Freedom and democracy belong to those who fight for them

Tashi Rabten (Pen Name: Theurang)

Tashi Rabten (pen name: Theurang) is a Tibetan writer, poet and editor who is serving a four-year sentence in Mianyang Prison, Sichuan Province. He graduated from North-West University for Nationalities and edited the now-banned Tibetan language journal “Shar Dungri” and also published “Written in Blood”, a compilation of his poems, notes and writings on the situation in Tibet following the 2008 protests.

On the fifth anniversary of 14 March 2008 protest in Lhasa, TCHRD has translated and edited one of Theurang’s essays written before his arrest and subsequent imprisonment in 2009. The essay was republished in exile in the book “Reflections on 2008 Protests: a Collection of Essays by Tibetan Intellectuals in Tibet”, by Domey Editorial Committee, Dharamsala, India.

Freedom and democracy belong to those who fight for them

By Theurang

Freedom and democracy are fundamental aspirations of human beings. Every human being and nation on this earth is heading towards democracy, equality and freedom, leaving behind oppression and exploitation of dictatorship and slavery. For the values of democracy and equality, many great men and women gave up their lives. On this earth beneath the vast sky, although freedom and democracy belong to the entire humanity, they will never belong to those who oppress by practicing dictatorship. Be it individuals, organisations, governments or nations, it is a universal truth that those who oppress by practicing dictatorship, their hands and legs will be crushed under the rolling boulder called freedom, equality and democracy. For many years, we have been fighting for our rights—for the values of equality, freedom and democracy. We have been raising slogans and banners for them. Fighting for universal values of human rights is an act of seeking truth. We are not afraid of any one. No one can stop us.

Since 2008, Tibetans inside and outside Tibet have pursued many campaigns such as protests, fasts, peaceful marches and other commemorative events. These non-violent campaigns reflect the agonising thirst of the Tibetan people for freedom and democracy. They expose the political system and policies of the People’s Republic of China under which we are living. Our campaigns are not to secure freedom and democracy for Tibetan people only. They reflect the growing aspirations and hopes of peoples and nations who yearn for freedom and democracy. Many nations and peoples on this earth support our struggle.

Any nation or people aspiring for democracy must respect the life of every individual citizen without any discrimination. Amid our non-violent struggle, however, we witnessed ‘some ugly incidents of looting, burning, smashing and killing.’ Such incidents violate human rights and sacredness of human lives and thus pollute, and are a blot on, the non-violent struggle of our people. Moreover, these horrible incidents tarnish our movement in the eyes of other peoples and nations, contradict the vision of peace espoused by the noble Gyalwa Rinpoche and negate a people fighting for truth and justice.

Since we do not have military might, we cannot pursue an armed struggle. The only solution we have is non-violent protests that express our opposition to lies and oppression of Chinese government. It is extremely important that such non-violent protests are organised in countries and among nationalities that cherish democracy and freedom. While campaigning for freedom, many of our brave fellow Tibetans lost their lives to guns while many underwent enormous suffering walking thousands of miles on peaceful marches. If you are a Tibetan nurtured on milk and tsampa, if Tibetan blood is running into your veins, you have to speak up and campaign for Tibetan freedom. You cannot support dictatorship and slavery. I have heard that some Tibetan leaders [working for Chinese government] are criticising our freedom struggle. In Chinese newspapers and televisions, some Tibetans are condemning it. The Tibetan nation cannot be represented simply by Tibetans living under Chinese rule, leave alone by a few Tibetan residents of Lhasa. Moreover, those reactionaries who have become tools of Chinese oppression cannot represent the Tibetan people. This truth should be made clear to the world. In our campaign for freedom, many Tibetans have lost their lives. Rather than accepting this truth, China is attempting to hijack our non-violent struggle. We must send true information and pictures of our protests to the outside world. We must mention the number of Tibetans killed and arrested, slogans raised by protestors and places where protests were held.

“A true and verified picture of an injured Tibetan is more valuable than [poorly-verified and thus hard to prove] information about the death of a hundred Tibetans,” a friend once told me. This is true. No matter what campaign we pursue, we must not pursue them in haste—that is without any strategic planning. Nor should we resort to violence. Moreover, our educated folks must write appeal letters on behalf of Tibetans who were arrested and disappeared in some places. All these information must be propagated throughout the world. In short, freedom and democracy belong to those who fight for them. They will never belong to those who murder democracy and freedom by practicing dictatorship and slavery. If we do not lose our pride and determination, Tibetan people will have a chance to taste democracy and freedom one day.

Jamyang Kyi

Writer and singer Jamyang Kyi, a vocal advocate of Tibetan women’s rights, was detained from 1 April to 20 May 2008, during which time she was tortured. After her release she wrote an account of her detention entitled “A Succession of Torture” and “They”, on her Tibetan blog. (The blog has been shut down).  Her writings since May 2008 include moving letters to her friend Norzin Wangmo, who is currently serving a 5-year prison sentence.

– Visit Jamyang Kyi’s Music Page.

– Part of “A Succession of Torture” has been translated by International Campaign for Tibet and is available in the report, “LIKE GOLD THAT FEARS NO FIRE: NEW WRITING FROM TIBET“.

“They” by Jamyang Kyi

They constantly tried to use various methods to make me betray others. During that time, one scene from “The Lives of Others” occurred to me from time to time. The woman in the film, after endlessly suffering unimaginable degrees of intimidation and atrocity, loses herself and turns her back on her beloved man. When the man stares at her with a sense of disbelief, unable to bear her feelings, she runs onto the road in front of an oncoming vehicle. There, she ends her blooming beauty and precious life. Though it has been over two years since I saw the film, I cannot forget the depth of frustration in the man’s stare and the aggrieved look on the woman’s face. Today, these images from the film appear even more real in my mind.

