Tibetan poet's blogs closed down
(Aug. 01, 2006)
Reporters Without Borders today condemned the sudden disappearance on 28 July of two blogs by leading Tibetan poet Woeser (also known as Oser and, in Chinese, Wei Se). They were shut down by the websites that hosted them - Tibetcult.net, a Tibetan cultural portal, and Daqi.com, a local blog platform - presumably on government orders amid a continuing wave of online censorship in China.
"We are appalled by the closure of Woeser's blogs and we call for them to be reopened," the press freedom organisation said. "As her poetry is banned in China, these blogs were the only way she had left to express herself. Their disappearance shows how the Chinese authorities go out of their way to limit Tibetan culture to folklore for tourists."
Reporters Without Borders added: "Political control of the Chinese Internet is becoming more and more strict. The Chinese search engines recently updated their word filters while chat forums have been closed on government orders. We again appeal to the Chinese authorities to respect freedom of expression, a right guaranteed under their constitution."
Woeser used her two blogs - http://oser.tibetcul.net/ and http://blog.daqi.com/weise/ - to post her poems and essays about Tibetan culture, as well as articles written by her husband, Wang Lixiong, an independent Chinese writer. Most of the visitors to the blogs were Tibetan students who, like Woeser, had received their education in Chinese and who wanted to renew contact with their original Tibetan culture.
Woeser is one of the few Tibetan authors and poets to write in Chinese. She is committed to the defence of Tibetan culture and her book "Notes on Tibet" was banned in 2004 because of its favourable references to the Dalai Lama. She was fired from her job, evicted from her home and lost her social welfare entitlement. She was also forced to write articles recognising her "political errors." But she has continued to work and several of her books have been published in Taiwan in recent years.
The disappearance of her two blogs comes a few days after the closure of the forum of her husband's website Dijin-democracy.net, and that of a site that was very influential among Chinese intellectuals, Century China.
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