Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Took to the Streets, and What I Want is Freedom and Rights by Woeser

March 2008, Labrang in Amdo (Chinese: Xiahe)

Today, on the first day of the Year of the Earth-Ox 2136, High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser that was originally written for Radio Free Asia on 19th February 2009 and posted on her blog on 24th February 2009.

I Took to the Streets, and What I Want is Freedom and Rights by Woeser

Losar is almost upon us and, as we all know, Tibetans have very different feelings towards this year’s Losar. The concerned authorities took notice of this very early on. Party Secretary Zhang Qingli has repeatedly given the orders, saying "playing the first move of the chess well, and wage a war on one’s initiative well". Various state media have attributed this “Not celebrating Losar” to the Tibetan Government in Exile and the Tibetan Youth Congress. In reality, “Not celebrating Losar” was first proposed by Tibetans in Tibet and originated out of spontaneous wishes. Nobody organized Tibetans “Not celebrating Losar”; nobody called on Tibetans “not to celebrate Losar”, no, no. However, the impact is tremendous, everyone is aware of this great ‘civil disobedience’ all over Tibet.

Some say that this kind of "civil disobedience" is only at a low-level, that it is merely not celebrating and nothing more. They maintain that it is a safe action which ends on the individual level, is short-term and does not entail much great risk. In fact, this is not true. Over the past year, the military might all over Tibet has been so great that all Tibetan areas have become prison-like. In today when you could even be arrested for listening to music, “not to celebrate Losar” has been regarded as a serious “separatist” activity, so much so that some Tibetans have been accused of spreading “not to celebrate Losar” rumours and been arrested. In fact, ‘civil disobedience’ in Tibetan areas is even more difficult to carry out than in other places, therefore any kind of result obtained is worth paying attention to.

The way this government treats Tibetans is inhuman. Any kind of Tibetan demands have been trampled on contemptuously. All Tibetan hopes have been shattered contemptuously. The Dalai Lama has not been able to return to his own homeland for fifty years. The Panchen Lama has been missing from the world for thirteen years. It has been ten years since the Karmapa left his home…there is also the wrongly imprisoned Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, how many elderly people in Kham called out his name as they breathed their last words, and they all died with the injustice unaddressed. Those locals haven’t been celebrating any festivals or holidays for the last few years…Many predictions have become an alarming reality, the thirteenth Dalai Lama once said: “Tibetan people will be stripped of their rights and property, and we will become the slaves of the invaders…” One of my monk friend’s 70 year old mother took to the streets last year to protest. Later, a working group went from door to door to investigate why they had participated in protest, were they not demanding “Tibetan Independence”? The old woman said: “Independence or no independence, I don’t know, neither do I understand it, but I know very well that we don't have freedom, we don’t have rights, I took to the streets, and what I want is freedom and rights.”

And Tibetans have never stopped voicing their demands and protesting: major episodes of dissent occurred in 1959, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999… and right up until last year when the scale of demonstrations shocked the world. Of course, the inhumanness of the authorities once again became reality: its response is still heavily armed military police, armoured vehicles and jails. It has always been nothing but “strike hard” campaigns. People who live under such state violence usually fear the violence, and they have to be silent because of their fear. It is a long-term silence and a silence in which people are leading a befuddled life. It is also a silence in which “people are deeply grateful”; and it is a silence in which they can only prostrate, hang up prayer flags and distribute lungtas (wind-horses)… This is not something one can not understand. But this time it is different.

A Tibetan went back to Lhasa from the west and after spending a short time very cautiously, he returned to the free world. He sent me a letter and said that when he went back before, he was always disappointed with what he found. He said people only talked about money or having fun. But this time when he went back he felt there was hope because it was totally different. I also have a Tibetan friend who went back to Amdo from a Chinese area. This friend visited cities and towns and villages and he was encouraged by everyone he met: everyone from government officials to herdsmen from his hometown. So he told me: “I have been surprised again. Last year Tibetans surprised everyone, and this year it’s the same. This is so great, we are of one mind. It gives people hope.”