My heart cracked like a dried out riverbank with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, frustration and anger. And I longed for the moisture of light rain. One evening when I was tied to that chair again, I heard the sound of religious songs of a melancholic nature. I realized that this was the first time I was hearing the sound of a living being. This was soothing medicine for my bleeding heart. Since then, I began paying attention to this prayer-tune and awaiting it with hope each day. At that mosque, the devout practitioner prayed 4 to 5 times every day. Normally that prayer-tune could have been perceived as being unpleasant but during those days, it became the best medicine to revive my spirit. For that, I’m deeply grateful to the Mosque and practitioner. If ever a day comes for me to get out, I swore to myself that I would pay a visit to the mosque. Even today, that wish hasn’t disappeared from my heart.

In a magazine there is an oil painting of a landscape that I have looked at countless times. In the painting there is a lone cottage of European style that stands by the lake. That was the only home in the wide hilly grassland. It affforded me a sense of tranquility and peace. Imagining that house to be my own family home, I began to visualize my two daughters playing chase in the grassy meadow near the house; my husband cutting grass beside the lake and I myself, busily cooking dinner awaiting the return of the cattle. That, too, became a means to console and revive my shattered spirit.

One day, as soon as the protests first began, my husband said with a sigh, “Those who have died are already gone. But those who have been arrested are certain to be cast into the eighteen realms of hell and bound to suffer immeasurably.” On the other hand, empathizing with those who had died and their bereaved and loved ones, I was deeply touched and moved to endless tears of sympathy. And at the time, I could not fully comprehend the implications of the incident in which three Tibetans had leapt to their death from a house top.

Each interrogation session aroused a different kind of fear in me. One day in the middle of an interrogation, I thought instead of enduring this, it would be better to be killed by a single bullet. My family and relatives would grieve but as for me, I would have to suffer the pain only once. One day when I was in the washroom, out of nowhere, I found myself thinking about the means or methods of taking my own life. Those days I remembered the small knife that was confiscated at Zhihu Hotel. They hadn’t seen another small knife that was in my handbag during the search. When the chief interrogator asked why I kept a small knife, I replied that it was for eating fruit. But on the other hand there is a small story about this small knife.

Ever since the Chinese-Tibetan conflict had flared up, and as result of the government’s deliberate propaganda, the Chinese would stare at Tibetans with hatred, whether it be in a bus, the market place or on any public road. Once, when I was walking down the road with my daughter who was wearing the traditional chuba that my friend Walza Norzin Wangmo had bought her as a gift, a Chinese kid of about six or seven years old came yelling in front of my daughter and stood blocking her way. This kind of Chinese attitude wasn’t an isolated incident that we experienced but rather the common experience of other Tibetans too. So, for self-defence I had bought another small knife. Later, on reflection, I felt relief that I hadn’t had the chance to get hold of those two knives. Otherwise, during an interrogation session, under unbearable torture, I frantically searched my pouch and then stared at the blue veins of my left wrist. Were I to get hold of the knife then, I would surely have cut the veins of my wrist.

During those days, Wang Lixong’s essay on the stages of suicide came to mind from time to time. And it was a completely different feeling from when I had first read it. I realized for the first time how difficult and harsh it is to betray and deceive someone. I felt that I could understand him now that I could understand it myself.

During those days when I was thrown in front of the six gates of hell, the person I thought of most was my kind and dear mother. Although it has been nearly three years since she passed away, she is very much alive in my heart. What is comforting is the realization that my dear mother has already left me. Otherwise, if she were alive and to witness my incarceration in prison, I know she would go insane.

At the height of unbearable torture, usually I invoked the name of my mother and Goddess Tara for protection. One afternoon when I was tied to a stool, everyone left for lunch except for one female secret police officer. For many days, I had suppressed my tears of suffering silently. But at that moment of weakness, I could not bear it any longer and cried out “Mother, Mother”. The longing for my mother grew more intense and the suffering worsened, and I sobbed. As I was sobbing with pain, all my limbs went numb. At that time the fat man came and said, “You’re crying intentionally because you know I’m here.” Pressing his finger to my forehead, he warned, “If you continue to wail, I will stop this interrogation.”

Shouting in a loud voice, “Are you this stubborn because you think we are making a false accusations?” he left the room. Although it was not something that I was doing, being aware of his presence there, I still couldn’t stop crying. At the time, the nerves in both my hands turned stiff and I could unclench my fist when I tried to force them open. A long time passed sobbing, with my entire body drenched in sweat…

[Translation: High Peaks Pure Earth]

Tsering Woeser

Tsering Woeser portrait

Tsering Woeser ཚེ་རིང་འོད་ཟེར།

Woeser is a Beijing-based Tibetan poet and writer who is under watch by the authorities because of the critical content of her Chinese-language blog Many translations of Woeser’s writing can be read on the blog High Peaks Pure Earth and collections of her poetry, along with more biographical details, are available on the website Ragged Banner. The following poem was written after a short visit to Lhasa (where Woeser was born), weeks after the 2008 uprisings began.












[Taken from:]

“The Fear in Lhasa”

A hurried farewell to Lhasa,
Now a city of fear.

A hurried farewell to Lhasa,
Where the fear is greater than all the fear after ’59, ’69, and ’89 put together.

A hurried farewell to Lhasa,
Where the fear is in your breathing, in the beating of your heart,
In the silence when you want to speak but don’t,
In the catch in your throat.

A hurried farewell to Lhasa,
Where constant fear has been wrought by legions with their guns,
By countless police with their guns,
By plainclothesmen beyond counting,
And still more by the colossal machinery of the State that stands behind them night and day;
But you mustn’t point a camera at them or you’ll get a gun pointed at you,
maybe hauled off into some corner and no one will know.

A hurried farewell to Lhasa,
Where the fear starts at the Potala and strengthens as you go east, through the Tibetans’ quarter.
Dreadful footsteps reverberate all round, but in daylight you won’t glimpse even their shadow;
They are like demons invisible by day, but the horror is worse, it could drive you mad.
A few times I have passed them and the cold weapons in their hands.

A hurried farewell to Lhasa,
Where the fear is now minutely scanned by the cameras that stud avenues and alleys and offices,
and every monastery and temple hall;
All those cameras,
Taking it all in,
Swiveling from the outer world to peer inside your mind.
“Zap zap jé! º They’re watching us” — among Tibetans this has become a byword, furtively whispered.

A hurried farewell to Lhasa:
The fear in Lhasa breaks my heart. Got to write it down.

