Beijing-based RFA Contributor Wins Women’s ‘Courage’ Award

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Oct. 19, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Radio Free Asia contributor and freelance Tibetan blogger Tsering Woeser was honored with the 2010 Courage in Journalism Award by the International Women’s Media Foundation at a ceremony in New York. However, Woeser, who is based in Beijing, has long been denied a passport by the Chinese government, and could not attend the ceremony held in New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel to accept the award in person.

“Courage is the defining trait in Tsering Woeser’s life and work,” said Dan Southerland, Radio Free Asia’s Vice President and Executive Editor, who attended the ceremony. “If only she were here in person to receive this distinguished award and know firsthand the recognition and respect she commands among her journalistic peers.”

Undeterred by threats from official quarters, living under constant police surveillance, and subject to repeated attacks on her blogs and e-mail accounts, Woeser has persevered in reporting human rights abuses in the Tibetan region. Woeser continues to publish commentary on Radio Free Asia’s website and break stories about crackdowns in Tibet on her Chinese-language blog, Invisible Tibet. Because Woeser is a banned writer in China, her website is hosted abroad.

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. 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.”

Here is a link to RFA’s website slideshow on Woeser’s life in pictures:

Here is a link to Woeser’s most recent English-translated commentary for RFA:

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