What’s striking here is that these two friends independently expressed to me their hope. And this struck me as unusual. It reminded of a Czech intellectual who once commented on the relationship between the citizens and the unjust authorities: The more one acts like a slave and a servant, and is full of fear, the less seriously the authorities will take you. Only if you have them understand that injustice and despotism can not proceed without obstruction, will you have some hope that they will restrain themselves to some extent. People must forever keep their dignity, not to be scared of threat, not to servilely beg others, and only to tell the truth. In doing so, people can create a kind of pressure because all these are acutely set against the actions of the authorities.”

19th February, 2009, Beijing
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Do u QQ?

Having noticed earlier on in the month that the Tibetan blogosphere was going quiet, High Peaks Pure Earth admitted that there was a subsequent flurry of activity just two days later, so what do we know? Anyway, interestingly enough, there are two Tibetan websites that haven't been working since yesterday. This time we are not being paranoid, they really don't work anymore and we have even tried accessing them from inside China, nothing. See for yourself, the two sites are and, are you getting anything? It's sad really, what happened to all those blogs that were being hosted, all that content?

Another online development that has been brought to our notice by Tibetan bloggers is that QQ, the most popular instant messaging service in China, suddenly stopped allowing its users to use the Tibetan language. Now the IM programme called QQ may not be familiar to internet users outside China but it is huge over there and is a combination of Skype, AOL, MSN and ICQ. Basically in China there is a Chinese version of everything, instead of using Google, they use Baidu, instead of using Facebook they use Xiaonei and instead of using MSN they use QQ and most of their features are identical.

QQ is owned by the company Tencent and has been operating in China since 1999 and provides everything from the instant messaging platform to ringtones to games to discussion forums. Every user applies for a QQ number either through the website or by texting. QQ even has their own currency which can be used in their virtual world. Their logo is a cute chubby penguin which also stars in its own TV show. What we are trying to convey is that QQ is massive, it is everywhere!

Tibetan bloggers started to notice recently that chat messages typed in Tibetan were not showing up on the chat partner's screen. For example take a look at the screenshot below, the Tibetan script has been typed in the chat screen and has a red square around it:

Now take a look at the next screenshot of the same chat, the chat partner's screen is only showing the Chinese, not the Tibetan:

Upset Tibetan bloggers have been blogging about this in Tibetan and Chinese and there has been much speculation about the reasons for this development. Blogposts read by High Peaks Pure Earth related to this matter have ranged from the mundanely civil (one Tibetan lodged a complaint with QQ customer services who promised to 'look into matters') to accusations of language discrimination.

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated the following blogpost and comment from Tibetan into English that was posted online on 12th February 2009.

Tencent QQ Owes Tibetan Written Language an Explanation!

For ten years since QQ came into being, it has provided high quality service for netizens. We sincerely thank you for the services. In particular, since Vista came out, it provided great development and application environment for using Tibetan language on networks. The international standardized Tibetan font called Himalaya included in Vista is well-loved by Tibetan compatriots but at present on your company’s QQ, the tool for instant chats, there will be occasions when Tibetan words will be covered without any reason. We really do not understand why this is happening. As one of the magnificent cultures in the big family of the Chinese nation, Tibetan written language should be noticed and respected, and it has the equal right to be used in any place in the society. Therefore, I hope your company will solve the problem as early as possible so that it will give Tibetan written language equal rights.


The fourth item in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China clearly stipulates as follows: All ethnic groups of the People’s Republic of China are, without exception, equal. The country safeguards the legal right and interest of the various minority nationalities, upholds and develops equality, unity and mutual relations of the various ethnic groups. It is forbidden to discriminate and oppress any ethnic group and the actions to sabotage the unity of ethnic groups or to split ethnic groups are prohibited. In accordance with the characteristics and needs of the various ethnic groups, the country assists the various ethnic groups to accelerate economic and cultural development.

Regional autonomy is implemented in the regions inhabited by minority ethnic groups, where autonomous institutions are set up and where the right of autonomy is exercised. Each national autonomous region is an inseparable part of the People’s Republic of China. Each ethnic group has the freedom to use and develop their own language, and has the freedom to keep or reform its own customs.

Item eight of the Law for Spoken and Written Languages of the People’s Republic of China clearly stipulates that each ethnic group has the freedom to use and develop its own spoken and written language.

