The International Campaign for Tibet will award its first Snow Lion human rights prize, worth 3,000 euros, to anthropologist and China researcher Adrian Zenz and to the Tibet Film Festival. More than 100 expected guests will attend the award ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022 at the Berlin Environmental Forum, including Penpa Tsering, the Sikyong (President) of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala, India. Journalist and TV presenter Gisela Steinhauer will moderate the event.
With the Snow Lion prize, ICT honors individuals or organizations in recognition of their special achievements in the field of politics, society and culture in relation to Tibet and China, East Turkestan, southern Mongolia, Hong Kong or Taiwan. Potential winners are people and organizations, preferably from German-speaking countries or, if suitable, from the whole of Europe, who show civil courage, are involved in civil society or politics and are exemplary on human rights and democracy in Tibet, China, East Turkestan, southern Mongolia, Hong Kong or Taiwan or campaign for the preservation of their endangered cultures.
With his groundbreaking research, Adrian Zenz has almost single-handedly contributed to uncovering China’s serious human rights crimes against the Uyghurs. He spent years researching on the internet and found, for example, the tenders for building the re-education camps in East Turkestan on Chinese government websites. He was also the first to prove that hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs are forced to work in the cotton fields of East Turkestan.
Years earlier, during his research, Zenz had also come across public job advertisements for police and security forces in the so-called “Tibet Autonomous Region,” which spans roughly half of Chinese-occupied Tibet. In addition to the rapid increase in police and security forces in Tibet, Zenz documented the existence of government “work programs” into which hundreds of thousands of Tibetans were apparently forced.
The Tibet Film Festival in Zurich, London, Berlin and Dharamsala has been promoting films by Tibetan artists since 2008, thereby helping to publicize the complex facets of Tibet’s endangered culture. The festival’s founding was inspired by Tibetan amateur filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, who traveled through Tibet ahead of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games for his film “Leaving Fear Behind” and asked Tibetans about their opinion of the Games before he was imprisoned by the Chinese regime. The footage for “Leaving Fear Behind” was taken to Switzerland and given to Dhondup Wangchen’s cousin, who then founded the Filming for Tibet initiative and completed the film. The Tibet Film Festival later emerged from the Filming for Tibet initiative.
The Tibet Film Festival has taken place annually since 2009. In addition to Zurich and Dharamsala, two more venues, London and Berlin, have been added in recent years. Films produced by Tibetans in Tibet and in exile are shown.
The Snow Lion award has been instituted by ICT Germany initially to honor journalists for their reporting on Tibet. It was transformed to a human rights prize this year.