace of social media platforms like Twitter, have given voice to millions of ethnic Tibetans who are prevented from expressing themselves to the outside world due to government efforts to curtail the flow of information,” said the U.S. Department of State describing the work of Woeser as one of their 2013 International Women of Courage Award Winners.

Woeser (who’s name is pronounced ‘Wei Se’), has reported for years on the lack of transparency and the ulterior motives of the Chinese government concerning the Tibetan community inside China and the Tibetan Diaspora outside of China. Her blog, called ‘Invisible Tibet’ is surprisingly still online, even as the reporter is under house arrest.

One of the most recent blog posts dated yesterday, June 29, 2013 highlights Woeser’s recent interviews with ‘Tibetans in Exhile’.

Chinese government call you “rebels,” [what kind of] …rebels do you think you are?,” asks Woeser, as she searches for candid experiences by those who feel they were forced to leave the region inside China.

In March 2013 Woeser published a new book called: “Forbidden Memory – Tibet During the Cultural Revolution,” which is now being offered for free online. Showing hundreds of photos Wei Se’s father took of the Cultural Revolution in China, the book depicts years of detailed research by Wei Se with interviews by Tibetans who experienced what they call “China’s military invasion” in and around the holy city of Lhasa, among other places. More on this can be seen on Wei Se’s blog.

“Woeser’s family and friends have been threatened, detained and interrogated because of her work. Sources she has relied on in the past now refuse to speak to her for fear of retaliation. At least thirteen of Woeser’s friends have been held in prison by the Chinese government, in part for providing information about the human rights abuses in Tibet that inform Woeser’s reporting. Woeser’s mother asked that she leave the family home due to threats and police pressure,” outlined the IWMF – International Women’s Media Foundation in a detailed bio of Woeser.

Seen as a hero to the Tibetan people, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself, it is currently unknown how long Woeser will continue to stay under house arrest that keeps her inside her home in China’s capital city of Beijing.

“Despite the constant surveillance of security agents and routinely being placed under house arrest during periods deemed to be politically sensitive, Tsering Woeser bravely persists in documenting the situation for Tibetans, noting that ‘to bear witness is to give voice to ‘and asserting that she ‘”will not give up”‘,” continued the U.S. Department of State.

On March 8, 2013 when Woeser was chosen as one of the ten women to be recipients for a U.S. Department of State’s 2013 International Women of Courage Award, she was not allowed a passport by the Chinese government in order to travel to leave the country to receive her honors in person. Instead Woeser stated that she wanted to dedicate her award to the more than 100 Tibetans who have set themselves on fire, through self-immolation, in protests bringing attention to Chinese rule in Tibetan areas.

In 2010 Woeser was also unable to attain a passport to come to the United States to receive a Courage in Journalism Award by the IWMF – International Women’s Media Foundation in Washington, D.C. In 2011 she was also not allowed to receive another award, that also included funding, from the hands of Dutch Ambassador to China Aari Jacobi in a ceremony based in the Netherlands. The award to Woeser was “‘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.”

“Perhaps it’s inappropriate to continue to hope that we will see any change from the new leader of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, on Tibet? I think that a lot of people are hoping for a softer line, or even for something like the “positive changes” we have heard spoken about in diplomatic statements,” said Woeser in an interview broadcast by Radio Free Asia last May (2013). “But Confucius, that ancestor of Chinese culture, has a saying: “Look not at someone’s words but at their actions.” Xi Jinping, about to fully grasp power at the 18th Party Congress [in November], talked about “achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” and focused on the “Chinese dream. I don’t think this is fantasy. I think that the Chinese people are closer to realizing this goal now than at any other point in history,” she continued.

As a human rights journalist Woeser is realistic about the challenges that now face all Tibetans living inside China.
“…But one fact is clear. There is no room for the dreams of Tibetans in the ‘Chinese dream’,” she added.


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