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22 December 2012 001Dharamshala: Four Tibetan writers are among 12 authors, journalists, and activists from China to win the prestigious Hellman/Hammett award for 2012.

A total of 41 writers from 19 countries received Hellman/Hammett grants this year.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), based in New York, said the Tibetan writers, whose identities were held back for fear of reprisal, received the awards: “ in recognition of their efforts to promote free expression despite government persecution for their work.”

The Hellman/Hammett grants are given annually to writers around the world who have been targets of persecution as a result of their work. A committee awards cash grants to honour and assist writers whose work is suppressed by repressive government policies.

The grants are named after the American playwright, Lillian Hellman, and her longtime companion, novelist Dashiell Hammett. Lillian Hellman was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, into a Jewish family, who was later in questioned by United States congressional committees with her companion about their political beliefs and affiliations during the aggressive anti-communist investigations inspired by Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.

Over the past 23 years, more than 750 writers from 92 countries have received Hellman/Hammett grants of up to USD 10,000 each, totalling more than USD three million.

The programme also provides funding for writers to leave their country seeking medical treatment after serving prison terms or enduring torture.

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