The above two items should be applicable to networks. If a network company is an enterprise allowed to be in operation by the People’s Republic of China, it should abide by the country’s constitution and other relevant laws. Our language is sacred and we can not tolerate any action to violate it.
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Tibetan Bloggers and Citizen Journalists

High Peaks Pure Earth has discovered that netizens are posting reports of protests in their region on both Tibetan and Chinese language blog sites. We have found these two posts, the first was posted as a comment on Woeser's blog. The second post was on the Tibetan language blog and refers to protests in Lithang that have already been reported on in the press, read more reports from the Washington Post and Radio Free Asia.

Comment left on Woeser's blog on 19th February 2009

According to reliable accounts by eye-witnesses in Tibet, sometime after 10am this morning (February 19th), in the town of Nagchu in the Tibet Autonomous Region, a protest involving over 100 participants broke out due to the dispute over potential guests for taxi drivers. They protested against the traffic policemen’s injustice in enforcing the law and the discriminatory policy against the Tibetan drivers of mini-vans implemented by the local government.

According to the witness account, the cause of the incident was when a Tibetan driver (later it was learned that he is a herdsman from Namarche [ན་དམར་ཆེ། na dmar che, Chinese: 那么切 na muo qie] of Nagchu County. We do not know his name. He drives a Chang-an mini-van which can be used to transport both cargo and passengers) picked up a passenger at the intersection between Wenhua Road and Niaoning Road of Nagchu town (to the north side of Nagchu Prefectural Middle School), the Chinese Santana driver thought the Tibetan driver picked up his passenger, so he cursed the Tibetan driver vehemently. As the Tibetan driver could not restrain his anger, he came out of his car and started to reason with the Chinese driver. Then their dispute escalated into physical fighting.

After the traffic police (the captain is Han Chinese) on duty learned about the incident, they rushed to the scene, took the Tibetan driver into custody and withheld his mini-van. In the process, the captain of the traffic police slapped the Tibetan driver several times on the face. The traffic policeman held that the Tibetan driver violated the stipulation that the mini-van which can be used to transport cargo and passengers (locally known as a Chang-an van) are not allowed to enter and do business in the main streets of Niaoning Street and Zejiang Road during the day.

Many Tibetan mini-van drivers and Tibetan passers-by at the scene reasoned with the traffic police, hoping that they would not take the Tibetan driver into custody. When the captain saw the situation, he immediately called and summoned the local armed police and public security officers to surround the Tibetans who were reasoning with the traffic policemen.

At that moment, somebody shouted loudly in Tibetan “drive away the Chinese and return the land to us”, “hope the Dalai Lama will come back to uphold justice” and other slogans, then all Tibetans also started to shout slogans. By this time, the incident had already escalated into violent conflict between Tibetans and the local public security officers, which resulted in a few traffic police cars on duty to be overturned and burned. There were people from both sides who were seriously injured. Only after the armed police fired their guns into the air to warn people (some claimed that three Tibetans were shot, but this has not been verified yet) did they bring the situation under control.

At least 17 (some say there are 21) Tibetans who were leading the protests were arrested. The local government has already convened an emergency meeting ordering that no work unit or individual are allowed to spread the news.

Hope the international media will pay attention to the development of this incident.

Tibetan blog reporting about Lithang events

Once again a few Tibetans were arrested:

On 15th and 16th [February] in Lithang, lead by Lobsang Lhundrup (blo bzang lhun grub), 16-18 Tibetans protested against the Chinese government, calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and the release of the Panchen Lama. Within less than 2 hours all the protesters were severely beaten and arrested. My apologies for not being able to bring the news sooner.
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Great “Civil Disobedience” Spreading Throughout All of Tibet by Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser that was originally written for Radio Free Asia on 29th January 2009 and posted on her blog on 4th February 2009. As already documented by High Peaks Pure Earth, Tibetans not celebrating Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) or Tibetan New Year (Losar) this year has been the subject of much debate in the Tibetan blogosphere.

Woeser was an early observer of this phenomenon and was calling the No Losar movement an act of civil disobedience before Time Magazine or the McClatchy Group. The New York Times is calling the movement a boycott and quotes Woeser as saying “It’s deeply connected with Tibetan culture, the idea that after such a horrible year filled with death, how can we celebrate? [...] Instead, it should be a memorial.” Regular readers will remember that these were her sentiments as noted in previous blogposts 'Remember and Memorialise Louder Than The Gunfire!' and 'Let Us Make Lamp Offerings and Light Candles to Commemorate the Souls of the Deceased'.