August 23, 2008
On the road out of Lhasa

Zap zap jé (Tibetan): “I beg you, be careful.” These days, a very common expression among Tibetans.

[I was in Lhasa from August 17 to August 23, my shortest stay ever, and I had no choice about leaving . . . these words were to remember it by.

And there’s something I want to say: You have the guns? I have a pen.]

[Translation: Ragged Banner Press at]

Kunga Tseyang

Kunga Tseyang portrait

Kunga Tseyang (Gangnyi “Sun of Snowland”) ཀུན་དགའ་ཚངས་དབྱངས། ༼གངས་ཉི།༽

Kunga Tseyang is a popular writer, blogger and photographer who is passionate about the environment. He was taken by police from Labrang monastery in Gansu province on 17 March 2009 and was sentenced to five years in December 2009.  Kunga Tseyang, who is a monk, is thought to have been detained as a result of his essays on a website named “Jottings” or “Rough Notes” (Tib: Zin-dris).




བྱ་ལས་གང་ཞིག་བརྩོན་ན་ཡང་དྲིལ་བསྒྲག་ནི་བྱ་ལས་དེའི་ནུས་པ་རྒྱ་ཆེར་གཏོང་བྱེད་ཀྱི་ལག་ཆ་གལ་ཆེན་ཞིག་རེད་མོད། དྲིལ་བསྒྲག་བྱེད་སྟངས་དེ་ནམ་ཡང་བདེན་དོན་གྱི་ར་བ་ལས་བརྒལ་ཕྱིན་ནམ་ཞིག་ཁྱོད་ཀྱི་དྲིལ་བསྒྲག་དེ་ནི་ར་བཟི་བའི་ལབ་རྡོལ་བཞིན་ནུས་མེད་ཅིག་ཏུ་ཆགས་འགྲོ་བའང་ཆོས་ཉིད་ཅིག་རེད།

ད་ལོའི་ཞི་རྒོལ་འོས་ལངས་ཀི་སྐབས་སུ་རྩ་འཛུགས་ཡོད་པའི་ཁོངས་མི་སུ་ཞིག་ནང་འཛུལ་བྱས་ཏེ་མི་དམངས་ལོག་ལམ་དུ་ཁྲིད་ཅིང་ཀྲུང་དབྱང་བརྙན་འཕྲིན་ཁང་དང་། ལྷ་ས་བརྙན་འཕྲིན་ཁང་སོགས་ཀྱིས་གནས་ལུགས་རྒྱབ་གཏོད་དང་དྲང་བདེན་རྡོག་རྫིས་ཀྱིས “ཁ་བྲལ་བོད་པ” ཞེས་བོད་མི་སྤྱི་ལ་སྡུག་དམོད་བྱས་པ་ཐལ་དྲགས་པ་འདིས། ནམ་ཡང་སོས་དཀའ་བའི་རྨ་ཁ་ཟབ་མོ་ཞིག་ཕྱོགས་གཉིས (བོད་རིགས་དང་རྒྱ་རིགས་གཉིས།།) ཀར་བཟོས་ཡོད་པས་ན་ད་ནི་རྒྱ་རིགས་སྤུན་ཟླ་བོད་ལ་མི་དགའ་བ་ཞིག་དང་། བོད་རིགས་སྤུན་ཟླ་རྒྱ་ལ་སྡང་བའི་བསམ་ཕྱོགས་ཤིག་ཀྱང་རང་ཤུགས་ཀྱིས་ཐོན་པར་བྱས་སོང་། ཁོ་བོས་ནི་ནམ་ཡང་དེ་ནི་མི་རིགས་ཁ་བྲལ་དུ་འགྲོ་བའི་བྱེད་ལས་ཤིག་ཏུ་ངོས་མི་འཛིན་ཐབ་མེད་དུ་འདོད་ཀྱིན་ཡོད།

ཕྱོགས་གཅིག་གིས (བོད་རིགས་སྤུན་ཟླ།) ད་ནི་དངོས་གནས་འདུག་ག་མ་བཅུག་ནི་རེད། ང་ཚོས་མ་བྱས་པ་ཞིག་བྱས་སོང་ཞེས་གླེང་འདི་འདྲ་འགེལ་བ་དང་། ང་ཚོས་ཆུང་ངུ་དེ་ཆེན་པོར་བསྒྱུར་ནས་འཛམ་བུ་གླིང་ལ་ཁྱབ་བསྒྲགས་འདི་ལྟར་བྱས་སོང་། མཐའ་ན་ཏང་གི་བྱ་བ་ལས་ནས་མི་ལོ་ཉི་ཤུ་དང་སུམ་ཅུ་སོང་ཟིན་པའི་བོད་རིགས་དཔོན་པོ་དག་ལའང་སྐབས་དེར་རྒྱ་ཡུལ་ནས་མགྲོན་ཁང་གྲལ་དག་ཅིག་ཀྱང་ཕྱིན་མེད་ལ། ཞིང་ཆེན་དང་ཁུལ་སོགས་བོད་རིགས་སློབ་བུ་རེ་གཉིས་ལས་མེད་པའི་སློབ་གྲྭ་དག་རྫུན་ལས་ལ་གོམ་པའི་བརྙན་འཕྲིན་ཁང་དང་། ཚགས་པར་དེ་དག་གི་རྗེས་འབྲང་སྟེ་བོད་མིར་ལྟ་ཕྱོགས་མི་ལེགས་པ་བཟུང་ནས་སྐྱོན་བརྗོད་དང་མཚངས་འབྲུ་སོགས་བྱས་པ་ཐལ་དྲགས་པས། སྔོན་ཆད་ཁ་ཞེ་གཏིང་གསུམ་ནས་རྒྱ་རིགས་སྤུན་ཟླ་དང་། ཏང་དང་སྲིད་གཞུང་ལ་དགའ་བའི་བོད་རིགས་སློབ་བུ་དང་ལས་བྱེད་པ་དག་ལ་ད་ལོར་བརྡབ་གསིག་ཆེན་པོ་ཞིག་ཐེབས་ཤིང་། ད་དུང་ཤ་མཁོན་ཞེས་པ་ཞིག་ཀྱང་རང་ཤུགས་ཀྱིས་སེམས་ལ་བཞག་པ་ལྟ་བུ་ཞིག་བཟོས་སོང་། འདི་ཡང་ཁྱོད་ཚོས (འདི་ནི་ནོར་འཁྲུལ་གྱིས་བྱ་ལས་དེ་འདྲ་བརྩོན་མཁན་དག་ལ་བཤད་པ་ཡིན།) བྱ་ལས་གང་ཞིག་གནད་ལ་མ་ཁེལ་བའི་ནག་ཉེས་ལས་ཅི་ཞིག་ཡིན་ཨང་།

