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Wednesday, October 22 2014 @ 04:18 pm BST
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"Returning to Lhasa to Witness the Current Situation" By Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser that was originally written for broadcast on Radio Free Asia on November 17, 2010 and posted on her blog on November 25, 2010.

In this blogpost, Woeser reflects on her stay in Lhasa and paints a vivid picture of the military presence and the changes to the face of the city.


This blogpost was the first to be uploaded onto Woeser's blog following a coordinated cyber attack on her blog, Twitter, Facebook and GMail on November 23, 2010. At the time of writing, all accounts, except the GMail account, have been restored.

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"Fish Speaking Back to Ichthyologists": Two Blogposts on Chinese Tourists in Tibet

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated two blogposts written by young Tibetan netizens on similar topics, Chinese tourists in Tibet and their attitudes to Tibetans. 

The number of Chinese tourists to Tibet has dramatically increased over the past years and this looks set to continue with a number of luxury hotels either just opened or set to open over the next months. This article from UK's The Independent newspaper of November 3, 2010, centres on the opening of the St. Regis Hotel in Lhasa. The article says:


The surge of tourists to the Himalayan region has seen visitor numbers jump during the first nine months of 2010 to 5.8 million, up 23 per cent on the same period a year earlier.And newly wealthy Chinese want luxury accommodation. "The St Regis Lhasa Resort offers refined luxury and superlative service in a storied city," gushes the breathless blurb on the St Regis website. "Discover Potala Palace and Norbulingka, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Jokhang Temple, all minutes from our resort."


Tibetan netizens often use their blogs as spaces where they can vent frustration or anger or simply express their feelings on subjects that matter to them. Very often, these are written with a keen sense of irony in tone, our particular favourites have been by the Tibetan blogger "The Lost Curse" who wrote several incredibly sarcastic and witty blogposts that we translated, see here. Sadly this blogger stopped updating since writing about the earthquake in Kham in April 2010, a post that was deleted very soon after it was written. We hope to find this blogger blogging again one day!


Critical to understanding these two blogposts is the stereotypical Chinese view of Tibetans as being uncivilised, backward and primitive. As Tibetan historian Tsering Shakya writes:

 

The idea of the Tibetan being luohou (backward) is entrenched in the official state discourse on Tibet; and the perception has penetrated the Chinese popular image of Tibet. Yet it is notable how recent an invention this is: it has been systematised only after the conquest of 1959 [...] This makes it all the more shocking to the rulers when elements of this docile and indolent native population protest: like a fish speaking back to ichthyologists.

 

The following two bloggers are perhaps our fish speaking back to ichthyologists. Both criticise, in a creative and light-hearted way, Chinese tourists in Tibet and their attitudes towards Tibetans. The first blogpost, "I Dare to Ask, What Have You Come to Lhasa For?" was written by Gonpo Dorje in August 2010 and posted on his page on the Chinese language social networking site RenRen.com. The post generated many comments, some of which have been translated below. This post was subsequently reposted by another Tibetan blogger on October 3, 2010.

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When Tibetan Students Fight for the Tibetan Language By Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser that was originally written for broadcast on Radio Free Asia on October 28, 2010 in Lhasa and posted on her blog on November 4, 2010.

 

In this blogpost, Woeser writes on the protests by Tibetan students in October 2010 against proposals to restrict the use of Tibetan language in classrooms in Qinghai province. The protests from Amdo also reached Beijing, see photos on our previous blogpost here.

This blogpost is a good follow up to Woeser's blogpost written in August 2010 titled "If Tibetans Took to the Streets for the Tibetan Language" which reflected on protests against restrictions on Cantonese. As High Peaks Pure Earth has observed, the issue of language weighs heavily on Tibetan netizens.

  One note, towards the end of her blogpost, Woeser refers to "College Entrance Exam Immigration", this is an expression that comments on the practice of students from more affluent parts of China migrating to poorer areas where college entrance exam requirements are usually lower. These poorer areas also include areas of China inhabited by "minorities".

Lastly, for more explanation and reflections on the word "minzu", 
see our earlier blogpost titled"Going Minzu".

 

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Liu Xiaobo:

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.

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Those Giving Voice to "Scorching Sun of Tibet" By Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser that was originally written for broadcast on Radio Free Asia on September 14, 2010 in Beijing and posted on her blog on September 21, 2010.

