Allow Woeser the freedom to express and to travel”
As individuals from Asia who have received the Prince Claus Award in past years, we deeply regret that Tsering Woeser, the Tibetan writer and historian, has been prevented from receiving the Prince Claus Award for 2011 in Beijing by the Chinese authorities. Not only was Woeser denied the opportunity to receive the award from the Dutch Ambassador to China, her movements within Beijing have been restricted.
The Prince Claus Award for 2011 was given to Woeser as a ‘cultural pioneer’ who uses poetry and social media to highlight the challenges faced by the Tibetan people. She was recognised for speaking on behalf of “those who are silenced and oppressed, for her compelling combination of literary quality and political reportage, for recording, articulating and supporting Tibetan culture.”
We, five past recipients of the Prince Claus Award from Asia, believe that Tsering Woeser represents the finest ideals of the human spirit, represented in her intellectual independence and courage to speak out in the face of danger. We support Woeser’s yearning for open society and respect her all the more for remaining located in Beijing, in an attempt to bring about change from within. Woeser’s deep humanity is revealed in her recent appeal against the self-immolations that are occurring in and around Tibet.
We demand that the Chinese authorities in Beijing allow Woeser to receive the Prince Claus Award in an open ceremony. We also ask that the restrictions on her blogs and her poetry be lifted, as also restrictions on her freedom of travel inside and outside the country.
Signed by Prince Claus laureates: Arif Hasan (Karachi, Pakistan), Ganesh Devy (Vadodara, India), Jyotindra Jain (New Delhi, India), Kanak Mani Dixit (Kathmandu, Nepal) and Mehrdad Oskouei (Tehran, Iran).
Issued in Kathmandu, 29 March 2012
Contact: Kanak Mani Dixit, +977-9851053209, email@example.com
- Tibetan writer under house arrest calls for self-immolations to stop (guardian.co.uk)