Commentator Wins ‘Courage in Journalism’ Award

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WASHINGTON, DC – Radio Free Asia contributor and Tibetan blogger Tsering Woeser is a winner of the 2010 Courage in Journalism Award, which is sponsored by the International Women’s Foundation. Woeser, based in Beijing, has defied numerous calls and threats of from Chinese authorities to stop reporting on Tibetan human rights abuses in China. Though she remains under house arrest and constant police surveillance, Woeser continues to publish commentary on Radio Free Asia’s Web site and break vital stories about crackdowns in Tibet on her Chinese-language blog and Web site, Invisible Tibet. Because Woeser is a banned writer within China, her language site is hosted abroad.

“Courage is the defining trait in Tsering Woeser’s life and work,” said Dan Southerland, Radio Free Asia’s Vice President and Executive Editor. “We at Radio Free Asia thank the International Women’s Foundation for honoring Woeser with this distinguished award.”

In April 2009, The New York Times cited Woeser’s blog as one of the few reliable news outlets for those able to circumvent China’s Great Firewall in a story. Unfortunately for Woeser, this recognition also means living with risk. Sources and friends with whom she speaks are subject to detention and interrogation.

Woeser originally was a reporter and eventually became an editor for a government-controlled Tibetan literary journal. After the publication of her best-selling book Notes on Tibet, which was banned in late 2003, Woeser was told by authorities to change her point of view in order to keep her job. She refused. Woeser then moved to Beijing and began blogging. In a 2006 interview with Radio Free Asia, Woeser said she would never stop writing.

She said, “While I was working in an office in Lhasa, I was paid well. But I never felt free, and it bothered me ... When I was fired from the job, the incident led me to the freedom to express myself in writing.”

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