Tibet: A place of their own.

Reply Tue 18 Mar, 2008 02:40 am
A case for Tibetan autonomy.
Interesting article, with background history to the current uprisings.:

A place of their own
John Powers
March 18, 2008/the AGE

Illustration: Dyson

Granting Tibetans autonomy would foster stability and ease the financial and moral pressure on China.

ONCE again, images of maroon-robed Tibetan monks taking to the streets to protest against Chinese rule are appearing in news media around the world. And once again, they are accompanied by images of Chinese troops beating the demonstrators. Indeed, the current disturbances are the largest since 1989, when thousands of Tibetans called for greater autonomy and respect for human rights, but there have been ongoing anti-Chinese protests in the restive region since troops first entered the country in 1949.

Before that, Tibet was a de facto independent country, with an archaic but functioning theocratic government, legal system, currency, and army, none of which derived either authority or funding from China. Nonetheless, China claimed Tibet as an integral part of its territory, and continued to do so even after all Chinese were expelled by the Tibetan government in 1911.

After the Communists, led by Mao Zedong, captured the region by armed force in the early 1950s, they set up a government parallel to the Dalai Lama's administration. He tried to work with the Chinese in the now-inevitable transition to foreign rule, but moves to transform the country led to growing resentment among Tibetans.

On March 10, 1959, thousands took to the streets to demand that the Chinese leave their country and restore indigenous rule. The response was a brutal crackdown in which hundreds died. This event is viewed by Tibetans in exile as the first battle in a "war of independence" and is celebrated every year with demonstrations and nationalistic speeches.

The present round of protests began with March 10 events, but unlike previous years, they have escalated and involve both monks and significant numbers of lay people. There have been reports of Chinese-owned businesses being demolished and civilians being attacked by angry mobs.

Why now? And why have these demonstrations developed a violent aspect? There is no single answer to these questions. The region has been effectively subdued by military force, but during my visits most of the Tibetans I met told me of their profound dissatisfaction with Chinese rule. In 2002, every employed person I met was Chinese. All businesses I visited were owned and staffed entirely by Han Chinese. At tourist venues Tibetans begged foreigners for money.

The Chinese Government proclaims that the Tibetan economy is booming and that it is investing billions of dollars in the region, but the indigenous population has scarcely benefited. Every year, more than 3000 Tibetans escape to an uncertain fate in exile, often traversing some of the world's highest passes in winter to avoid Chinese patrols. If conditions were as good as the Government claims, there would not be such desperation to leave.

The main reason for the present demonstrations is most probably a combination of two factors: the coming Olympics in Beijing and the newly completed train from Beijing to Lhasa, which brings hundreds of new Chinese tourists and settlers to the Tibetan capital every day.

Tibetans became a minority in their own country about 10 years ago, and rail service has brought a sharp rise in immigration from neighbouring provinces. This growing marginalisation has led to a sense of urgency, and with the eyes of the world focused on China in the lead-up to the Olympics, this probably seemed like an opportune time to draw international attention to the situation in Tibet. When China was awarded the Games the authorities promised greater respect for human rights and acknowledged that there would inevitably be protests. They stated that peaceful demonstrations would be tolerated, and despite the violence of the past several days, security forces have been comparatively restrained.

Foreign observers have been shocked by scenes of brutality against peacefully protesting monks, but by all accounts violence has been on a significantly smaller scale than in the past. Chinese authorities are aware of foreign scrutiny and deeply sensitive to criticisms of human rights abuses, but at the same time feel they are walking a thin line, fostering a positive public image while also maintaining order.

Many Chinese are puzzled by this restraint and want the Government to teach the protesters a lesson. Ordinary Chinese overwhelmingly accept the Government's claims that Tibetans have benefited from the introduction of Chinese civilisation and that they should be grateful. These attitudes closely parallel those of Europeans in Australia during the early period of settlement who proclaimed that Aboriginal Australians had been civilised by the foreigners and received the gifts of their superior culture, language, and religion. A recent survey of Chinese blogs cites expressions of anger, shock, and bewilderment. Tibetans should be thanking their Han "big brothers and sisters" who have liberated them from the Dalai Lama's repressive regime and given them the opportunity to become more like Chinese; they say the protests are outrageous and a sign of insufferable ingratitude.

Few Tibetans expect that China will ever voluntarily quit their country, and the Dalai Lama is officially committed to the position that Tibet is a part of China. He has publicly stated that China "is good for Tibet"Autonomy is compatible with China's real interests in Tibet: a stable Tibet with Tibetans in charge of internal affairs and ultimate Chinese overlordship could satisfy both Chinese security concerns and Tibetan aspirations.

