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Liu Xiaobo: "Han Chinese Have No Freedom, Tibetans Have No Autonomy" By Woeser

October 29, 2010

High Peaks Pure Earth
October 28, 2010

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost
by Woeser that was originally written for
broadcast on Radio Free Asia on October 13, 2010
in Lhasa and posted on her blog on October 18, 2010.

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to
imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo on
October 8, 2010, created international headline
news. In this article from her blog, Woeser
congratulates Liu Xiaobo and recounts his
articles and views on Tibet. As she notes in her
article, Woeser has known both Liu Xiaobo and his
wife, Liu Xia, for several years and, as noted
before on High Peaks Pure Earth, Woeser was the
only Tibetan amongst the original signatories of Charter 08.

The pictures above show a group of young Tibetans
demonstrating on the streets of Chinatown in
London, UK on March 10, 2009: in the drizzling
rain, they lie on the ground, each of them
holding up a poster reading "Missing." 6 people
have gone missing, all of them are Beijing’s
prisoners, 4 imprisoned Tibetans and 2 Han
Chinese: Liu Xiaobo and Hu Jia, who have raised
their voices for Tibet when fighting for the
protection of human rights. One of the
protesters, Tenzin Jigdal, said: "These 6 cases
make me feel immensely sad about the plight of
both Tibetan and Chinese people who are not free
to speak out. The Chinese government needs to
respect Tibetans and their wishes as well as
those of their own people and listen to their
voices instead of detaining and imprisoning them".

Liu Xiaobo: "Han Chinese Have No Freedom, Tibetans Have No Autonomy"
By Woeser
Lhasa, October 13, 2010

I was on the train about to arrive in Lhasa on
October 8th when I received a text message from
my friend in Beijing saying: "he won the prize."
I understood the meaning of this text message and
knew that Mr. Liu Xiaobo had won the Nobel Peace
Prize! Feeling really excited, I sent a message
to his wife, Liu Xia, to congratulate her but I
don’t know if she received it because when I
tried to call her, her mobile phone was switched
off. Then I sent the following message to many of
my friends, Tibetans, Chinese, foreign
journalists based in Beijing: "Let’s cheer for
the first Chinese person to win the Nobel Peace Prize!"

I have known Mr. Liu Xiaobo for many years, in
fact, I have never referred to him before in such
a formal and distanced way. I still remember that
night when he asked me in his stammering voice on
Skype to please sign my name under "harter 08" as
a sign of respect and trust towards him and in
memory of his long support of and consideration
for the Tibetan issue. I signed my name without
any hesitation. Shortly afterwards, he was
arrested in his home and one year later,
concealed by the haze of Christmas celebrations,
he was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment. We
will never forget when journalists from
international media asked his wife, Liu Xia, how
she felt, and she replied: “I think one day would
already be too long, how are 11 years justified?!”

I'd like to explain Mr. Liu Xiaobo’s position
with regards to the Tibetan issue. First of all,
after the Tibet-wide protests of March 2008,
which the central government forcefully
repressed, thus leading to a deterioration of the
situation in Tibet, 30 Chinese intellectuals
joined forces and approached the central
government with 12 suggestions of how to solve
the Tibet issue. They did not only gain a big
response from within China but also attracted
attention internationally and managed to motivate
almost 300 Tibetologists and academics to write a
joint letter appealing to President Hu Jintao to
find a solution for the Tibet issue. Mr. Liu
Xiaobo was in fact the initiator of those 12 suggestions.

He even wrote several related articles. He wrote
in "The Crisis in Tibet is the Failure of
Materialist Dictatorship": "Materialism
propagated by the CCP does not take into account
that religion holds such great spiritual meanings
for human beings, it also fails to understand the
spiritual significance of the Dalai Lama for the
people of Tibet; the Dalai Lama, who was forced
into exile, is not only the spirit of the culture
of the Snowland, he is the symbol for the
resistance of small and weak citizens against the
mighty power of the Han Chinese. Denying a devout
citizen the right to meet his spiritual leader
for more than 40 years is like depriving Tibet of
its core values. To accuse and defame the Dalai
Lama is like taking a knife and cutting out the Tibetan people’s heart.”

In "Han Chinese Have No Freedom, Tibetans Have No
Autonomy," he wrote: "As long as the Han Chinese
are still living under a dictatorship, it is
unlikely that Tibetans will gain freedom before
the Han do; as long as inland people are unable
to gain proper autonomy, it is unlikely that
Tibetans or other ethnic minorities will.
Accordingly, solving the Tibet issue
fundamentally depends on solving the problems of
the political system of China in its entirety.
Regardless of what methods are adopted in the
future to solve the Tibet issue, a political
precondition is that China as a whole undergoes a process of democratisation.”

In yet another article, Mr. Liu Xiaobo states
more straightforwardly: "In order to really
achieve ‘great Chinese-Tibetan unity’, the Han
Chinese need to learn to respect beliefs. And the
best way to show this respect is to let the
spirit of the Snowland, the Dalai Lama, return home."

As for my own case, when I was punished by the
government for a book I wrote about Tibet, Mr.
Liu Xiaobo expressed support for me and wrote
"Woeser’s Beliefs and the Party’s Atheism," in
which he pointed out that "traditional Tibetan
Buddhism is flexible and radiant, just like the
transparent sunlight on the plateau of the
Snowland, nonviolence is its most important
characteristic. The atheistic Party, on the other
hand, is stiff and gloomy, just like the dark
grave where the Qin Emperor’s tyrannical body is
buried, power and violence are its most important
methods, which it maintains. Hence, the
confrontation between a female Tibetan writer and
an old political power is actually the
confrontation between freedom of belief and the
restriction of belief; it is also the
confrontation between dignity and humiliation;
and it is even more the confrontation between
flexible belief and stiff violence. Many times,
the Party would first threaten and then repress
religious belief as well as politically
controversial opinions and then it would show the
world its obscene and brutal features characterised by atheistic materialism.”

Therefore I am taking this opportunity to extend
my deepest respects to the well-deserved winner
of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, Mr. Liu Xiaobo.
On an auspicious day, I intend to go to the
sacred temple in Lhasa to pray that he will also
get his freedom back soon! At the same time, I
would also like to pay my respects to the Nobel
Prize Committee, which did not fear the pressure
from the Chinese Government and awarded the Peace
Prize to a Chinese dissident, which, after all,
manifests the true spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize.
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