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Human Rights Update: Tibetan Writer Persecuted for Praising Dalai Lama

October 27, 2004

Human Rights in China/> (HRIC) has learned that a Tibetan writer, Wei Se (also known as Oser), has lost her job, home and freedom of movement because Chinese officials consider her writings overly favorable to the Dalai Lama.

Sources in China/> told HRIC that
China/>/>’s United Front Department and Publications Bureau have determined that Wei Se’s writings contained “political errors” due to their positive references to the exiled Tibetan leader. As a result, Wei Se has lost her job, and her former work unit, the Tibetan Cultural Association, has evicted her from her home and terminated her health and retirement benefits. She has also been prohibited her from applying for a passport to leave the country.

The main source of Wei Se’s alleged political error is her book Tibet Journal (Xizang Biji), which was published and reprinted by the Guangzhou Huacheng Publishing Company in 2003. The book is a collection of essays relating to
Tibet/>/>’s history, personalities and way of life. The book has since been banned by the Guangdong Provincial Publishing Bureau, and specific official criticisms of the book are recorded in Volume 22 of the officially distributed Book Publishing Newsletter (Tushu Chuban Tongxun).

Sources told HRIC that following the book’s publication, the Huacheng Publishing Company’s director and the book’s editor were subjected to criticism and investigation. Wei Se’s work unit, the Tibetan Cultural Association, organized a special committee to carry out “thought correction” on Wei Se, and Party organs sent various officials to talk with Wei Se and her family on a daily basis. Wei Se was also assigned to write an article praising the Qingzang Railway, and was pressured to abandon her practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Feeling pressure from all sides, Wei Se has felt obliged to avoid further persecution by leaving Lhasa/> to stay with friends in
Beijing/>/>.

Wei Se, born in 1966, is one of the few Tibetan writers publishing in Chinese. A resident of Sichuan/>’s
Tibetan/> Autonomous/> Prefecture/>/>, Wei Se graduated with a degree in Chinese from the Southwestern Institute for National Minorities, and has worked as a journalist. Wei Se became editor of the journal Tibetan Literature (Xizang Wenxue) in 1990, and was subsequently sent to
Beijing/>/>’s Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts as a visiting scholar. Following official criticism of Tibetan Journal, she was immediately recalled to
Lhasa/>/>.

Wei Se has participated in a number of petitions calling for preservation of traditional Tibetan culture and respect for ethnic values. One of her petitions resulted in the Han swimmer Zhang Jian abandoning his plans to swim across
Namucuo/> Lake/>, one of the three sacred lakes of
Tibet/>/>. Another campaign resulted in the cancellation of a concert by the singer Han Hong planned at Lhasa/>’s
Potala/> Palace/>/>. In a similar vein, Wei Se has consistently protested construction of the Qingzang Railway through
Lhasa/>/>.

“The Chinese authorities’ persecution of Wei Se violates not only international human rights law, but even
China/>/>’s own constitution, which protects freedom of expression and religion and the equal status of ethnic minorities,” said HRIC president
Liu Qing/>. “The Chinese authorities should take advantage of the insights provided by writers such as Wei Se to gain a better understanding of Tibetan viewpoints, with the aim of ameliorating the longstanding conflict between the Han and Tibetan peoples in
China/>/>.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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