The Dalai Lama has said that he is willing to talk any time and without preconditions, but future Tibetan leaders may not be so conciliatory. A new generation of radicalised Tibetans has grown up in exile, and many are fed up with the Dalai Lama's "middle way" approach. Increasingly, they are calling for direct action and the sort of violence often seen in other liberation movements, which brings great suffering but often yields better results.

The present riots may be a foretaste of things to come, and a pragmatic assessment of the situation should lead Chinese authorities to rethink their policies. Australia could conceivably play an important role in this process. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is viewed by Chinese leaders as someone who understands them and is sympathetic to Chinese sensibilities. A peaceful and stable Tibet is in everyone's interests, and if he were to press the case for autonomy during his upcoming visit, it might be better received than if it came from foreigners who are perceived as biased against China.

Dr John Powers is reader at the Centre for Asian Societies and Histories at the ANU.
Email: [email protected]

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Reply Tue 18 Mar, 2008 02:59 am
Cautious responses from world leaders.:

In quotes: Reaction to Tibet protests
Governments around the world have urged China to use restraint in dealing with Tibetan protesters, and called for dialogue between the two sides to ease tensions.

We urge China to respect the fundamental and universally recognised right of all of its citizens to peacefully express their political and religious views, and we call on China to release monks and others who have been detained solely for the peaceful expression of their views.

With the Olympics ahead, they really will pay a terrible cost in international public opinion if they're seen to violently crack down on dissidents.

And I very much hope they will take that to heart, and they will find a way to talk this through, and start the dialogue which is long overdue in Tibet.

We are distressed by reports of the unsettled situation and violence in Lhasa and by the deaths of innocent people.

We hope all those involved will work to improve the situation and remove the causes of such trouble in Tibet, which is an autonomous region of China, through dialogue and non-violent means.

I would like to know clearly what the situation is and the facts behind what has happened.

I hope all parties involved will deal with this calmly and ensure that the number of those killed and injured does not worsen any further.

With the approach of the Olympic Games, which ought to be a great show of fraternity, France would like to draw the attention of the Chinese authorities to the importance of respecting human rights.

Everything must be done to prevent a further escalation of the situation and to enable a peaceful end to the conflict.

Minister (Frank-Walter) Steinmeier calls on his Chinese counterparts to offer as much transparency as possible over the events in Tibet.

We hope that all those involved will work to improve the situation and remove the causes of such trouble in Tibet, which is an autonomous region of China, through dialogue and non-violent means.

These most recent developments in Tibet are disturbing and, from my point of view, I would call upon the Chinese authorities to exercise restraint.

We want to see an end to the violence. We have long urged China to engage in meaningful dialogue with representatives of the Tibetan people, as we think this is the best way to achieve a lasting resolution of problems in Tibet.

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Reply Tue 18 Mar, 2008 03:17 am
Background Q&A:

Tibet and China
Allegra Stratton guardian.co.uk
Friday March 14 2008

The Potala palace, former home of the exiled Dalai Lama in the heart of Lhasa, Tibet. Photograph: Adrian Bradshaw/EPA

Who runs Tibet?
Tibet declared itself independent of China at the beginning of the 20th century and it wasn't until 1950 that China reasserted itself by invading eastern Tibet. A year later, the two countries signed the "Seventeen Point Agreement" guaranteeing Tibetan autonomy and freedom to practice Buddhism, but agreeing to the establishment of Chinese civil and military headquarters in the capital, Lhasa. Tibetans wrestled with this and in 1959 a full scale rebellion resulted in thousands killed and the Dalai Lama exiled to India. It is the anniversary of this rebellion that the current protests against China are marking. Despite the Chinese government establishing the Tibetan Autonomous Region in 1965, over the years, Tibetan monks felt China wasn't fulfilling its side of the Seventeen Point Agreement and there were repeated revolts. The most serious of these was in 1988, after which China imposed martial law. Though Tibet is called an "autonomous" region, Tibetans see the Chinese to be in control.

What historical claim does China have on Tibet?
Though it wasn't till 1950 that Chairman Mao's troops actually invaded, China regards Tibet to have been a part of its land since the Mongol dynasty extended into the Himalayan region some 700 years ago. This was formalised in the 18th and 19th centuries when Tibet was made a protectorate of China. Tibet achieved autonomy of sorts when it unilaterally declared independence in 1913.

How has China run Tibet?
After the invasion of the late 1950s there was large scale relocation of Han Chinese to Tibet and the rolling out of the 60s and 70s Chinese Cultural Revolution to Tibet saw monasteries and cultural artifacts destroyed. Though the Chinese government allowed "Open Door" reforms in the mid 80s with the aim of boosting investment, Tibetan monks still felt the Chinese stranglehold was too strong. In the last two years, a railway link has been opened up between Lhasa and the Chinese city of Golmud, which Tibetans fear will simply result in increased numbers of Han Chinese arriving.