སྐབས་དེ་དག་དུ། ང་ཚོ་ཡར་མར་ལ་འགྲོ་བའི་ལམ་བུ་དེ་ཡང་ཆེས་གུ་དོག་པོ་ཞིག་ཏུ་བསྒྱུར་ཏེ་ང་ཚོའི་འགྲོ་འདུག་སྤྱོད་གསུམ་ལ་བཀག་སྡོམ་རབ་དང་རིམ་པ་བྱས་ཤིང་། དམག་མིའི་མེ་མདའི་མཆུ་ཁར་སྐྲག་སྔངས་འཇིག་གསུམ་གྱིས་དེད་པ། ད་དུང་ང་ཚོའི་སེམས་ཀྱི་དྲོད་དང་། རེ་བའི་རྒྱབ་རི་ལྟ་བའི་ཡིད་བཞིན་ནོར་བུའི་པར་རིས་ཙམ་རིག་ན་ཡང་དེ་མ་ཐག་མཐོང་ས་རིག་ས་ནས་རྡོག་རྫིས་གཏོང་བ་དང་། གཡས་གཤེག་གཡོན་གཤེག་བྱེད་པ། ཆད་པ་ནན་མོ་གཅོད་པ། དུས་བཀག་བྱས་པ། མཐོང་ཆུང་དང་བརྙེས་བཅོས་སོགས་ཀྱི་དམོད་ཚིག་ཅི་དགར་འདོན་པ་སོགས་ནི་མི་རིགས་ཁ་བྲལ་དུ་གཏོང་བའི་བྱེད་ལས་ཉག་གཅིག་རེད་ཅེས་བརྗོད་རྒྱུ་ཡིན་ལ། ང་ཚོའི་སེམས་ཀྱི་དུང་བ་གཅོད་མ་ཐུབ་ཀྱི་བར་ཏུ་ཁྱོད་ཚོས་འབྲས་བུ་མེད་པའི་བྱ་ལས་གང་འདྲ་བརྩོན་ན་ཡང་། དེས་ནི་ང་ཚོ་ཆིག་སྒྲིལ་དང་བརྩེ་ཞེན་གྱི་ནུས་པ་ཆེ་ནས་ཆེ་རུ་འགྲོ་བ་ལས་གཞན་ གང་ལ་ཤུགས་རྐྱེན་ཐེབ་ནུས་མ་ཡིན།

སྤྱིར་དམག་མི་སུ་དང་གང་ཡིན་ན་ཡང་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་བདེ་འཇག་དང་། མི་དམངས་མཐུན་སྒྲིལ། སྤྱི་ཚོགས་ཡར་རྒྱས་སོགས་ལ་ལེགས་རྗེས་འབུལ་མཁན་གྱི་དཔའ་བོའི་སྡེ་ཁག་ཅིག་ཡིན་པར་ཁོ་བོས་སྔ་མོ་ནས་ཡིད་ཆེས་བཅང་ཡོད་ན་ཡང་། ད་ལོ་ནི་དེ་ལས་ལྡོག་སྟེ་མི་རིགས་ཀྱི་ཞེན་ཕྱོགས་ཆེ་བ། ཚེ་སྲོག་སྣང་མེད་དུ་གཏོང་བ། རྐུ་འཕྲོག་བཅོམ་གསུམ་ལ་མཁས་པ། བཙན་དབང་རང་ལུགས་ལ་བྱང་བ། ཁྲེལ་མེད་ལུགས་མེད་ལ་མོས་པའི་དཔུང་སྡེ་རྔམས་མཐུག་པ་ཞིག (འདི་ནི་ད་ལོར་རྔ་བ་ས་ཁུལ་དང་། ཀན་ལྷོ་ས་ཁུལ་སོགས་གཙོར་བྱས་ནས་བཤད་པ་ཡིན།) གི་རང་གཟུགས་ཕྱིར་བསྟན་པ་འདིས། རང་སེམས་ཀྱི་ཡིད་ཆེས་གཙང་མ་དེ་ཡང་གཙང་བཤག་བྱས་སོང་། དེ་ཡང་དམག་མི་ཁ་ཅིག་དང་། ས་གནས་སྲིད་གཞུང་འགའ་ཞིག་གིས་བྱས་པའི་ནག་ཉེས་ཡིན་ན་ཁྱོད་ཚོ་ནི་མི་རིགས་ཁ་བྲལ་དུ་གཏོང་མཁན་གྱི་གཏེ་བོ་ཉག་གཅིག་རེད་ཅེས་བརྗོད་རྒྱུ་ཡིན།

ད་དུང་སྤྱི་བདེ་ལས་ཁུངས་དང་། དམག་མིའི་ལས་ཁུངས། ཏང་གི་ལས་ཁུངས་སོགས་ནས་མི་བདེན་བདེན་རྫུན་གྱི་ཡར་ཞུའི་ཡིག་ཚོགས་མང་བོ་ཀྲུང་དབྱང་གི་མདུན་དུ་སྤུངས་ནས་དམངས་སྒོར་ཁྲི་འབུམ་མང་བོའི་ཁེ་བཟང་དང་རྒྱལ་ཁ་ལེན་ཞོར་ཁྲེལ་མེད་ལུགས་མེད་དང་། ཕྱི་བཞོག་གཉའ་གནོན་གྱི་ལས་རིགས་སྣ་ཚོགས་ཚོམ་མེད་དུ་ལས་ཀྱིན་ཡོད་པ་འདི་ཚོ་ཡང་། མི་རིགས་ཁ་བྲལ་གཏོང་མཁན་གྱི་གཏེ་བོ་ཉག་གཅིག་ཅི་ལ་མིན་སོང་། ད་དུང་ས་གནས་སྲིད་གཞུང་ག་གེ་མོས་གོང་རིམ་སྲིད་གཞུང་ལ་ངོ་དགའ་བྱ་ཆེད་དང་། རང་གི་གོ་གནས་གོང་འཕེལ་གྱི་ཕྱིར་ཏུ་ཚབ་ཆེ་བས་ལས་ཀ་སྣ་ཚོགས་སྤེལ་བས་རང་ཉིད་སྐྱོན་ལ་འཐོག་པའི་ལོ་རྒྱུས་ཀྱང་བྱུང་ཡོད་པ་རེད།

