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Popular Tibetan Writer Barred from Receiving Award

Tibetan Writer Woeser in traditional Tibetan dress

A Beijing-based Tibetan dissident writer has been prevented from receiving a cultural award Thursday at the Dutch ambassador's residence in Beijing.

In a Skype interview, Tsering Woeser told VOA Tibetan that the Chinese police barred her from attending a low-key private ceremony where she was to receive the 2011 Prince Claus Fund award, presented annually to individuals, groups and organizations for their outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development.

The Dutch fund says on its website that they are honoring “courageous Tibetan writer” Woeser for her “active commitment to self-determination, freedom and development in Tibet.”

The Beijing-based Tibetan writer is currently under house arrest. Woeser writes that the State security police have warned her against going anywhere without their permission.

“State Police showed up at my residence today. They said you cannot go to the embassy. We will stop you from going. It is best if you do not go to collect the award,” she said.

Beijing police had no immediate comment, reported Associated Press.

The Chairman of the Fund HRH Prince Frisco was originally supposed to present the award but he was refused a visa to visit China, writes Woeser on her much-read blog. She says the Netherlands Embassy was also warned by Beijing officials against presenting the award to her.

Earlier recipients of the Prince Claus Award from China have not been barred from receiving the prize, Woeser said. “Why have I been made the exception? Could it be because I am Tibetan? A dissident writer? ”

The 44-year-old well-known Tibetan writer Woeser maintains a popular blog where she writes about Tibet and in the recent years her blog has become a conduit for news from the Tibetan regions where press have little or no access.

Woeser was earlier barred from leaving China to receive the 2007 Norwegian Authors Union Freedom of Expression Prize in Oslo and the International Women's Media foundation’s 2010 Courage in Journalism award in New York.