"In the Name of Human Rights, Set Free All Tibetan Political Prisoners" by Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth is grateful to Charles Custer at China Geeks for permission to re-post his translation of Woeser’s article originally written for Radio Free Asia and posted on her blog on May 22, 2009.

The photo is from an exhibition that was held this year from March 27 – May 30 in Washington DC on “Reform Through Labour in Tibet”
showing how the Chinese government has occupied Tibet for fifty years and the human rights situation, including how there is no freedom of speech,
how there is religious persecution and how people are subjected to torture etc.

“In the Name of Human Rights, Set Free All Tibetan Political Prisoners” by Woeser

May 25th, 2009, Translated by C. Custer

Since the release of the National Human Rights Action Plan, the internal response in China has been large. It’s rare for a newspaper to dare to publish something like Nandu Daily’s “In the Name of Human Rights, Make Public the Names of Those Killed in the Beichuan Earthquake”, making reference to the clause in the plan that touches on the reestablishment of human rights in the wake of the quake, demanding the names be made public. In his article “Release Liu Xiaobo in the Name of Human Rights”, intellectual Ran Yunfei wrote: “…without action, only stopping for a second on the concept and doing nothing, well then ‘human rights’ can only remain a concept [in our minds, rather than a reality]…all those who have been locked up for something they said, all those who have been arrested and harmed even though their rights are protected under the constitution, including all those who [are arrested/beaten] while attempting to report [the crimes of officials] to higher authorities, officials should apologize to them, and set them free without condition. Like this we can put the Human Rights Plan into practice, turn it from conception into reality and, practically speaking, keep it from becoming another one of those often-heard-but-rarely-seen buzzwords on the tongues of fraudulent officials.”
So I will imitate; my main point here is to appeal: set free all those Tibetans who have been locked up for something they said, all those who have been arrested and harmed even though their rights are protected under the constitution. For example, there’s Dolma Kyab, sentenced to ten years for writing The Restless Himalayas and a new book on the history of Tibetan geography in 2005, or Runggye Adak, who was arrested on August 1, 2007 for calling for the return of the Dalai Lama, or Dhondup Wangchen, arrested in March 2008 for filming the documentary Leaving Fear Behind and showing the world the Tibetan people’s attitude towards the Beijing Olympics, or Norzin Wangmo, sentenced to five years for sending emails about Tibet’s geographical situation in April 2008, etc. etc. And this year, once again, many Tibetan authors were jailed for writing articles promulgating the truth, they are: Kunga Tsayang, Kunchok Tsephel, Drokru Tsultrim etc. The list I’ve provided here is very short, very short indeed, but the actual list of names is very long, very long indeed.
International human rights group Reporters Without Borders said, in terms of reporters, dissidents, netizens, and activists jailed for fighting for freedom of speech, China is far, far ahead of other countries. And it seems as though from China’s large population and 56 minority groups, Tibetans seem to be far, far ahead of everyone else as well. Chinese intellectuals appeal to the authorities: “For the future of the nation, for the happiness of the people, for the image of the ruler, please quickly set free all political prisoners!” “Human Rights don’t just need to be promoted, they also need to be practiced, and be practically implemented!” “Merely saying good things is useless, human rights without action are just words on a piece of paper, a plan without action is just a piece of wastepaper!” Moreover, if they don’t respect their own National Human Rights Action Plan and arrest people who are putting the human rights plan into practice, isn’t that just deceiving oneself along with others, and going back on one’s word to feather one’s own nest?
Early the year before last, Runggye Adak was accused of “being involved in inciting [people] to overthrow the State” and sent to prison for merely attempting to speak his mind for a few minutes. Commenting on it on Radio Free Asia, I said that as far as Tibetans who are in jail because of so-called “political problems” are concerned, whether you just look at the numbers or other aspects of the problem, there has never been a half century like this one, with so many arrested, or with the arrests so widespread and endless. It’s all Tibetans that are filling the prisons being continuously built around the region. As for the tough response of unyielding, exasperated authorities, on the surface it looks effective but it can’t last; rushing undercurrents always eventually break free and burst through the dyke. There’s concrete proof, this is not sensationalizing, last year and this year how many “Protecting Tibet” protest incidents have occurred, it proves the state of human rights in Tibet is truly grim, it certainly isn’t what officials at all levels brazenly describe as “the best time for human rights in Tibetan history”. If it were, how could it give rise to such widespread indignation and discontent? Only when there is practical improvement in the human rights situation across Tibet can a better age for human rights be realized.
2009-5-6, Beijing.
Dolma Kyab

Runggye Adak

Dhondup Wangchen

Norzin Wangmo

Kunga Tsayang (Gangnyi)

Kunchok Tsephel

Drokru Tsultrim

One Comment

  1. Joe Hamilton

    Thank you for this article of truth. Woeser la is a shining light in the darkness that covers Tibet and China.

    I am ashamed that our western politicians know this truth but decide to concentrate in building their relationship and “friendship” with a chinese government that is not worthy.

    His Holiness has met most of them but these people are so detached from humanity that they turn their backs on Him when it is time to get down to “real” business.

    Thank you for this article. It is heartening to know that there are people with pride and courage.

    These two things are all that is needed to continue and win a battle.

    Love and respect…FREE TIBET !

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