Monday, July 31, 2006

China Shuts Tibetan Author's (Oser) Blog After HHDL Birthday Wishes

Middle East Times; July 31, 2006

BEIJING -- China has shut down a popular blog by a Tibetan author after she wrote birthday wishes for the Dalai Lama and touched on other sensitive topics, the writer and a Website operator said Monday.

The blog also discussed the HIV/Aids problem in Tibet, the impact of the recently completed Tibet railway on Tibetan culture, and the 40th anniversary of what happened in Tibet during the tumultuous Cultural Revolution.

These issues are all considered sensitive by the Chinese communist government, which has ruled Tibet since sending troops in to "liberate" the remote Himalayan region in 1950.

A manager of one of two Websites that carried the blogs of Oser, who only uses one name, said that they were ordered to remove the blog.

"On July 28 we received an order from the provincial government to shut her the blog. I don't know the reason," said the manager of, Wangxiu Caidan, a Tibetan who gave the Chinese transliteration of her name. "I believe the order came from the central government."

Wangxiu said that the blog was the most popular one on her Website, enjoying 280,000 clicks since it was linked to the site in February last year.

Oser, a Tibetan formerly based in Lhasa but now in Beijing, confirmed that her blog had been shut down and criticized authorities for restricting freedom of expression.

"It's unfortunate. It's unfair. In this kind of environment in China, it's very hard to express one's true opinions and voice," Oser said.

She said that her birthday wishes and poem posted July 6, the Dalai Lama's birthday, praised the spiritual leader who has been exiled in India since 1959.

She also posted pictures of yak butter lamps on the site as a birthday gift for him, while other writing praised the Dalai Lama. "There were a lot of commentaries, which showed Tibetans' respect for the Dalai Lama," Oser said.

She said that she had no plans to create another blog in the near future but was working on a book about Tibet.

In 2003 China banned Notes on Tibet, a book that Oser wrote that revealed sensitive religious issues, including how the exiled Dalai Lama was still revered by Tibetans inside Tibet.

China regards the Dalai Lama as a "splittist" bent on seeking independence for the territory, although he insists that he only wants limited autonomy for his homeland.