རྒྱལ་ཁབ་བདེ་འཇགས་དང་བརྟན་བརླིང་ལ་གནོད་པའི་ལས་རིགས་ཚབ་ཆེ་བ་འདི་འདྲ་ཚོམས་མེད་དུ་ལས་ཀྱིན་ཡོད་ན། ཀྲུང་དབྱང་གིས་ཀྱང་མིག་གཡས་ཞར་བའི་ལོང་བ་དང་རྣ་གཡས་འོན་པའི་ལྐུག་པ་ལྟ་བུ་བྱས་ཏེ་སྡོད་དོན་ཅི་ལ་ཡོད། བླ་མ་ནོར་ན་ཡང་ཆོག དཔོན་པོ་ནོར་ན་ཡང་རུང་། སྲིད་གཞུང་ནོར་ན་ཡང་ཆོག་སྟེ་ནོར་འཁྲུལ་ཡོད་པའི་མི་དེ་རིགས་མི་དམངས་ཀྱི་མདུན་དུ་ཡར་ལངས་ཏེ་དག་སེལ་ཞུ་རན་ལ་བསླེབ་ཟིན། དེ་ལྟར་བྱས་ན་མི་རིགས་མཐུན་སྒྲིལ་ཡར་རྒྱས་དང་། འཆམ་མཐུན་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་འཛུག་བསྐྲུན་ལ་ནུས་པ་བླ་ལྷག་གིས་འདོན་པར་ང་ཚོས་ཡིད་ཆེས་བཅང་ཆོག་ཆོག་ཡིན།

ཕྱོགས་གཅིག་གིས (རྒྱ་རིགས་སྤུན་ཟླ་དང་བོད་རིགས་སྤུན་ཟླ་གཉིས་ལ་གོ་ཆོག།) ཨ་ཙི། མི་རིགས་འདི་ནི་ཅི་འདྲའི་འཇིགས་སུང་རུང་བ་ཞིག མི་རིགས་འདི་ང་ཚོར་འདི་འདྲའི་སྡང་དོན་གང་གིས་ལན་ནམ། ཁོ་ཚོས་དམིགས་བཀར་གྱིས་ང་ཚོའི་སྤུན་ཟླ་དག་ལ་ཤ་མཁོན་དང་རྡུང་རྡེག་འདི་འདྲ་གཏོང་དོན་གང་ཡིན་ནམ། རྫུན་ལས་གཡོ་ལས་སོགས་བྱེད་ལས་སྣ་ཚོགས་ཀྱིས་བསྐྱེད་པའི་བསམ་བྱ་སྣ་ཚོགས་པ་ཞིག་གིས། ཐ་ན་གླ་བྱེད་རླངས་འཁོར་བསྐོར་མཁན་དག་ལའང་བོད་རིགས་ཟེར་དུས་སེམས་ལ་གཟེར་ཤད་རྒྱག་པ་ཞིག་དང་། བོད་མི་ཟེར་དུས་མིག་ལ་འཛེར་འོངས་པའི་གདོན་རྫས་ལྟ་བུ་ཞིག་གི་བག་ཆགས་བཞག་ཡོད་པ་རེད།

སྤྱིར་བཤད་ན་རྒྱ་རིགས་དང་བོད་རིགས་གཉིས་ནི་དུས་ཡུན་རིང་བོའི་ལོ་རྒྱུས་ཁྲོད་གཅིག་གིས་གཅིག་ལ་རོགས་རམ་བྱེད་མྱོང་བ་དང་། ཕན་ཚུན་ལ་མཛའ་བརྩེ་དང་བརྩི་བཀུར་བྱས་མྱོང་བའི་སྤུན་ཟླ་ལེགས་པོ་ཞིག་ཡིན་ངེས་ན་ཡང་ད་ལོ་ནི་དེ་ལས་ལྡོག་སྟེ་སུ་ཞིག་གི་སེམས་པར་དགྲ་བོ་ལྟ་བུའི་འདུ་ཤེས་རྫོབ་པོ་ཞིག་བཞག་སོང་ལ། འདུ་ཤེས་དེ་ནི་མི་རིགས་མཐུན་སྒྲིལ་ཇེ་དམ་དུ་གཏོང་བྱེད་ཅིག་ཏུ་འགྱུར་ཡོད་དམ། མི་རིགས་མཐུན་སྒྲིལ་ལ་གཏོར་བརླག་ཡོང་བྱེད་ཅིག་ཏུ་གྱུར་ཡོད། དེ་ནི་སྲིད་གཞུང་དང་དཔོན་པོ་ཚོས་འདང་རྒྱག་དགོས་ས་ཞིག་དང་། འདང་རྒྱག་རིན་ཡོད་པ། འདང་བརྒྱབ་ནས་དོན་མཐུན་གྱི་ལས་ཀ་ཡང་དག་ཅིག་ལས་རྒྱུ་ནི་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་སྲ་བརྟན་དུ་གཏོང་བའི་རྨང་རྡོའི་ལས་གཞི་ལྟ་བུ་ལགས་ན་ཕྱི་བཤོལ་དུ་ཤོར་རུང་བ་ཞིག་གཏན་ནས་མ་ཡིན།

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“Who are the real separatists?”

Information dissemination is the most important tool in carrying out any kind of action or campaign. However, if one’s ways of spreading information crosses the standard norms then that campaign is bound to become a meaningless stammer of a drunken man.

