Thursday, March 13, 2008

I wondered when China would attack

and it didn't take them long. The Tibetans began their peaceful march on Monday. As The Guardian reports:

"When we get to the border we will face the Chinese," he said without saying where or when they planned to cross it. Marchers, including Buddhist monks and nuns as well as young people born in exile who have never seen Tibet, said they were hoping to reinvigorate the Tibetan freedom movement. They set off on the 49th anniversary of a 1959 uprising in Tibet against Chinese rule, which was crushed by the People's Liberation Army, driving the Dalai Lama into exile. "With the Olympics in China, and the Chinese government using this platform to legitimise its illegal occupation of Tibet, we are demonstrating that Tibet belongs to Tibetans and we will never give up until Tibet is independent," Rigzin said.

BoingBoing has video and links on the story and reports of the new story that the Chinese have responded to the spreading protest with violence.

Times Online says:

Witnesses described helmeted soldiers firing teargas yesterday to try to disperse more than 600 monks as they attempted to march out of the Sera monastery on the edge of Lhasa. The monks were forced to halt virtually at the gates of the monastery, after police at a station just outside the main entrance called in the military.

The monks, shouting “Release our people”, demanded the return of 11 monks detained on Monday after staging an anti-Chinese protest in front of the Jokhang Temple — the holiest site in Tibetan Buddhism — in the heart of the city. That protest coincided with demonstrations by about 500 monks from the sprawling Drepung monastery just outside Lhasa.

China's response includes a halt to Everest summits in the area they control, delaying all climbs. The Independent reports:

China is denying mountaineers permission to climb its side of Mount Everest this spring, a move that reflects government concerns that Tibet activists may try to disrupt plans to carry the Olympic torch up the world's tallest peak.
It comes as China's much-criticised rule of Tibet, which has long been an emotive issue, heats up and joins a slew of other issues pressure groups want the authorities to confront in the run-up to August's Beijing Olympics.

The Guardian had reported that

When the marchers stopped last night near the northern Indian city of Dharamsala in the Kangra district, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, the local police chief Atul Fulzele warned that they would not be allowed to leave the district, following a recommendation from the Indian government.

But Tenzin Tsundue, one of the march leaders, said this morning that the protesters would ignore the police order.

And now the original marchers have been arrested in India. from the NYTimes:

NEW DELHI — A group of Tibetan exiles in northern India who began a six-month march this week to protest China’s control of their homeland were arrested on Thursday, and went on a hunger strike they say will continue until they are released.

The marchers — more than 100 people, mostly monks and nuns — were arrested early Thursday in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, after the police seized a well-known activist in their group and the rest of the marchers linked arms and sat in the road in protest. The group started their trek from Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, on Monday, the anniversary of a failed uprising in Tibet in 1959. They planned to reach the Tibetan capital of Lhasa in August, as the Olympics Games open in Beijing.

The Voice of America explains:

New Delhi has given shelter to tens of thousands of Tibetan refugees, but it does not allow them to mount anti-Chinese public protests.

Rigzin, who is one of the organizers of the march, says it is a non-violent protest and should be allowed to go on.

"We have said it, all, along, that our march to Tibet is completely non-violent… We have not caused any problems to anyone along the way, whatsoever. We are just a bunch of peaceful monks and nuns, along with some lay people. We are just marching along the road and we are not committing any crime. So, the march should go on," Rigzin said.

It is interesting that India, the beneficiary of Gandhi's peaceful protests should prohibit peaceful protests within its borders.

3/14/2008 update:


Chinese troops sealed off three of Lhasa's largest monasteries after Tibet's biggest protests in almost 20 years deteriorated into violence, with shops and police cars set ablaze.

and now the BBC reports people are dead:

An emergency official told AFP news agency that many people had been hurt and an unspecified number had died.

from AFP:

BEIJING (AFP) — The Tibetan capital Lhasa erupted in deadly violence Friday as security forces used gunfire to quell the biggest protests against Chinese rule in two decades, officials and rights groups said.

The protests, which spread outside Tibet into other areas of China, came amid a growing international campaign by Tibetans to challenge Beijing's rule of the Himalayan region ahead of the Olympic Games in August.

Several people lost their lives and many others were injured in Lhasa on Friday, an official at the city's medical emergency centre told AFP, with Radio Free Asia reporting at least two people had been killed by Chinese bullets.

BoingBoing has an update that includes this:

At a demonstration outside the United Nations in New York, Psurbu Tsering of the Tibetan Association of New York and New Jersey said its members received phone calls from Tibet claiming 70 people had been killed and 1,000 arrested. The reports could not be verified.

There are many links at the BoingBoing site for more information.


The Tibetan government in exile has pleaded with the UN to intervene in the crisis as violence escalates. from the AFP:
Tibet's government-in-exile on Saturday demanded the United Nations intervene to end what it called "urgent human rights violations" by China in the region following deadly protests.

The exiled government in Dharamshala in northern India, home to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, also said it had received "unconfirmed reports that about 100 people had been killed and martial law imposed in Lhasa."

"The Tibetan parliament urges the UN to send representatives immediately and intervene and investigate the current urgent human rights violations in Tibet," the administration said in a statement.

BBC reports that, "The authorities in Tibet have given anti-Chinese demonstrators until Monday to surrender."

No comments:

Post a Comment