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25march201090912Dharamshala: Chinese author Zhu Rui has this morning (March 25) released her new book, entitled 'Happy Times in Old Lhasa', dedicated to 'His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the indomitable spirit of the Tibetan people'.

The book, which is written in Chinese and based on the lives and stories of real people as told through interviews with individuals from different sections of the old Tibetan society. The book's historical record spans a century beginning in the 1860s, and its description of the social conditions in Old Tibet are narrated through the eyes of an aristocratic Tibetan lady, relatives of whom are friends of Ms. Zhu and who helped her uncover the tale.

In a press conference held at the Department of Information and International Relations in Dharamshala on the morning of the book's release, Ms. Zhu explained its inspiration by saying that "during my time in Lhasa I had to suffer and see all of that traditional culture destroyed", and that her heart often ached when she remembered how much freedom the Tibetan people had enjoyed before Chinese occupation.

She added that some of the information she had gathered came from an interview with a senior government official, who spoke of how Tibet had been 'a peaceful country, a free country', prior to the invasion of 1949, but who later pleaded with her not to publish comments from his interview. Zhu said that despite his pleading she felt it was necessary to share the story with the world, and so she went ahead with the book's publication.

When questioned about the aristocratic woman who features in her book and the fate of her family, Zhu told the conference that many had been arrested, including her husband, and the big mansion-like house they had lived in was now in a serious state of disrepair that was tragic to witness.

It took Ms. Zhu 10 years of tireless work and research to compile the contents of the book, which contains a foreword by well-known Beijing-based Tibetan writer and poet Tsering Woeser. Ms. Zhu also received a special audience Friday with His Tibetan spiritual leader Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Born in northeastern China, Ms. Zhu lived in Tibet for many years. She has published several novels, poems, essays, and a number of short stories, and most of her work is related to Tibet. Following the March 2008 region-wide uprising all across Tibet, Zhu Rui published many articles online, including 'Why Tibetans Want to Protest', 'The Army, Machine Guns, and Bullets, Not Control the Hearts of Tibetans', 'Write to Some Chinese', 'Invite The Dalai Lama', 'Extreme Nationalist Sentiment on both Chinese and Tibetan Communities Are Disadvantaged', 'A Letter to His Holiness the Dalai Lama', 'Hope the One in Power Doesn't Miss This Opportunity', 'Hope of Tibet', 'Exclusive Interview with Arjia Rinpoche', 'Exclusive Interview with the 17th Karmapa Rinpoche', 'Exclusive Interview with Mr. Thupten Lungrig, the Minister of the Department of Education', 'In the End, Han is Han' and several others. She currently lives in Canada.

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