DHARAMSHALA, June 21: Award winning Tibetan writer and poet Tsering Woeser has once again been placed under house arrest in Beijing by Chinese authorities ahead of a rare state-sponsored trip to Tibet by foreign journalists.
Writing on her blog on Thursday, Woeser said the latest move is intended to prevent her from speaking the truth about Tibet to the foreign journalists, some of whom she had already met earlier this week.
“This time it is in order to skew the reports that will emerge from a trip to Lhasa that has been organised for foreign journalists in China,” Woeser said writing about her house arrest along with her husband Wang Lixiong.
“Chinese authorities seem concerned that my views will contradict the rosy picture that they want to present via an approved itinerary and scripted encounters meant to project an image of happy Tibetans living happy lives.”
Woeser revealed that on Wednesday afternoon, she and her husband were rounded up by seven or eight state security personnel on Cuiwei Road in Beijing’s Haidian district before escorting them to their home in eastern part of the city.
While noting that the steps taken this time by the authorities “were more ostentatious than before” she said plainclothes police were placed outside her building and two others put on permanent watch by the elevator.
“For the moment it appears that this confinement will last at least until June 25 and possibly longer,” she added.
According to Woeser, the foreign journalists are scheduled to leave for Lhasa, Tibet’s capital on July 6, which incidentally is also the 78 birthday of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She said that a trip for diplomats is also scheduled, possibly for late June.
Since the mass uprisings of spring 2008 in Tibet against China’s rule, authorities have enforced a harsh clampdown on the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people. A total of 119 Tibetans have set themselves on fire demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama in an unprecedented wave of self-immolations than began in February 2009.
Journalists who have tried to sneak past the security mesh and gain access to the region have been detained, threatened, and sent back.
Woeser on her blog noted that China’s determination to “stifle reporting from Tibet that doesn’t put across the message that the government insists on” persists as before in spite of “optimistic sentiments” from the exile Tibetan administration about China’s new leadership.