This year the peaceful Tibetan protesters were infiltrated and were misled to a wrong path. The China Television, Lhasa TV and others, while ignoring the truth, have excessively branded all Tibetans as separatists. This has caused an incurable communal injury between the Chinese brothers and sisters, and Tibetans leading to Chinese disliking the Tibetans and Tibetans holding animosity towards the Chinese. I, as a person, am forced to accept the fact that this was the biggest factor caused split among the nationalities.

Tibetans are driven to a desperate position because of them being accused of doing things, which they never did, and small incidents were exaggerated and paraded before the world. Even Tibetans who worked for the party for over two to three decades were accused and the Chinese news media, the experts that they are in fabricating lies, went to schools and universities where there are only a handful of Tibetan students to accuse them and to witch hunt them. Such excessive misinformation and wrongful acts have caused a huge chasm and disturbance in the minds of Tibetan officials and students who have absolute love for Chinese brothers and sisters and liking for the Communist Party of China. This has left a feeling of ‘racial hatred’ in their minds. This is the negative consequence of their incompetent reporting.

Under these circumstances our freedom of movements are restricted by roadblocks, checkpoints and ever-present military personals with guns pointed at us. I must strongly assert that confiscating the photographs of our beloved leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, by burning them, and stamping them under the soldiers’ boots are the real causes of splitting the people. Detention of Tibetans for possessing His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s photographs, disparaging them for putting His Holiness’ pictures on their altars are the real causes of split amongst the nationalities. Unless you [the Chinese Government] are able to break our love and respect in our hearts, all your fruitless campaigns and activities will only strengthen our unity and love for one Tibetan brother to another.

I have always believed that soldiers are heroes protecting national security, building harmony amongst people and helping economic developments. However, this year all these proved wrong because of their biased actions, killing of innocent people, their plundering and ransacking of properties and shops, their expertise in suppressing dissents and their lawless marauding style. I state this based on facts and the actual events as it happened in Ngapa regions of Amdo and Kanlho regions [in Eastern Tibet.] If these things happened because of a few military officers and officials in local administration, then I can strongly say that you are the real agents splitting the nationalities.

Moreover, people at the local Public Security Bureaus, military and regional Communist Party cadres piled a large amount of fabricated, negative information and petitions in front of the Central Government in order to obtain huge sums of money to fund their so-called victories against protests and to continue their suppressive actions. How are these actions not meant to split the nationalities? A series of large-scale policy mistakes were made because the local level cadres were busy trying to please their bosses in the higher levels.

Why is the Communist Party of China silent like a man with one eye closed and ears gone deaf in face of such unlimited actions carried out to harm the unity of the nation and stability of the country? Lamas may make mistakes, leaders may make mistakes and the government too can make mistakes. But the time has come for those people responsible for causing harms and disunity be paraded before the public and be made answerable for their mistakes. If this can be done, we will still have some faith in improving our relationship with other nationalities and to build a harmonious society.

An image is built in the minds of both the Chinese people and Tibetan brothers and sisters of the other side as someone who is to be scared of and to have hatred towards each other. We ask: Why must they beat and torture our brothers and sisters this way? And by lying and fabricating wrong views, we have come to a state where even a Tibetan truck driver is scorned. The general impression being created is that of Tibetans as people who are not even worth to look at.

When we talk in more general terms, Tibetan and Chinese people have a long tradition of helping each other and have deep mutual respect and admiration. However, the portrayal of Tibetans in Chinese official media this year has left an image of Tibetans as enemies. Has this become a factor that would improve harmony or has it become a cause for its destruction? This is an issue that the leaders must think about; this is an issue that is worth thinking about because the harmony of the nation will be build on this foundation by taking positives actions on it. This is something that is never too late to pursue.

(Translated from Tibetan by Bhuchung D. Sonam)

Gade Tsering

Gade Tsering portrait
Photo: ©

Gade Tsering དགའ་བདེ་ཚེ་རིང་།

Gade Tsering is a prolific poet from Amdo, who writes in Tibetan and Chinese. He is very popular amongst Tibetan netizens and has previously also received official recognition for his work, including “National Top 10 Minority Poet” and “2006 Northwest Outstanding Poet”. Gade Tsering”s Chinese language blog ( is one of the most read, not only among Tibetan readers, but it is also popular among Chinese readers.


我是藏人 (I am Tibetan)

















































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“I am Tibetan”

Because I’m Tibetan, every time I salute Mother Nature in awe:
The snow-covered mountains, the grasslands, the azure sky and the lakes,
I cannot help but throw my bloated body into her bosom. Because I know
She never rejects those who she loves.

Did you know?

“It was here my fellows had been imprisoned;
It was here the Defender of Faith of Chushi Gangdruk had been defeated.

It is here the smoke of the burning branches of mulberry trees swirl,
And the sound of spiral shell horns can be heard,
The roofs are flanked with coloured Sutra banners;
It is here, the chest of the plateau, my home,



In the early morning I offer a bowl of purified water to Buddha,
I will no longer ask for more: the existence of Tibet,
Which has completed my life and repelled my fear of loss.

It is here I have encountered you
As well as all living things.
It is here I have experienced the feeling of love,
As well as the feeling of being loved.

Because I am a Tibetan,
I always firmly believe in history,
Always firmly believe
In the existence of sacred spirit.


I hear different languages of different groups. In my mother tongue, crying;
Those from blacksmiths, farmers, hunters,
From prostitutes, businessmen, vendors

I already disdain the scenes I’m seeing;
Although sometimes I still sing the Song of Emancipated Serfs,
I can recognize a guy with the sissy tone in his dialect must be a Shandong guy,
I can recognize a chick in the ugly photographer’s vest is a Sichuan chick.

At this moment, I’m touching the damaged Buddha,
Wondering how it should be possible
That a month later all these people would gesture and speak in astonishment:
“Since Tibetans have religious beliefs, how can a Lama kill people?”
I think everything is dreadful for a reason.

Where else could we head for,
If the whole land is darkened by night?


