A report by Washington Post China Bureau Chief Simon Denyer on a Tibetan woman’s death that was silenced by police won a Human Rights Award from the Foreign Correspondents Club, Hong Kong (FCCHK) at an event on May 13, 2017.
Correspondent Simon Denyer’s article, “A woman’s gruesome hanging shocked Tibet — but police have silenced all questions,” was chosen in the English Spot News category. Simon had traveled to Tibet to follow the story of the death of 27-year-old Tsering Tso, who was found hanged by a small bridge near her home, and published the report in August 2016. Simon’s report followed the publication in English, translated by ICT, of a rare appeal to Xi Jinping by a group of Tibetan villagers in Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) whose attempts to seek justice for the death of a local woman were met with a brutal crackdown by police acting in complicity with local officials.
The Human Rights Awards are jointly organized by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong, Amnesty International Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Journalists Association. According to a statement by FCCHK, they were “the first such honours created in Asia and are the region’s top awards for human rights-related reporting.” There were 122 submissions from English-language print and broadcast media and 58 photojournalism entries.
Simon Denyer also won first place in the National Headliner Awards in the U.S. for his series of reports, ‘Tibetan Voices.’
Simon Denyer took advantage of a government-run trip to Tibet to decrypt inflated tourism statistics, reporting that according to experts: “Visitor arrivals were massaged to meet official targets, and bolstered as political spin to enhance the reputation and perceived performance of the tourism industry and to ensure personal promotions within the competitive government hierarchy.”
In his piece about the transformation of Tibet, he wrote: “Mostly, critics say, Tibetans are neither consulted nor empowered as their land is transformed. The top jobs and most of the profits are being cornered by companies and people from elsewhere in China — fueling the kind of inequality and resentment that contributed to riots in Tibet in 2008.”
According to the Washington Post the National Headliner Award is one of the oldest and largest contests in the country and “recognizes journalistic merit in the communications industry.”
Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “We congratulate Simon Denyer on these two major awards recognizing his insightful and powerful writing on Tibet. This recognition demonstrates the importance of journalists being able to see for themselves the reality on the ground in Tibet. For decades, restricted access to Tibet for independent observers, journalists and diplomats has raised serious concerns as it has allowed the Chinese government to oppress Tibetans without accountability.”
The International Campaign for Tibet has welcomed the re-introduction of bipartisan legislation in the US Congress – the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act – to promote travel by American diplomats, journalists and citizens to Tibetan areas where access is routinely denied by Chinese authorities.