A Great “Civil Disobedience” Spreading Throughout All of Tibet by Woeser

In recent days on my blog there have been a lot of opinions left about the Spring Festival and Losar. Han netizens have said, “You celebrate your Losar, we’ll celebrate our Spring Festival – there’s no connection between the two. It’s nothing to do with us whether you choose to celebrate Losar or not.” No mistake, every nationality has its own festivals and shouldn’t demand another nationality observe another nationality’s festivals. It started in 1913 when Yuan Shikai was president of the Republic of China that the first day of the first month in the lunar calendar was set as the Spring Festival and the entire country had a holiday. Because the “Republic of Five Races” was advocated at the time, the main Han festivals, such as the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival were not made national festivals. It seems China’s current leadership doesn’t have the breadth of mind of even Warlord Yuan Shikai had. With the prevalence of the notion of “the peoples of China,” the hack writers of China are calling for a unified “Chinese expression”.

Since “Chinese expression” is wanted, “expressions” from other nationalities are deleted or substituted. But in order to evince the largesse and magnanimity of the Party’s nationality policies, the Party often needs “expressions” by other nationalities as embellishment. Therefore, nationality festivals such as Losar are indispensable. It has not only been made into a holiday, but evening television events like those for Spring Festival are put on for the Tibetan New Year too. In some Tibetan areas in Amdo and Kham, Losar has been replaced by Spring Festival for many years now, and even though the Chinese new year is celebrated in basically the same way as the Tibetan new year; Han customs are being adopted more and more such as pasting couplets of poetry on doorways, hanging lanterns and letting off fireworks. These days, even when calls to abandon Spring Festival are growing, it’d be difficult to remove in such a short time these habits that have already become customary. Even though Losar has also been celebrated these past few years, compared to the Spring Festival it is less lively.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating Spring Festival. Some Han nietzens have said “If some Tibetans want to celebrate Han festivals or if some Han want to celebrate Tibetan Losar, they are free to do so. No one has any right or any reason to criticize them just because they are the same nationality as themselves.” Such opinions as this sound rather reasonable, and I also agree with it. But the problem is, the reason why so many Tibetans are conflicted about this year’s Spring Festival and Losar is less to do with both new year celebrations belonging to different cultural systems, and more to do with the levels of toleration in ones conscience and a religious sentiment full of compassion.

No matter whether it is Spring Festival or Losar, people who experienced what happened in Tibetan areas in 2008 do not want to celebrate as they had in previous years. As with last year’s earthquake in Sichuan, when thousands and thousands of ordinary people died, their surviving families do not want to forget them in the new year even as their corpses are not yet cold. A volunteer who spent the new year in the disaster area said: “No one can stipulate that the atmosphere at Spring Festival has to be lively; it must be peaceful. True emotions, whether joyous or sad, all come from the bottom of one’s heart.” By the same reason, with events in Tibet that started last new year and still haven’t stopped, there are countless ordinary Tibetans who died under the barrels of the PAP’s guns, and countless ordinary Tibetans who are still behind bars, so how can their friends and families be in a happy mood to celebrate the New Year when their grief is still there?

The absurdity is that the authorities do not see this. They hope that the people will forget the hardships they created, thus, they have resorted to all manner of tricks that leave you not knowing whether to laugh or cry. For example, in Rebkong, the local government has gone house to house with documents requiring Tibetans to sign their name or leave their thumbprint on the documents which say: “I will ensure that there will be absolutely no demonstrations this year as there were last year, I will ensure I am obedient to the Party and government, and I will ensure that I will celebrate the new year.” In the Tibetan areas of Labrang and Ngaba, the local government has given firecrackers to government workers and cadres, telling them to set the firecrackers off at new year. And in Lhasa, Tibetans who put the word out not to mark the new year are even being detained. Some Tibetan commenters have left such sarcastic remarks about this on my blog as: “The great Party is really close [to the people], it pays close attention to [whether people are] happy or not happy, and [whether they are] celebrating or not celebrating the new year”, “when it wants you to be happy, you’re not happy. And that’s a problem with your thinking, and it can even be contrived into making you a member of some ‘clique’ or other.”

As citizens, Tibetans do not even have the most basic right to mark – or not – the new year. Tibetans with their indomitable spirit who persist on their right not to mark the new year are becoming a completely new kind of contention, the significance of which is a great “civil disobedience” spreading throughout all of Tibet.