Because I’m a Tibetan, I have
A lot of memories:

“The monkey and the demoness
With the nature of getting along with Mother Nature in harmony,
And, the Tibet Empire and the Tibetan song of Gesar orally passed from generation to generation.

Because I’m a Tibetan,
I have been suffering from a life in misery;
Because I’m a Tibetan,
I have obtained enough comfort.

But it is in this autocratic winter
I composed this poem!


“Her eyes and the wrinkles on her palms are Tibetan,
Her name, Tibetan,
Her dreams and sorrows, Tibetan,
Her belief, her legs and body, Tibetan,
Her language and her silence, Tibetan,
Her voice, Tibetan,
Her birth and death, Tibetan” [1]


How wonderful it is
To dream of parents!
I deeply believe that at this moment
I’m no longer in sorrow.

In this snowy night,
I get up to light a butter lamp.
I decide to take the prayer beads off my waist
And pray to Buddha.

At this moment, the night seems so real and profound.


Celestial burial is
Not frightening at all,
In my eyes;
In your eyes.

Because I’m a Tibetan,
I understand myself.


This time the rejection is
Related to your identity.
I said,
The Tibetan knife I carry with me every day is
Not for killing other lives.
You always wonder if in this world there ever exists a place

“Speak Tibetan because you are a Tibetan,
Celebrate Losar because you are a Tibetan.”

In my mother tongue I answered,
“Life and death are separated from each other.
I said I carry a knife with me
Because I soberly know who I am
And I want to intimidate myself.


There they came on a Saturday afternoon.
There they came, in buses appearing as armoured cars.
There they came, with buzzing saws, ropes and other equipment.
There they came, the seven workers.
There they came, the seven devils.
There they came, holding beer bottles like flowers, drunk.
There they came, in camouflaged green outfits.

With bright red faces,
in black leather shoes,
There they came… [2]


I am Tibetan,
I want to worship my gods in awe.
I am Tibetan,
I want to partake in all my religious festivals.
I am a Buddhist and I
Won’t allow anyone to take away this
baptism of mine.


How far must I go to arrive in the land of Tibet?
How far must I go to meet my parents?
How far must I go to wear Tibetan clothes?

We are heading for Lhasa.
The festered feet as the proof,
That our bruised bodies and hearts are

The garden is silent;
In the form of an eagle
Lhasa is flying.
Drawing near the thunder,
Comes soon the rain!


Because we are Tibetan,
We are treated differently from other minorities:
Enduring aggravating discrimination, imprisonment, torture and death.
Because I am Tibetan,
I am no longer in fear of anything.
Still a courageous Buddhist,
I lit many lights before our honoured Gods
In memory of my dead brethren
Just as usual.

Speaking in my mother tongue, I deeply believe that
At this moment, I feel peaceful and blessed!

Because I am Tibetan, I often ask
Apart from in Tibet, where else could we find a piece of land of the exiled
with such rich poetic sentiments?

February 10, 2010.

[1] An imitation of the poem “The Lover from Palestine” by the Arabian poet Mohamed Darwish
[2] An excerpt from “Saturday Morning” by the Iraqi poet Yusuf

[Translation: High Peaks Pure Earth –]


Tashi Rabten (The’u rang)

Tashi Rabten portrait

Tashi Rabten (The’u rang)  བཀྲིས་རབ་བརྟན། ༼ཐེའུ་རང་།༽

[Update: According to a report in the Tibet Times, Tashi Rabten was sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment by Ngaba intermediate court on 2 June 2011.] A student at the Northwest Nationalities University in Lanzhou, Tashi Rabten was detained on 6 April 2010; he is the editor of a banned literary magazine on the 2008 protests in Tibet and author of ‘Written in Blood’ about which he wrote: “After an especially intense year of the usual soul-destroying events, something had to be said, and after pondering on whether to speak out, I finally produced this humble little book between 2008-09, shed like a drop of blood.”

The following poem, “Ruddy-faced People” was written after the protests of 2008.



ཡར་ལ་ལོངས་དང་། གདོང་དམར་བ།
ཁ་བ་ཅན། རང་དབང་གི་སྟ་གོན་ལ་ཆས་ཆོག

ཡར་ལ་ལོངས་དང་། གདོང་དམར་བ།
ཁ་བ་ཅན། རང་དབང་གི་སྟ་གོན་ལ་ཆས་ཆོག

གླུ་ཚིག་འདི་ནི་ན་ནིང་གི་ལས་འགུལ་ཆེན་མོའི་གཞུག་ཏུ་བྲིས་པ་ཞིག་ཡིན་འདུག་ལ།དེ་སྔོན་རང་ཉིད་བཀག་ཉར་ལྷོད་གྲོལ་བྱུང་བའི་ཉིན་མོར་ཕ་ཡུལ་གྱི་གྲོགས་པོ་ཞིག་གིས་དབྱངས་རྟ་སྙན་མོ་ཞིག་དང་སྦྱར་ནས་བླངས་མྱོང་ལ། གྲོགས་པོ་མང་པོ་ཞིག་གིས་སེམས་པ་སྒུལ་སོང་ཞེས་ཏེ་གདེངས་འཇོག་མི་དམན་པ་རེའང་བྱས་སོང་།དེ་རིང་འདི་རུ་བཀོད་དེ་རྣམ་པ་ཚོས་དཔྱད་བསྡུར་ལ་རེ་བ་ཡིན།

ཡོང་ཁུངས། གཡུ་ཞུན་ཟིན་བྲིས།

“Ruddy Faced People”

Time is running out,
Lake Mapham’s waves remind [us] of our suffering.
Rise up, ruddy faced people!
Ancestor’s war-horse is trotting on the chest of this vast plateau,
ride it along the banks of the Yarlung [1] river
and if we gather on top of the Red Hill [2],
then we can work for our freedom, people of the Land of Snow.

History is filled with stories of bloodshed,
Machen mountain’s splendour reminds [us] of animosity.
Rise up, ruddy faced people!
Truth is searching for the soul of great ancestors,
it runs through the mountains and valleys of Tibet’s three provinces,
and if it enters the heart of black headed Tibetans,
then we can work for our freedom, people of the Land of Snow.

