Sunday, March 17, 2013

Global Times Editor Hu Xijin Wants People to Know His Friends Haven't Heard of Tibetan Author Woeser

Hu Xijin's Weibo Post
On March 9, 2013, Hu Xijin (胡锡进), an editor at the state-sponsored Global Times, posted the following on his Sina Weibo:
The United States State Department issued its "International Women of Courage Award," and one of the winners was a Chinese woman who is an ethnic minority "woman author" who encourages ethnic separatism. It seems there's not a single person in my circles who has heard of her. China has so many "courageous" women, does anyone believe that the US State Department selected this one with good intentions? With exchanges between China and the West being so close, much has been learned, but Western "intentions" are legion, and China needs to be more focused. 
Like Hu's post, the Global Times' March 8 editorial entitled "Foreign Infiltration Still Deserves Measure of Chinese Caution" also mentioned the award but omitted the winner's name. An excerpt:
The US Department of State just named 10 winners of the 2013 International Women of Courage Award, including a Chinese woman. There are numerous outstanding Chinese women who have demonstrated courage and made contributions during reform and opening-up. But Washington picked a "writer" who advocates secessionism. 
Many Western prizes have apparently become ideological weapons against China, and the stories of these handpicked prizewinners depict a twisted version of China. These prizes, aimed at encouraging various "dissidents," signal Western support for political confrontation within China.
Here is an excerpt from the State Department's profile of the "Chinese woman":
Tsering Woeser (Wei Se)‎
Tibetan author, poet, and blogger
In a period marked by increasing self-immolations and protests in Tibetan areas of China, Tsering Woeser has emerged as the most prominent Mainland activist speaking out publicly about human rights conditions for China's Tibetan citizens. Born in Lhasa, Tsering Woeser's website, Invisible Tibet, together with her poetry and non-fiction and her embrace of social media platforms like Twitter, have given voice to millions of ethnic Tibetans who are prevented from expressing themselves to the outside world due to government efforts to curtail the flow of information.
This screenshot was taken on March 12, and shows that a Baidu News search for "Woeser International Women of Courage Award" (唯色 国际妇女勇气奖) returned no results.

This screenshot, also taken on March 12, shows that a search for "Woeser Invisible Tibet" (唯色 看不见的西藏) also returned no results, just a censorship notice.
The Global Times was not always unwilling to mention Woeser's name. Here is an excerpt from a 2011 article entitled "Tibet Seeks to Balance New and Old Values."
Tibet's economy has grown very fast during the past years, thanks partly to the completion of a railway to Lhasa and large mining projects. The region has seen a double-digit rise in GDP for the past eight years, with an average annual growth rate of 12.4 percent, according to Tibet's 2011 regional government work report. 
In the next five years, the central government will invest 300 billion yuan in Tibet, Hao Peng, deputy governor of the autonomous region, announced on September 12.
As Tibet's prosperity grows, the government believes that hearts and minds will follow, but modernization still represents a serious challenge for some.  
"Some ethnic Tibetans think much of the investment is designed to benefit a flood of Han immigrants, fearing that they will be left out of economic growth," Woeser, a Tibetan writer and poet, told the Global Times.