5 May 2017 – In an audience with Jennifer Clement, President of PEN International, and Carles Torner, Executive Director, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said yesterday in Dharamsala that he was pleased to hear of PEN International´s constant support for Tibetan writers. He also told PEN that the defence of the exiled Tibetan people was the defence of Universal Human Rights and underscored that political rights were also an issue as Tibetans have the right to self-government. At the core of his vision, however, is how to save Tibet from the destruction of the land and rivers by Chinese authorities. These rivers, he explained, descend from Tibet and give life of over one billion people.
When the president of PEN told him about PEN’s work for writers in exile, he said, “I give you my full support.” His Holiness also had a message for the PEN community urging them to “practice a peaceful mind for a compassionate world.”
The audience was part of a visit that PEN International made to the Tibetan Writers Abroad PEN Centre, based in Dharamsala, India. The delegation met with many Tibetan authorities including the Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, the Minister of Education, and the Director of Tibet Policy Institute. Meetings were also held with His Holiness the Karmapa, Kirti Rinpoche and Samdhong Rinpoche and the delegation also went to temples and nunneries where activities are organised by PEN Tibet.
In an assembly attended by over sixty members of the centre, the PEN Tibet President Lhoudoup Palsang, Secretary Nyima Tso, Writers in Prison Committee Chair Lokdun and the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee, Chair Budda Kyab presented the recent activities of PEN Tibet: four books have been published, which were smuggled out of Tibet and edited and printed in India; a detailed report on freedom of expression and imprisoned writers in Tibet; the monthly newsletter, which is sent to the Tibetan writers in France, the US, Canada and several Indian cities; as well as workshops held in institutes, monasteries and nunneries. In April, at the PEN Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee meeting in Bangalore, India, PEN Tibet presented a report (by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy) on the systematic replacement of the Tibetan language by Mandarin Chinese in the Tibetan Schools.