Famous Tibetan poet sues China for passport

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London, July 25 : One of Tibet's most famous poets has been waiting for over a thousand days to get a passport from the Chinese Government.

According to The Independent, Woeser has been waiting 1,151 days for a passport, even though she is a resident in Beijing.

She has now decided to sue the authorities to get the document.

"In China, no matter whether you are from Beijing or Changchun, it is always very easy and convenient to apply for a passport. The procedure is quite simple. Within 15 days of their application, they will get a passport. But such an easy procedure is quite unbelievable for a Tibetan.

"For the past three years, I made many phone calls to ask why, but the government did not give me any clear answer. They just did all they could to delay me," the paper quotes Woeser, as saying.

She believes that her request has a slim chance of being accepted, but she is totally convinced it needs to be made, as the world's attention is firmly focused on China, with the Olympic Games just two weeks away.

Woeser is a famous figure in Beijing and the best known blogger on Tibetan subjects in China.

She is 42 years old, slight, and very courageous. Her books are banned in China, and security agents watch her apartment. Her blogs get shut down and she must come up with new addresses to dodge the authorities.

She has worked tirelessly for the issues that affect Tibetans, and writes a blog on controversial subjects such as Aids, prostitution, the destruction of the fragile Tibetan environment and the new railway that has become a focus for anti-Chinese sentiment.

As one China watcher put it, she is the "poet who forgot to be afraid".

Woeser is more modest. "I am a writer. I write articles and books. Maybe the government does not like my words and is not satisfied with what I'm saying," is how she describes what others have called "risks that are off the chart".

She may now be one of the most strident voices of dissent today, but her childhood was altogether more conventional. Her parents were loyal communists, and her half-Chinese, half-Tibetan father was a deputy commander in Tibet for the People's Liberation Army.

Woeser was born in 1966 - the start of the Cultural Revolution - and growing up in Lhasa, she remembers being devoted to Chairman Mao. When she left to go to high school, and later university, in neighbouring Sichuan province, the torrent of doubts and questions began.

Since registering her petition with the Changchun Intermediate People's Court, she has not heard a word.

ANI

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