January 29th 2009, Beijing
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Splittism Must Be Opposed!

High Peaks Pure Earth readers who follow news from Tibet closely know that 'Opposing Splittism' is one of the main campaigns in Tibet, here we found an interesting take on opposing splittism by a blogger named Kardzewa (dkar mdzes ba). We haven't translated the comments but the readers ask Who are the Splittists?

Splittism Must Be Opposed

All sentient beings desire happiness and don’t wish to suffer; this is human nature. Maintaining world peace, uniting the motherland, and establishing a harmonious society are the common desires of humankind. Ethnic unity is the root of all happiness, and ethnic splittism is the source of all undesirable tragedies. Opposing splittism is the highest responsibility of all thoughtful beings. Furthermore, like the Tibetan saying goes, “For thirty people there are thirty different ways of thinking”, because of different beliefs and values, the way of viewing splittism is also different. I think one cannot accuse people who pursue truth in taking responsibility for the future of their nationality and the motherland, have pride and loyalty for their nationality as solid as a rock, and have genuinely pure motivation for the religion and culture of their nationality, as splittists. For decades, those confused nomads, whose tears of sadness were held back, placing their hope in the future, having less than a first grade primary school education, never having been taught a single clause of the constitution and laws, for these people it becomes very necessary to give legal and religious education. Because they are also the “daughter of one mother”, raising them with love and kindness is the practice of good parents. Otherwise, accusing them of splittism for saying one wrong thing is not fair.

At the same time, many of our leaders and officials don’t study the thousands of years of history of the Tibetan people, don’t respect local customs and traditions, distort history and trample on faith. This is not how you find truth from facts. In fact, I think this is the destruction of harmony amongst the nationalities. Moreover, as Tibetan people study and respect Chinese language, I think our Chinese brothers, leaders, and officials in Tibetan areas should also study and appreciate Tibetan language. Otherwise, they are directly and indirectly prohibiting Tibetan language, which is like a lifeline to Tibetan people, by claiming that if Tibetan is spoken, Chinese people don’t understand and if Tibetan is written, leaders don’t know it. This is a source of frustration for Tibetan people who have a great love for our mother tongue. Speaking for myself, I used to work at a broadcasting and television work unit. At that time, I even created a Tibetan special programme. However, this was the first Tibetan programme, and after discussions between the work unit leader and the county leader, we were not able to broadcast it because if Tibetan was spoken, Chinese people would not be able to understand. Likewise, after promoting this year’s patriotic education, since all workers had to write reports of their thinking, all of us Tibetan language teachers wrote in Tibetan. However, the education office returned our reports: they said if they weren’t written in Chinese, the leaders wouldn’t understand them. It created a lot of meaningless problems for us. We said this was unreasonable and we insisted a lot. Yet, many of our well-intentioned coworkers advised us “Don’t do this. If you do this, you’ll be accused of being a splittist.” Even though I can say that the friends who gave this advice meant well, by all of us doing this, if we do not honour the words affirmed in the country’s constitution that say all nationalities have the right to study and use their own speech and writing, it will be difficult to realize scientific development and scientific ethnic unity of the nation.
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Angry Tibetan Netizens

Chinese internet users have given us some colourful terms such “human flesh search engines”, where netizens track down individuals for public humilation, sometimes this could be exposing corrupt officials, other times it targets innocent people who have angered netizens. The angry netizens are ruthless in their attack and criticism, the sheer number of internet users in China means that thousands of netizens can be mobilised very quickly and become a force.

We saw this last year during the Tibetan crisis, where a Chinese student from Duke University had her identity and home address posted on the net. Tibetan netizens also engage in vociferous online debates, although, nothing like the angry Chinese netizens.
A few weeks ago, the anger of Tibetan netizens was aroused by a post on one of the main Chinese language sites for Tibetans, On February 6th, Gyarong Dolma (rGya rong sGrol ma) posted photos of wedding of her “good friend” Lobsang Dundrup to a singer from Ngapa Prefecture Dance Troupe, wishing them a happy and harmonious future.

