March 30, 2012
OFFICIAL PRINCE CLAUS FUNDS STATEMENT
The Prince Claus Funds regrets that Tsering Woeser is denied the opportunity to receive the 2011 Prince Claus Award from the hands of the Dutch Ambassador in China today. Tsering Woeser is a courageous Tibetan writer whose work offers unique perspectives on the complexity of present-day Tibet. According to Christa Meindersma, director of the Prince Claus Fund: “the fact that Tsering Woeser is not free to leave her home and freely express herself, demonstrates once again the importance of her voice.”
Tsering Woeser, a 2011 Prince Claus Laureate, made public via Twitter that she cannot leave her home in Beijing to receive the Prince Claus Award. Her husband and friends were also warned not to attend the ceremony. According to her tweets, Tsering Woeser has been placed under house arrest for one month and police are stationed downstairs in her apartment building. Tsering Woeser would have been presented the Prince Claus Award tonight by the Ambassador Bekink during a private ceremony at his residence.
Tsering Woeser is presented the 2011 Prince Claus Award ‘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’. In response to the granting of the Prince Claus Award Woeser said in interviews that the award offers protection.
Through the Prince Claus Awards, the Fund annually honors eleven cultural pioneers: courageous and engaged people who stand up for their ideas and who are an inspiration for others. At this moment, the safety of Tsering Woeser and her family are the Prince Claus Fund’s first priority.
LETTER OF PROTEST SIGNED BY PRINCE CLAUS LAUREATES
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
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