Facebook Live Discussion: The Politics of the Pandemic: China, Tibet, and the Future

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On 17 April, 2020, while in lockdown, I participated in an SFT Facebook Live Discussion titled “The Politics of the Pandemic: China, Tibet, and the Future”. It was a long session but I was happy to speak alongside Dhondup Wangchen, Tenzin Tsundue and Tendor. Thank you Dorjee Tseten and SFT for the invitation!

Here is the link to the video (in Tibetan): https://www.facebook.com/StudentsforaFreeTibet/videos/580915299440830/?v=580915299440830

Support Tibetan Artists While Staying Home

For so many of us around the world, now is the time stay in but it doesn’t have to be boring or unproductive. We can all experience amazing culture and support Tibetan artists in the process!

I was recently refunded a bunch of theatre and events tickets and now that we’re facing weeks/months of isolation, it’s a good time to remind ourselves how much great art is being produced by Tibetans. I’m more than happy to re-direct the money to supporting Tibetan artists at this difficult time for them.

A lot of people forget that Tibetan artists are, more often than not, doing everything by themselves. How many Tibetan filmmakers, musicians, artists have agents, managers, assistants, producers or any kind of professional body of support? Very very few. How many Tibetan artists generously put their work online for free? Too many. This post is about how we can place value on our artistic community by GIVING THEM OUR MONEY.

So let’s start by watching the incredible Royal Café on demand and I’ll keep adding to this post as I come across other ways of giving Tibetan artists our money.

FILM

  1. ROYAL CAFE – £9.99 to buy, £4.99 to rent

MUSIC

“Heartstrings” by Tenzin Choegyal – Album price is AUD 8
https://tenzinchoegyal.bandcamp.com/releases

2. Tracks by Yesh – USD 0.99 each
https://yesh.bandcamp.com/
Amala: https://yesh.bandcamp.com/track/amala
Glass: https://yesh.bandcamp.com/track/glass
Surface: https://yesh.bandcamp.com/track/surface

 

 

Join Us! Continuation of Writing Workshops for the UK Tibetan Community

Following on from the playwriting workshops held at the Royal Court Theatre last Autumn, our writers group have decided to carry on with writing workshops this spring. We’re excited to keep going with what we’ve started and are looking to expand the group. If you are a UK based Tibetan please join us, no previous writing experience necessary! All details in the announcement below, deadline for applications is 3rd February, 2020.

Stop Apple Censorship Online Press Conference

Exactly a year after taking part in an online press conference about getting Google to drop Project Dragonfly (update: it was dropped!), several of us got together again yesterday, Human Rights Day, to tackle another tech giant, Apple.

Apple has blocked over 1000 VPNs from its App Store, delisted HKmap.live and banned the use of ‘sensitive’ terms – such as Tibet, Tiananmen and the Dalai Lama – that are blacklisted by the Chinese government from device engravings in its Apple stores in China.

Far from promoting the web as a tool for communication, Apple is facilitating it being used as a tool for incarceration. For details on what Apple has been doing, I recommend reading this report put together by TibCert: https://blog.tibcert.org/apple-app-censorship/

Our panel was made up of myself plus:

World Uyghur Congress Advocate, Zumretay Arkin
GreatFire.org Community Director, Karen Reilly
SumOfUs Senior Campaigner, Sondhya Gupta
Andy Li from Fight for Freedom; Stand with Hong Kong
Tibet Action Institute Digital Security Director, Lobsang Gyatso

Moderated by Free Tibet Campaign Director, John Jones and convened by Mandie Mckeown, International Tibet Network.

Here is the link to the full video, thank you to Mandie and the whole team for having me. Follow the campaign here: https://stopapplecensorship.online/

First Tibet Film Festival in London Took Place in November 2019!

After ten successful years in Zurich and Dharamsala, the Tibet Film Festival finally came to London in November 2019! It was my honour to co-organise the Tibet Film Festival in London along with Kunsang Kelden and an incredible team of volunteers.

Having attended the Dharamsala Film Festival in the past, we felt it was time for London to have two days completely dedicated to Tibetan filmmakers and Tibetan films. We were fortunate to have amazing venues for the two days, Deptford Cinema in Deptford, Deptford Does Art for the after party and artFix in Woolwich.

I’ll leave the photos on Instagram to speak for themselves. One thing we were proud to squeeze in as well was at the after party, we had participants from our Royal Court Playwriting Workshop read their pieces.

