A children’s book based on former political prisoner ‘Phuntsok Nyidon’ launched by ANEC

By Tsering Choephel

DHARAMSALA, 24 July: Active Nonviolence Education Center (ANEC) held a book launch ceremony today at their office in Mcleod Ganj with ex-political prisoner Phuntsok Nyidon as the guest of honour. 

The book ‘Phuntsok Nyidon’ launched at ANEC offic, Mcleod Ganj.

The book titled ‘Phuntsok Nyidon’ is based on real-life experiences of Phuntsok Nyidon, who was incarcerated for 15 years in one of the most notorious Chinese prisons, Drapchi in Lhasa and spent two years in house arrest until 2006 when Chinese authorities, under pressures from groups like the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and US parliamentarians and other rights groups – she was granted permission to leave for the United States for medical treatment.

She has been living in Swiss since then.

The book, edited by Manjushri Educational Service (MES), a nonprofit organisation, based in Mcleod Ganj, that promotes early childhood care & education and illustrated by the late Jigme Choedak, a long-time collaborator with ANEC: is aimed at educating Tibetan children and inspiring them.

Tenzin Choezin, the director of ANEC spoke about how the idea for the book came about.

“In the number of books ANEC has published in the past, I observed most of them to be stories about freedom fighters or political activists from the West or outside our community. And we strongly felt the need to publish more books about our own Tibetan freedom fighters and activists, to continue to inspire and engage our youngsters in Tibetan freedom movement” she said.

Former political prisoner Phuntsok Nyidon and Tenzin Choezin, the director of ANEC.

She also spoke about Phuntsok Nyidon and her fellow nuns’ non-violent resistance acts of recording self-composed freedom songs from prison and releasing it to the outside world as a unique and awe-inspiring story.

“It is also to highlight the resistance movement of Tibetan women, nuns in Phuntsok Nyidon la and her fellow nuns’ case, in our Tibetan freedom struggle” Tenzin Choezin added.

Phuntsok Nyidon thanked ANEC for publishing the book. And expressed hope that the book would educate Tibetan youngsters about the situation inside Tibet.  

Phuntsok Nyidon signing the books.

She said, “Though the book is titled on my name, I consider it as a representation of all those Tibetans suffering in prisons under Chinese authorities. Through this book, with words and illustrations of my difficult experiences in Chinese prisons, I think Tibetan youngsters can understand and feel what Tibetans inside Tibet undergo under Chinese rule.”

Tribute to the late Jigme Choedak, the long-time collaborator and illustrator of the book for ANEC.

The book, initially planned to be sold for Rs.150 or US$ 4 is being distributed for free on this first publication as a tribute to the books’s illutrator Jigme Choedak, who tragically passed away recently.

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