Prominent Chinese journalist Chang Ping, former chief commentator of the ground-breaking newspaper Southern Weekend who now lives in Germany after being forced to leave China and Hong Kong, spoke at the award ceremony about the dangers of reporting on China due to the Chinese government’s restrictions on journalists and extended reach to the outside world with the creation of new media outlets.
Filmmakers and authors Thomas Weidenbach and Shi Ming were awarded First Prize of the award, which is conferred by an independent jury, for their documentary “Struggle for Tibet”, a compelling film which reveals the strategic significance of Tibet to the Chinese leadership.
Runner-ups and winners of the Second Prize are German journalists Doreen Fiedler (“A people in exile: Tibetans and their struggle”, German Press Agency DPA) and Diana Francovic (“Journey through a quiet country”, rbb Kulturradio). The ‘Snow Lion’ awards jury, comprising German journalists Eva Corell and Andreas Lorenz and German actor, filmmaker and author Hannes Jaenicke, also gave a research grant of 2.000 Euro. German author Klemens Ludwig received an honorary mention for his piece “Humble and generous” (Südwind Magazin).
At the ceremony, Chinese journalist Chang Ping cited a Chinese saying: “If a bird is born in a cage, he believes flying is a disease” to refer to his Chinese compatriots’ lack of freedom. Chang Ping said: “Like so many of my Chinese fellow-countrymen I have been silent for many years, when it came to voicing one’s opinion on Tibet, Turkestan (Xinjiang) or about Hong Kong. Democracy, freedom, human rights and justice, the suffering of others and about my own individual rights – it has been difficult for me to give my point of view. With regard to morality and justice in this entire world I have been silent for years. And when we Chinese really resolve to open up our mouths, we have already unlearnt it.”
Chang Ping recently made a prominent rebuttal of an article by Deutsche Welle columnist Frank Sieren, who argued that some Western media outlets were unfairly critical of the Chinese government over the Tiananmen Square massacre. The controversy over Mr Sieren’s article led to a prominent Chinese government critic and blogger being fired by Deutsche Welle: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/22/world/europe/german-broadcaster-fires-chinese-blogger.html?_r=0
German actress Inés Burdow read a moving piece by Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser, who lives in Beijing, about her period under house arrest after she spoke to a German journalist who was travelling to Lhasa. The ceremony was presented by German journalist Thomas Franke.
Previous awardees were German and Austrian journalists Mara Simperler and Bernhard Bartsch (both 2013), Christine Adelhardt and Andreas Hilmer (both 2012) and radio journalist Kai Adler (2011).
Notes to Editors
1. The film ‘Struggle for Tibet’ was produced by “Längengrad” Filmproduction company on behalf of public broadcast corporations NDR and WDR, in cooperation with the Franco-German ARTE. Weidenbach and Shi were awarded with 2.000 Euro.
2. An English translation of the piece by Tsering Woeser read during the ceremony is here: http://highpeakspureearth.com/2013/house-arrest-for-the-sake-of-eliminating-any-noise-by-woeser/