Thank you to our wonderful volunteers and also a special shout out to Tenzin Dasel and Pema Shitsetsang for being our main guests and for the unique work they do in our society.

Highlights from Day One:

Highlights from the after party:

Highlights from Day Two:

Introductions to the Festival:

Thank you to our team!

Playwriting Workshop for the UK Tibetan Community at the Royal Court Theatre

Tibetan-Workshop-Eflyer

Now is the time for aspiring Tibetan writers, poets, playwrights, artists or anyone interested in learning about storytelling to SIGN UP to this FREE workshop by 26th September!

There isn’t much I can add to the information already on the flyer above, the same information is on the Royal Court Theatre’s website: https://royalcourttheatre.com/what-else/participation/communities/playwriting-workshops/

Check out this fun promo video too!

Thank you to the Royal Court’s Lucy Morrison and to Carl Miller who will be leading the sessions. Can’t wait!

First Publication of Writings from High Peaks Pure Earth, Produced in Partnership with Tibet Relief Fund

Order the publication online here: http://bit.ly/HPPEbook

So thrilled to see this publication “Blossoming Broken Flowers: Selected Writings from High Peaks Pure Earth” in print, produced in partnership with the UK charity Tibet Relief Fund!

It’s been a pleasure to work together with the Tibet Relief Fund, can’t believe it’s been almost a year since they hosted the poetry event “We Were Made for Home” here in London. Even back then we’d been discussing putting a book together of writings from High Peaks Pure Earth and now we’ve done it!

The best part of doing this book is that Tibet Relief Fund will distribute free copies to Tibetan students in India and Nepal, making online writings more accessible and in particular, writings from Tibet. I’d like to offer my personal thanks to staff at Tibet Relief Fund both in UK and India for working hard on realising this project!

For a limited time, “Blossoming Broken Flowers: Selected Writings from High Peaks Pure Earth” is available for the special price of £4.99 (usual price £6.99) and can be ordered via the Tibet Relief Fund’s online shop: http://bit.ly/HPPEbook

A Joint Review of the Play “Pah-La” by Abhishek Majumdar

Tibetan Review has kindly published a joint review that I wrote along with four other UK based Tibetans, Sonam Anjatsang, Georgina Choekyi Doji, Kunsang Kelden and Tenzing Zega.

The back story to the play “Pah-La”, currently running at London’s Royal Court Theatre until 27 April, is quite long and convoluted so I won’t go into everything here. What started as concerns about the lack of Tibetans in the cast gave way to addressing larger issues about the actual content of the play. I didn’t write about the casting debacle as I didn’t feel like I had anything to add to my previous article about the 2016 play “Shangri-La”.

With this review of “Pah-La” I feel so honoured and privileged to have had four fiercely smart and passionate co-authors who were very generous with their time and with sharing their thoughts. We all want plays and stories about Tibet to succeed but with “Pah-La” something didn’t feel right so this review is the result of our many discussions.

Our stories are being told by others but talking back is the one power we can exercise.

Please read our review on Tibetan Review here: http://www.tibetanreview.net/pah-la-a-shallow-and-confusing-examination-of-tibetan-non-violent-resistance/

 

Drop Dragonfly Press Conference

I was happy to take part in an online press conference yesterday on Human Rights Day talking about the situation on the ground for Tibetans inside Tibet and the PRC in terms of using the internet and social media.

Here is the link to the full video, thank you to Mandie and International Tibet Network for having me on this great panel. Follow the campaign to get Google to drop Project Dragonfly here: https://stopgooglecensorship.online/

“We Were Made for Home” – Poetry Event in London on 5 September 2018

we were made for home speakers

This year has flown by without my managing to blog here too much. In May I spoke about Tibetans and our special relationship with Apple at RightsCon 2018 in Toronto in May  and the following month I was beamed into a UN Side Event in Geneva by the International Service for Human Rights to give an overview of freedom of expression in Tibet. A personal favourite speaking engagement of mine though was in July when I gave a talk called “Adventures in Tibetan Social Media” to the YTEC Youth Camp just outside London.

That brings me to “We Were Made for Home”, a poetry evening on Wednesday at Burley Fisher Books in East London. I’m really looking forward to talking about my work with High Peaks Pure Earth and also being in the company of young Tibetan writers and scholars. It’s not often we get Tibetan poetry nights in London so a huge thank you to Tibet Relief Fund for hosting and putting everything together!

Please join us on Wednesday if you can, the Facebook Event Page is here for all the details: https://www.facebook.com/events/2185528025060845/