Famed Tibetan poet and blogger Woeser has a new piece that has been translated and posted on the unmissable blog High Peaks, Pure Earth. In it she writes about legal rights in Tibet and China and how the Chinese government has railroaded not only Tibetans who peacefully protested Chinese rule during the spring 2008 national uprising in Tibet, but the Chinese lawyers who sought to defend them from the absurd charges levied against them. Not only has the Chinese government tortured and disappeared Tibetans suspected of being involved in protess during the uprising, but they have denied those they do take the time to try fair and public trials and adequate legal represenation of their own choosing. The lawyers that have bravely represented them, where possible, have been subjec to sanctions on a massive scale. In short, the Chinese government’s handling of its prosecution of Tibetans who have spoken out for independence has dramatically undercut all pillars of the rule of law which should be protected by the Chinese constitution. Their fear of Tibetans’ desire for freedom has caused them to sever what little ties their constitution gave them to rule of law as maintained in a nation that is an upstanding member of the international community.
Woeser poetically closes her article with a paean to standing up for human rights:
It must be said that in real life, many of us do not understand at all, as citizens, which rights we are entitled to enjoy, or how many rights we have. Also, what does the legal system, often described as holy and sublime, eventually mean as far as citizens are concerned? I wrote in a previous article that many Tibetans have always lacked the consciousness of their rights and of how to safeguard their rights. Especially when there is high political pressure, because of extreme fear, they will not dare to fight for their own rights. However, whatever circumstances may be, we must understand what our rights are as human beings, even if under the system in this country, human rights have already been cut down greatly. We must not only understand, but also fight for and most importantly defend our rights. This is because human rights are strongly linked to human dignity and humans’ intuitive knowledge of what is right or wrong. Therefore, human rights are worth fighting for.