A Lone Tibetan Voice, Intent on Speaking Out

ph2008050502328.jpg Washington Post foreign correspondent Jill Drew reports from Beijing, via phayul.com:

Each morning, it is the same. She rises and heads to her computer to write, to pierce the silence that otherwise shrouds events these days in Tibet, her homeland.

Woeser, a 41-year-old writer who uses only one name in the Tibetan tradition, knows she risks arrest. Hers is one of the only Tibetan voices within China that still reaches the outside world, now that the Chinese government has arrested hundreds and essentially blacked out most communication from Tibetan-inhabited areas.

Though she lives in Beijing, Woeser still has contacts across the Tibetan plateau, and she has been using them to funnel information onto her blog since the deadly March 14 riots in the region’s capital, Lhasa. The government has said that the riots and the unrest that followed were caused by violent separatists. Woeser is constructing an alternative narrative — one of protest sparked by long-festering resentments against Chinese repression of Tibetan culture and the Buddhist religion.

It has not been easy. Late last month, hackers attacked Woeser’s site and locked her out. Previously, security officials had put her under house arrest. A policeman had warned her to stop writing about Tibet.

“I told him, ‘Apart from Tibet, I have no interest in writing,’ ” said Woeser, the world’s best-known contemporary Tibetan writer. “I want to record all of the history and be a witness to what is happening now.”

May 6, 2008 11:22 AM
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