“In the decree declared in hell, every one of those people is considered a criminal and imprisoned with both hands and legs shackled, the name of their crime is the love for freedom”, writes Theurang, a former imprisoned Tibetan writer in his poem titled Prisoner in Hell.
On this year’s Day of Imprisoned Writers that is observed on 15 November, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in collaboration with Tibetan Writers Abroad Pen Centre released a special report in Tibetan language titled ‘Tibetan literature: In the Web of Censorship and Discrimination’ at the conference Hall of Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA) in Dharamshala.
The release of the report comes at a time when exercising the right to free expression is penalised with alarming regularity and Tibetan literature is subjected to systematic practice of Chinese state censorship and discrimination. The dire situation of Tibetan literary arts and their creators underscores not just the political occupation but also cultural colonization of Tibet under Chinese rule.
The 128-page report provides an in-depth look into the situation of Tibetan literature under Chinese occupation under sections that deal with the general state of Tibetan literature, its historical stages of development, analysis of meanings in literature, uses and abuses of literary works for cultural imperialism and restrictions imposed on writers and their literary works.
A comparative study of the state of Tibetan literature before and after the Chinese invasion is also covered in the report. It also comprises select writings and poems by imprisoned writers in Tibet, censored and banned terms, books and writings in Tibet.
The report was unveiled by Mr. Tashi Tsering, Director of Amnye Machen Institue and Geshe Lhakdor, Director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in the presence of other guests including Mr Naga Sangay Tendar, Head of Culture Research Department of LTWA, Mr Passang Tsering, Principal of the College for Higher Tibetan Studies at Sarah, Mr Ju Tenkyong, Editor of Monlam Dictionary, Mr Sonam Gyaltsen, History Teacher at College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Mr Mansher Lokdun, Co-ordinator of the writers in Prison Committee of Tibetan Writers Abroad Pen Centre and more than fifty people were among the attendees.