The following is an essay by Tibetan writer Woeser about her experience when her blog was closed down. The original version was carried by Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan language service, and was translated by Human Rights Watch:
A Closed Blog
Author Woeser (Weise)
Copyrights RFA Tibetan Language Service
About half a year ago, two of my blogs were suddenly closed. Although I did not know the detailed reasons for this action, I have learned that it is a decision taken by the United Front Department of Central Government. Therefore, from my side, I see it as the same fade as my two books; they were banned in China. This is a serious political mistake. It is clear that such a decision is taken by a concerned department under dictatorship rule and people are very scared even hearing such a thing.
If this happened during Cultural Revolution, it was reasonable to think that one would lose everything, including all the rights and privileges. However, compared with the past, the current environment is more open. One can block an individual voice, but one can not block individual idea which is the root of this voice and I am grateful to this.
For many people, a blog is just a diary. However, I consider it more as a journal or magazine, therefore, in my blog I have created different headings based on topics. This is perhaps due to my many years’ experience as an editor of literary journals. It contains topics such as tourism, history, diary and photo essays. They are all related to Tibetan history, geography and current affairs. Therefore, it has attracted many Tibetan intellectuals and students alike and brought them together and created a lively and meaningful discussion of the subjects that they care about. These participants do both agree and disagree on many issues published in the Blog and thus create all kinds of questions. This is encouraging them to carry out critical thinking.
Many Chinese friends and other nationalities, for example, Uighur, Manchu, Mongolians, Muslims, and Taiwanese, who are interested in the Tibetan affairs and culture, also contribute to this blog by posting their opinions and sharing discussion.
The subjects relating to Tibetan history, geography and current affairs do not fit well with the current climate and it sometimes becomes a source of irritation to some people. If this is not the case, then why do they censor certain topics and eventually carry out the full closure of these blogs?
Four decades after the Cultural Revolution in China, I think, it is still against law to discuss the forbidden issue of the facts of Cultural Revolution in Tibet. It is also against the law to discuss about the animal fur burning campaign carried out by the Tibetan people in different regions after an appeal by the Dalai Lama to abandon this harmful custom. It is also against the law to demand a meaningful autonomy due to suffering destruction and loss off Tibetan culture as a result of colonist policy in the name of modernization.
The Constitution of People’s Republic of China has clearly guaranteed Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Religion. However, when individual people express their opinion and religious faith freely, they are accused of wrongdoing and even face punishment. This is a precise characteristic of a dictatorship. Unfortunately, this is also became a characteristic of the country where we live today.
After six months since the closure of my two Blog sites, I created a third Blog on a China Blog website. However, after over a month, without any notice, this blog was closed too. Some of the essays that were translated and published in the Tibetan blog owned by Tibetan Language website were forced to retract them and the authority almost closed the Tibetan language website completely.
Blog is just a media to express opinion and in this time of communication technology they are many other media tools available to voice one’s opinion. Therefore, people’s aspiration and struggle for freedom can not be silenced at any time and under any power.