[1] Yarlung: the valley in central Tibet where Tibetan civilization is said to have first begun. Tibet’s first and only dynasty is the Yarlung dynasty.
[2] Red Hill: the hill on which the Potala Palace was built

[Translation: Tenzin Jigme.]

Tragyal [Shogdung]

Shogdung portrait

Tragyal [Shogdung] བཀྲ་རྒྱལ། ༼ཞོགས་དུང་།༽

Tragyal (pen name Shogdung) is a Tibetan writer and intellectual, who is believed to be on bail, awaiting trial. He was detained on 23 April 2010 but released on 14 October 2010 and allowed to return home, apparently with his trial still pending. He is the author of the book, “The Line between Sky and Earth” (gnam sa go ‘byed གནམ་ས་གོ་དབྱེད།), published illegally in March 2009. The work has been described by journalist Andrew Jacobs as “a poetic and painstakingly crafted indictment of Chinese rule”, which includes a call for Tibetan bureaucrats and intelligentsia to stop cooperating with Beijing and wage a campaign of civil disobedience. The International Campaign for Tibet reports that Tragyal has been described by sources as achieving the status of a “hero” among Tibetans  and his book is selling widely underground. Describing the risks he was taking in publishing “The Line Between Sky and Earth”, Tragyal writes: “I have written of four fears, the fear of contemplating the cruelty of the régime, fear of the danger of government and individuals falling into extreme nationalism, fear for one’s own life and wellbeing, and fear for the future, and at this point, I have one more fear. I am naturally terrified at the thought that once this essay has been made public, I will eventually have to endure the hot hells and cold hells on earth. I may ‘lose my head because of my mouth,’ but this is the path I have chosen, so the responsibility is mine.”

During Tragyal’s detention he was understood to have been held in Xining No. 1 Detention Center. The news of his release was provided by his lawyer, Li Fangping.



Download Shogdung's book here: Click on the Image

ཕྱི་ལ་བལྟས་ཏེ་བཤད་ན། དེང་དུས་ཡོངས་ཁྱབ་རིན་ཐང་གི་ཕྱིར་དུ་འཐབ་རྩོད་བྱེད་པ་གང་ཡང་ས་གནས་དེ་ཙམ་མ་ཡིན་པར་འཛམ་གླིང་སྤྱི་ཡི་གནད་དོན་ཞིག་ཏུ་ཆགས་འདུག བོད་ཀྱི་གནད་དོན་ཡང་དེ་བཞིན་འཛམ་གླིང་ཀུན་གྱིས་ཤེས་པའི་གནད་དོན་ཞིག་ཏུ་ཆགས་བཟོ་འདུག བོད་ཀྱི་གནད་དོན་ཞེས་ཀྱང་རུང་། བོད་ཀྱི་དཀའ་ཉོག་ཅེས་ཀྱང་བླ། ལྷ་སའི་དོན་རྐྱེན་ཟེར་ཡང་འདྲ། གང་ལྟར་བོད་དུ་ལྷགས་པའི་གནད་དོན་འདི་ནི། དབང་སྡེམ་སྒེར་གཅོད་པས་བོད་དུ་གནད་དོན་མེད་མདོག་གིས་བོད་རྣམས་ལེགས་པོ་ཆེན་པོའི་དུས་སྐབས་སུ་གནས་ཡོད་ཅེས་དང་། བོད་རྣམས་བརྟན་འཇགས་ལྷིང་ཆགས་སུ་ཡོད་ཅེས་བཤད་པ་ལྟ་བུ་གཏན་ནས་མ་ཡིན་པར། གནད་དོན་ལྷགས་འདུག་པ་གཞིར་བཞག་དང་། གནད་དོན་དེ་ཡང་ཤིན་ཏུ་རབ་ཏུ་ཚབས་ཆེན་གྱི་ངང་ལ་ཡོད་པ་ཕྱི་གསལ་ནང་གསལ་རེད། ཡོངས་གྲགས་བོད་ཀྱི་གནད་དོན་འདི། འཛམ་གླིང་དུ་མི་བསད་ཁྲག་སྦྱོར་གྱི་འཐབ་ར་གསར་པ་ཞིག་ཏུ་མ་ཆགས་སྔོན་ལ། གནད་དོན་ཆེན་པོ་ཞིག་གི་ཚད་ནས་ངོས་འཛིན་བྱེད་མིན་ནི་འཛམ་གླིང་ཆབ་སྲིད་པ་ རྣམས་ཀྱི་བློ་གཤོག་ཆེ་མིན་ལ་རག་ལས་འདུག་ལ། བོད་ཀྱི་གནད་དོན་འདི་ལོ་རྒྱུས་དང་གནས་བབ། དོན་དངོས་ཀྱི་ཆ་སོགས་ནས་གྲོས་མོལ་བྱེད་རྒྱུ་ཡོད་པར་མ་ཟད། བོད་མིའི་མང་མོས་རྨང་གཞིའི་སྟེང་ནས་ཐག་གཅོད་བྱེད་རྒྱུ་ཡོད་པ་བཤད་མ་དགོས། གང་ལྟར་གནད་དོན་ནི་ཐག་གཅོད་མི་བྱེད་རང་བྱེད་ཆགས་འདུག

Concluding paragraph from Shogdung’s book, “The Line between Sky and Earth”:

Nowadays, fighting for universally recognised freedoms is an accepted fact in this world. The Tibet issue seems to be widely recognised in the world as well. What has happened in Tibet – it doesn’t matter what title you give it; the Tibet issue, Tibet’s struggle, or the Lhasa incident – is a situation where the dictators are trying to cover up grievances with propaganda messages  describing superbly happy Tibetans and a stable Tibet. But it is far from the truth. The truth is, as everyone knows, is that there is a Tibet issue and it is grave. For Tibet to not become a new scene of bloodshed, the world’s political leaders must stand firm in recognizing the urgency of the Tibet issue. Considering the Tibet issue holistically – its history, situation and practicalities – one sees that this issue can be resolved through dialogue. There is no doubt that there is a consensus amongst Tibetans for a resolution. The Tibet issue must be resolved.