Human Rights in China has published a special issue of its regular journal, China Rights Forum, dedicated to “ethnic groups in China”. The December 2006 issue, on “ethnic minority” issues, features articles and poetry by well-known Tibetan writer, Woeser and Amdowa poet Namlo Yak as well as commentary by a Chinese journalist, Chen Weijian, on Tibetans’ dangerous journey into exile, and insights into the current situation in Inner Mongolia and East Turkestan (Xinjiang). CRF can be downloaded at:
In her essay, ‘The Iron Dragon has Come’, Woeser writes about the coming of the new railroad to Lhasa on July 1, 2006: “Meanwhile, the hearts of the majority of Tibetan people were smothered by the Chinese red star flags, streamers and colorful balloons that shrouded the city of Lhasa. Of course, their voices had been stifled early on. What a gala scene! Inland China sees few of these red tide displays nowadays, and journalists from Central China Television and Hong Kong’s Phoenix Television were moved to exclaim, ‘How patriotic Tibetan people are!’ Ah, yes; watching the live broadcasting in Beijing, I wanted to say just one sentence: ‘Anyone who doesn’t look patriotic will be fined, don’t you get it?'”
Woeser notes that opposition to the railway stems largely from Tibetans’inability to make decisions on, or benefit from, ‘development’: “Many effects of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, such as the marginalization of Tibetans and the plundering of resources, are not yet apparent. .But the real problem for Tibet is not the railway. If Tibet enjoyed real autonomy, it would be fine for the railway-or any number of railways-to run to each and every village. But without real autonomy, we can only let other people decide our fortune as they see fit, and allow an increasing chaos that inevitably results in our yielding to those in power.”
The December issue of China Rights Forum includes an article on the July2006 shutdown of Woeser’s two successful blogs, which had reached Tibetans and Chinese across China. Woeser writes: “I’m attaching here a comment left by the Web master as an example: ‘Woeser, I really like seeing the Tibet you write about, your photos; it’s a place I don’t know. I’d like to have you tell me more about the vast beauty of Tibet and the lives of the people there, a record of what you have gained from Tibetan culture and history that you can pass on to others. Pass on those wonderful eternal and majestic things you have discovered in life. The dregs will inevitably be spurned by time and history; these things are not worth defiling the beauty of your essays. The right to speak is precious, like treading on thin ice.'”
China Rights Forum also includes an interview with Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer, and a translation of an interview by the Chinese newspaper Southern People Weekly (Nanfang Renwu Zhoukan) with the 10th Panchen Lama’s daughter, 23-year old Rinzin Wangmo. Mainland websites have removed postings of the latter interview published by the Chinese newspaper, concerned that her influence in Tibet might exceed that of the Panchen Lama chosen by the Chinese leadership, Gyaltsen Norbu, who is not recognised by the majority of Tibetans.