The blogpost reflects on a major contemporary Tibetan art exhibition that is being held in Beijing at the moment. As Woeser writes, the first Tibetan contemporary art exhibtion took place in Beijing in 2007 and was titled in Chinese 发生发声 (fasheng fasheng). This is how the curator of the 2007 show, Leigh M. Sangster, explains the Chinese characters:

The first [fasheng] means “Happening” and is a reminder that much is going on here in Lhasa’s art world. The second [fasheng] means “to make a sound,” and suggests artists in Lhasa are finding and using their own indigenous voices.

The English title of the 2007 exhibition in Beijing was the rather staid "Lhasa - New Art from Tibet". For the purposes of the translation below and to keep the themes of voices and expression that are found in the article, we have stuck with the literal translation of the 2007 exhibition, "Happening, Voices".


Woeser's blog has featured much of the art work on display in Beijing. Please see the following links to Woeser's blog to see the work by various Tibetan artists:


Gade: http://woeser.middle-way.net/2010/09/blog-post_13.html

Pema Rigzen, Phurbu Gyalpo, Karma Dorjie Tsering, Gonkar Gyatso, Tenzing Rigdol, Kesang Lamdark, Tsering Sherpa and Palden Weinreb: http://woeser.middle-way.net/2010/09/blog-post_18.html

Kaka21, Tashi Norbu, Penba Wangdu, Penpa, Jhamsang, Kaltse, Tashi Phuntsok, Ang Sang, Tsering Dolma, Tenzin Dhargya and Suomani: http://woeser.middle-way.net/2010/09/blog-post_19.html
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"Mining Tycoon Says: Tibetans Hope to Get Rich from Mining" By Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser that was originally written for broadcast on Radio Free Asia on September 9, 2010 in Beijing and posted on her blog on September 28, 2010


This is another blogpost by Woeser that deals with mining in Tibet. For previous articles by Woeser on this topic see:

In the blogpost, Woeser quotes an article by Tibetan writer Jamyang Norbu, to read his article "High Sanctuary" in full, click on this link.  

 

Finally, a small note about the term 'Hongding Businessman' that Woeser uses at the end of the blogpost, 'hong' literally means red and 'ding' means the tip, it is a reference to a hat with a red tip, referring to a traditional Chinese government official.

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"Where Will The Next Drugchu Be?" By Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser that was originally written for Radio Free Asia on August 10, 2010 in Beijing and posted on her blog on August 14, 2010

The article was written by Woeser just two days after devastating mudslides hit the area in Amdo known as Drugchu in Tibetan and Zhouqu in Chinese. At the time, Woeser was also monitoring Twitter reactions to the mudslides, a round-up and summary of which can be found on Global Voices.

Whilst international media has been calling the area by its Chinese name Zhouqu, Zhouqu is in fact the Chinese rendering of the Tibetan 'brug chu (འབུག་ཆུ་ Drugchu) meaning "Dragon River".

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"If Tibetans Took To The Streets For The Tibetan Language" By Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser that was originally written for Radio Free Asia on July 28, 2010 in Beijing and posted on her blog on August 5, 2010. The blogpost is a commentary on the recent mass protests in the Chinese province of Guangdong against proposals for the main provincial TV Channel to broadcast primarily in Mandarin and not in Cantonese.

The decline of the Tibetan language has long been a much discussed issue in the Tibetan blogosphere and regular readers will remember previous posts on this issue as well as the video posted on High Peaks Pure Earth titled "Let's All Speak in Pure Tibetan".


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"They Are Everything To Us!" By Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser that was originally written for Radio Free Asia on May 4, 2010 in Beijing and posted on her blog on May 17, 2010.  

 
This is another blogpost by Woeser to reflect on the earthquake in Kham (the previous article can be read here) and another to identify the spirit of resistance in recent actions by Tibetans. For another example, see Woeser's article "Farming Boycott": Continuation of Non-Violent Non-Cooperation written in March 2009.
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"The Reality That Came to the Surface After the Earthquake" By Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser that was originally written for Radio Free Asia on April 21, 2010 in Beijing and posted on her blog on April 26, 2010

This is the first blogpost by Woeser to reflect on the earthquake in Kham. Since this article she has written more on the earthquake which will be translated in the future. Woeser has also been following reactions to the earthquake almost every day on her Twitter page and compiling these Twitter discussions for her blog.

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