Woeser in a file photo.
DHARAMSHALA, September 6: The fearless Tibetan writer and blogger Woeser has been awarded a Prince Claus Award for the year 2011 by the Netherlands-based Prince Claus Fund.
Calling the 44-year old, a “courageous Tibetan writer,” the Prince Claus Fund in a release September 4 noted the “unique perspectives” that Woeser offers “on the complexities of Tibet today.”
“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,” the release said.
The Prince Claus Fund, inaugurated in 1996 and named in honour of Prince Claus of The Netherlands are presented annually to individuals, groups and organisations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean for their outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development and the positive effect of their work on their direct environment and on the wider cultural or social field.
Through the Prince Claus Awards, each year the Fund honours eleven cultural pioneers “who expand the margins of freedom of expression, dare to take risks and inspire others”.
In a release, September 5, the Executive Director of the Netherland based International Campaign for Tibet in Europe, Tsering Jampa said that the award for Woeser “is richly-deserved.”
“Woeser is one of the most eloquent and fiercest critics of Chinese oppression in Tibet ... This important award also honours many more Tibetan writers and intellectuals, many of whom are serving long prison sentences and have endured torture simply for expressing the truth in their work," Jampa said.
During the mass demonstrations against Chinese rule and violent crackdown in 2008, Woeser’s blogs became the main source of information for the world. Relaying details from her contacts in Tibet, Woeser posted daily reports on the protests, human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings. At the height of the protests, more than 3 million internet users visited Woeser's blog and her daily updates were translated into numerous languages.
Presently living in Beijing, Woeser has undergone house arrest and harassment, her websites have been closed down, her movements are restricted and her life under constant surveillance.
Woeser has been barred on earlier occasions by Chinese authorities from leaving China to accept the Norwegian Author’s Union’s 2007 Freedom of Expression Prize in Oslo and the International Women's Media foundation’s 2010 ‘Courage in Journalism award' in New York.