Tsering Woeser in a file photo.
DHARAMSHALA, May 3: Woeser, the path-breaking Tibetan writer’s blog “Invisible Tibet,” has been voted the public’s choice in a recent poll conducted by the Best Of Blog’s competition organised by the German radio station Deutsche Welle.
“Invisible Tibet” was awarded under the category “Reporters Without Borders” on the basis of votes cast by the public on the BOBs website from March 13 to May 2.
“The public’s choice was Invisible Tibet, a blog about the situation in Tibet that Beijing-based writer and poet Tsering Woeser keeps despite the permanent news blackout that the Chinese authorities try to impose on Tibet,” RSF said in a release yesterday.
Referred to as an “outspoken critic” of the Chinese government’s policies in Tibet, the release noted Woeser’s extensive coverage on the ongoing wave of self-immolations in Tibet and the systematic clampdown and arrests of Tibetan intellectuals.
Woeser, 44, a Tibetan poet, writer and a blogger writes in Chinese language. She was born in 1966 in Lhasa, where her father was a soldier of the People’s Liberation army. She was raised in Kham-Derge as a child during the Cultural Revolution and never learned to read and write in her native language Tibetan in the highly sinicized education she received.
Woeser graduated from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature from the South West University for Nationalities in Chengdu in 1988 and began working as a reporter for Ganze (Kardze in Tibetan) Daily in Kham. She then joined as an editor of Lhasa-based Tibetan Literature (Xizang Wenxue), an official Chinese language journal of the Literature Association of the so called Tibet Autonomous Region.
Her first book, a collection of poems called Tibet Above (Xizang Supreme), established her as a celebrated Tibetan writer.
Her second book Notes on Tibet (Xizang Biji), a compilation of 38 outspoken short stories critical of the Chinese government was subsequently banned for its “political errors and threat the unification and solidarity of China”.
Woeser was removed from her post with the government and restricted from applying for a passport to leave the country.
Earlier this year, Woeser was barred from collecting the Prince Claus Award, presented annually by the Netherlands-based Prince Claus Fund to individuals, groups and organisations for their outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development from the Netherlands Embassy in Beijing and issued a month-long house arrest order.
Woeser has undergone harassment and house arrest on multiple occasions and her popular blog has been regularly attacked.
Woeser was barred on earlier occasions 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.
This year’s BOB prizes will be presented at Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum in Bonn on 26 June, an event that Woeser is most likely to miss.