The photos showed the lavish wedding and the photos also showed the groom’s Chu ba (phyu ba) was lined with tiger skin and he was wearing a hat made of fox fur. The bride’s chu ba is lined with otter fur. (See pictures below)

The photos from the original post were quickly re-posted, incurring the wrath of angry Tibetan netizens. Comments criticising the couple flooded the internet forums. Those who follow Tibet news will remember that in 2006, after the Dalai Lama's injunction against the wearing of animal fur, a wave of fur burning protests took place in Amdo and Kham. Hence the netizen’s anger and loathing for the couple.

Here High Peaks Pure Earth has translated some of the comments from Tibetan and Chinese language sites. Many of the comments are just one word, the favourite being “Ngo tsha” (shameful) or Nag nye (Criminal). The comments are from and

The Singer Lobsang Dundrup’s Wedding

On the ninth day of the first month of 2009, my good friend Lobsang Dundrup had a grand wedding in the Valley of Beauty in Rongdrak (Ch. Danba) County. The bride is a singer of the Song and Dance Troupe of Ngaba Prefecture and she is also a very beautiful Gyarong girl. Wish them a happy and harmonious life and live together for an entire lifetime.

Posted by Beautiful Dawa on February 6th, 2009

Comments in Tibetan:

Gyarong pas are really like another race without pride
Without consideration for life lost and suffering [of the people]
Let hope such an ugly custom is not resurrected.

Truly shameful, Ganzi Tibetans are without shame or honour. Did others see that during the CCTV New Year celebrations, the Ganzi Dance ensemble foolishly performed wearing tiger and otter fur, wearing turquoise. We Tibetans still cannot discard from our minds the wearing of fur. This year in Tso jang (mtsho byang) and Tso lo (mtsho lho) there are performances wearing fox hats.

Last you swore an oath, not to wear (fur)
Fur was thrown on the fire
This year, oaths are discarded
Daily, more and more people wearing fur.

Truthfully speaking, we do not have self-control, we do not have compassion, we cause too much suffering and we have negative emotions. Poor creatures, poor creatures! Our livelihood and cyclic existence. How horrifying! Discard such evil customs.

Comments in Chinese:

I was extremely ashamed when I saw their wedding… is that a Tibetan wedding? It really makes me question it. No matter how hard I look at it, I feel like it is a wedding between animals, a female otter and a tiger, ho ho, it is indeed extremely shameful. On what kind of basis is their happiness built? Regardless of civilized society or Buddhist scriptures, there is the concept of protecting animals. In present-day Tibetans areas one does not see animal skins everywhere like in the past. When I saw these two people, I was indeed frightened. Who on earth are you two? I am ashamed of you, and I feel sad for you.
February 15th, 2009 by a tourist

[They look] like people but with the appearance of animals.
February 14th, 2009

Some singers like Lobsang Dundrup did absurd things, and the songs sung by them are empty and shallow. It is because their cultural refinement and their comprehensive quality is poor, they do not know how to think about issues. It is rather expected [for them to behave like this].
February 13th, 2009

What you said is right. I think these people are probably protesting against the guru (referring to the Dalai Lama). It has been three years since it has been advocated not to wear such clothes in Tibetan areas, but there are still people who are wearing them. In particular, these people should not do so. They let our spiritual “pillars” down.
February 13th, 2009

It is obvious against whom those who wear furs are protesting… We should not do so. We should learn good aspects and follow the trend of the current time.
February 13th, 2009

Only the Dalai Lama’s appeal is to cherish the nationality and treasure ecology.
February 13th, 2009

When many compatriots are glad that we eliminated this bad custom, at the same time there emerged some black sheep. I really hope they are not Tibetan. In this way, this is a comfort for me! I really want to scold them but they are our compatriots and our brothers and sisters. Therefore, I would like to extend my best wishes whole-heartedly. Meanwhile, I would like to advise them to refrain from doing this anymore.
February 13th, 2009

It is probably to cater to some people’s likings to wear such clothes, and it is really meaningless. They probably do not know how to think about issues. When others are sad, they are still putting on a false show of peace and prosperity, and are catering to the likings of others. It is indeed meaningless.
February 13th, 2009

I also support any criticism against those who wear fur.
February 10th, 2009

The satin and silk only wrapped a bunch of grass.
February 9th, 2009

First, we should extend our best wishes to the newly-weds. Hope you live to ripe old ages in conjugal bliss. But it is indeed disappointing to see the clothes and the stage setting of the wedding. Weddings are a highly individual thing, so it is fine as long as the newly-weds themselves are happy. Yet, can’t we love our nationality and our beliefs while we love ourselves?

