Van Bommel protests house arrest of Tibetan writer

1 March 2012

Van Bommel protests house arrest of Tibetan writer

Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser, recently awarded the prestigious Dutch cultural prize the Prince Claus Award, has been denied permission to leave her home to receive it in person. SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel describes it as ‘unacceptable’ that she has been placed under house arrest. ’I’m asking the Minister to put pressure on the Chinese authorities to lift her house arrest,’ he says. ‘Tsering Woeser must simply be allowed to receive her award. I expect the Minister to take a clear position on this.’

Woeser has been awarded the prize for her activities in the cultural arena. She writes about the effects of oppression in Tibet and about the mass immigration of Chinese people. Her book, Notes on Tibet, has been banned and in 2004 she was instructed to undergo political reeducation.

This is the second time in a short period that China has made it impossible to present a Dutch prize. Recently the presentation of the ‘Human Rights Tulip’ was blocked. An article in a Dutch national newspaper revealed that Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal had attempted to influence the jury responsible for the award, and then, when it was given to a Chinese dissident, had asked whether she was the only candidate. “It’s scandalous that the Minister should try to interfere with an independent jury,” says Van Bommel. “By speaking out forcefully against the house arrest of Tsering Woeser, he can make some amends for his behavior.”

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