Tibetan robes are a symbol. When people wear them at this moment, should it be a symbol of the sense of national identity? If one loses heart as a Tibetan, and one does not have resonance with compatriots with whom one shares weal and woe, then all clothes are just packaging. The satin, silk and fur only wrap selfish and cold hearts.

When you wear such Tibetan clothes, on the contrary, you do not look like Tibetans any more.
Maybe you do not mind, however, I believe many people will be bitterly disappointed if they see [these pictures].

Anyway, I would like to wish you happiness again.
February 9th, 2009

The Panchen Lama did not wear fur, neither does his daughter. You are indeed tough. You do not act like a human to decorate yourself with the animal’s life. You are no different from animals.
February 9th, 2009
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Do you know the singer named Tashi Dondrup?" by Jamyang Kyi

What happened? After our last post reporting that the Tibetan blogosphere is quiet, suddenly yesterday it became alive again with new posts. Did High Peaks Pure Earth have anything to do with this? Maybe our friends in Tibet heard we were thirsting for new posts to read. Anyway, we are glad to see bloggers are back!!!

Jamyang Kyi wrote a new post yesterday. It is quite by coincidence that for the last few days we have been wondering about the name and identity of a person who had been arrested. On February 4th 2009, Radio Free Asia reported that a singer named Sogtruk Shebrab (Sog phrug shes rab) was detained for singing the song 2008. This same report was carried on other Tibetan news websites.

Tashi Dondrup

It is not clear if two people have been arrested or if there is some confusion over the names. According to Jamyang Kyi’s latest post the person who has been arrested is called Tashi Dondrup. Tashi Dondrup is well known to us. He has produced three VCDs in the past. One of his VCDs was produced with another famous female Amdo singer Gonpo Tso (mGon po ’tsho). He is from Henan County (rma-lho sog-rigs rang-skyong-khul) from the village of Gser lung. His age is given to us in typical Tibetan style as 24-25 (rtsa bzhi-rtsa lnga).

According to our friends, Tashi Dondrup had cleared the song with the Security Bureau - gong an ju (公安局) (Tibetans often pretend to misspell gung an cud and write sku ngan cus meaning Bad Bureau) and had received their permission to produce the VCD. Since last March, all production of VCD and other materials for public sale has to be cleared with the Security Bureau before public sale.

This is the song 1958-2008 (the video has been made by someone outside of Tibet)

Here is Jamyang Kyi's 11th February blogpost about Tashi Dondrup*:

Do you know the singer named Tashi Dondrup (
bKra shis don grub)?

On the twelfth of this month, after my nephew Dawa Tsering came back home from herding animals, he said, “Aunty! Tashi Dondrup, the singer, has been arrested for singing songs about the Tibetan cause. My shepherd friend has downloaded the song “2008” (bGyad lo dang nyis stong brgyad) on his mobile phone and I also have this song”. I did not take much notice because the singer I know as Tashi Dondrup usually sings songs praising the Chinese. My nephew noticed my disinterest and, eyes wide open, he said carefully, “Aunty, he does not sing Chinese songs, he is a traditional singer”. I thought my nephew is just a twelve year old student, moreover in the village people love making idle talk and saying things without any firm basis. I thought this was another misunderstanding and did not discuss it with anyone.

I arrived in Ziling (Xining) yesterday and I learned that a young boy name Tashi Dondrup of Mongol origin has produced a CD named "Songs of 2008" but he was arrested before distributing it into the market in December 2008. I was told that his song has been posted on the internet and widely downloaded on to cell phones and is now distributed amongst the Tibetans.

Tonight I carefully asked my nephew where his friend got the song by Tashi Dondrup, with eyes wide open, he told me that his friend downloaded it from the internet. My nephew came first in his school examination and I brought him to Xining with me as I had promised him before. At that moment, I realised that sometimes even a child can tell you something worthwhile that needed to be noted. I feel that anything can be heard no matter how far the place is located and remote from the modern city.

I realised that all the people of Tibet are deeply concerned about the news. Let us together salute and remember all the heroes and heroines who either died or remain in prison including the fellow brother Tashi Dondrup forever, everlasting ….

*Update 1: At the time of writing this blogpost, a new comment was added onto Jamyang Kyi's blog by a reader saying:

The musician Tashi Dondrup hasn't been arrested. Saw him in a shop in Xining yesterday.

*Update 2, 13th February 2009: High Peaks Pure Earth has learned that the singer and mandolin player Tashi Dondrup has indeed been detained as feared. It appears that there are 3 people named Tashi Dondrup and this has created a lot of confusion. Another Tashi Dondrup is a singer who sings in Chinese and has a successful career in China but not in Tibet - this is the one Jamyang Kyi refers to. Finally the third Tashi Dondrup is a record seller who runs a shop - the one that might have been seen by the reader of Jamyang Kyi's blog.

*Update 3, 16th February 2009: High Peaks Pure Earth has learned that the detained singer Tashi Dondrup has been released. Many thanks to the reader who found this YouTube video featuring Tashi Dondrup.

*Update 4, 25th February 2009: A further comment was posted to this blogpost by someone calling themselves Jiumei on 23rd February 2009:

The Tibetan musician Tashi Dondrup was arrested around 10th August 2008 in Xining while he was staying in a hotel by soldiers wearing uniform. I had a conversation with him before and we are close friends so I know his situation very well. I can testify to this, if you still doubt this news and his arrest please contact me on [XX] and I will tell you the situation truthfully.

*Update 5, 4th December 2009, news of Tashi Dondrup's arrest in Xining reported in The Times. Please see:
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Curb on Tibetan Language Blogposts?

High Peaks Pure Earth has noticed that the main Tibetan language blog sites haven’t been updated since 30th January 2009, including the blog site which hosts blogs from many well-known writers and artists from Tibet. It can’t be a coincidence that none of them have updated since the same day.

The Tibetan language forum Tibet Youth is still active, as is the blog site mchod me, but both sites carry a notice from the webmaster urging netizens not to post any illegal or political messages.

However, High Peaks Pure Earth has found and translated this post from someone calling himself, Red Face, Youth of Snowland (gDong dmar gang ri gzhon nu) that was posted on 9th Febuary 2009.

Tibet, our land of snows
Chain around the neck,
Hands cuffed with iron rope
Death and Suffering,

Tibet, our land of snows
Door of death opened,
Submerged in an ocean of blood
Hell on earth.

Tibet, our land of snows
For happiness,
People sacrificed

Compassion to the dead
Compassion to the dead



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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Song from Prison

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated the lyrics to a song that were originally written in Tibetan in May 2008 by a monk from Lhasa's Drepung Monastery during his incarceration in Gormu (Golmud) in Qinghai Province.

Following the protests in Lhasa that started on 10th March 2008 and the subsequent unrest all over Tibet, Radio Free Asia reported that 675 Tibetan monks from Lhasa's three main monasteries were put on a train from Lhasa on April 25th 2008 and transported to a military detention centre in Gormu. The Times put the figure of detained monks at over 1000. The monks were mainly from the three seats of learning in Lhasa that the poem refers to - Sera, Ganden and Drepung monasteries.

The verses are written to the tune of popular a Amdo folk song called 'Shertan' and are full of sadness and grief. The lyrics use the common metaphors of referring to the Dalai Lama as the triple gem and the sun.

Listen to the song 'Shertan' here.

A Chinese translation along with photos of the deserted monasteries are here on Woeser's blog.

The verse in the original Tibetan was posted on the major Tibetan-language diaspora website Khabdha and can be found here.

The verse in the original Tibetan as posted by

The three seats of Sera, Drepung and Ganden,
Are struck by the vapour of the poisonous snake,
Because of this sea of adverse circumstance,
There’s no right to diligently study the scriptural texts.

O Triple Gem! Kindly guide and protect us!
O Triple Gem! Come forth with speed.

Since the chance for the Mandala of the trichilliocosmic Sun,
Shining through the windows of the prison cell,
Is well-nigh impossible,
The weary gloom of anguish has set in.

O Sun! Come forth with speed!
O Sun! We cannot wait much longer!

My karmic destiny shaped in past lives,
Has rendered this youth a victim of circumstance.
In the Three Seats of learning of the U-Tsang region,
There’s no freedom of movement.

O Karmic Destiny!
Grant us good fortune!

Highlighting the well known state of affairs,
We await freedom of movement!
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