What role does the Dalai Lama play in Tibet?
The Dalai Lama was made head of state at the age of 15 in the year China invaded the east of Tibet. Within a year, he was negotiating the "Seventeen Point Agreement" and at the age of 19 he was in Beijing unsuccessfully negotiating with Chairman Mao for a relaxing of Chinese involvement in the territory. Final bloody rebellion against the Chinese in 1959 left thousands dead and the Dalai Lama exiled to Dharamsala in India.

From Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama continued to work for genuine self rule in Tibet, receiving the Nobel peace prize for his efforts in 1989. Though his negotiations faltered in 1993, they were resumed in 2002. For his part, the Dalai Lama has said that he has given up the idea of actual independence for the territory but instead hopes for Tibet to be given cultural autonomy, leaving the central government in Beijing in charge.

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Reply Tue 18 Mar, 2008 03:32 am
Warning as Tibet protests spread
Rowan Callick, China correspondent
March 18, 2008/the AUSTRALIAN

PROTESTS against China's rule in Tibet spread to Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, as Tibet activists around the world urged China to show restraint, saying they feared a repeat of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Nepalese policemen arrest protesting Tibetan exiles in Kathmandu. Picture: AFP

"There's every possibility of something as bloody as Tiananmen Square in Tibet," said Anne Holmes, of the British-based Free Tibet Campaign. "The Chinese authorities are doing everything in their power to get foreigners out. We have deep concerns the reaction is going to be bloody."

Political scientist and China expert at the University of Michigan Kenneth Lieberthal also warned of violence, saying: "If the Tibetans in Lhasa take to the streets again in large numbers and really challenge the Chinese authorities, I think we'll see a very harsh crackdown."

About 30 demonstrators were arrested in Nepal yesterday after police with bamboo batons charged about 100 laypeople and Buddhist monks protesting near the UN offices in the city.

Since the riot in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, on Friday, protests have taken place in other regions, with Tibetan populations in China - at Labrang monastery and Machu in Gansu, and Ngawa in Sichuan - staging demonstrations.

In Sichuan's Aba prefecture, hundreds of students from two Tibetan schools confronted police and troops yesterday.

The chairman of the Tibet government, Qiangba Puncog, repeated the Chinese authorities' warning to Tibetans involved in the violent protests on Friday to give themselves up before midnight and receive leniency - or face tougher measures.

"Those who have committed serious crimes will be dealt with harshly. If they turn themselves in, they will be dealt with leniently," he said. "If they provide further information about others involved, they will be treated even more leniently."

Mr Qiangba denied authorities had used deadly force against the demonstrators. "Throughout the process, (security forces) did not carry or use any lethal weapons. I can tell you as a responsible official that guns were absolutely not fired."

Mr Qiangba blamed the rioters for murdering 13 people, including Han Chinese immigrants. "They either burned or hacked to death 13 innocent civilians."

He said the unrest was organised by "the Dalai clique" - supporters of the exiled Dalai Lama.... <cont>

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Walter Hinteler
Reply Tue 18 Mar, 2008 03:32 am
Philip Bowring in the International Herald Tribune writes: "China is incapable of offering minorities either cultural equality or autonomy. Officialdom and much of the population treat minorities either with suspicion or as colourful tourist attractions."

IHT: China and its minorities

Rosemary Righter in the Times argues that while China has been successful with its methods of ethnic colonisation elsewhere, it will not work with Tibet. "Not only is Tibetan culture far too removed from Chinese for assimilation to be feasible; it revolves around religious loyalties that the state cannot reach."

Times: Crush Tibet - China's only path
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Reply Tue 18 Mar, 2008 03:42 am
Dalai Lama 'to quit if violence worsens'
From correspondents in Dharamsala, India
March 18, 2008/the Australian

THE Dalai Lama said today he would resign as Tibetan leader if the situation went out of control in Tibet, and he denied accusations from China that he was inciting violence.

"If things become out of control then my only option is to completely resign," Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, said in Dharamsala in northern India.

Today, China's premier Wen Jiabao accused the Dalai Lama of orchestrating riots in which dozens may have died and said his followers were trying to "incite sabotage" of Beijing's August Olympic Games.

The Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in India in 1959, denied Chinese accusations he was inciting the rioting.

"Investigate throughly, so if you want to start investigating from here you are most welcome," he said.

"Check our various offices ...They can examine my pulse, my urine, my stool, everything."

The Nobel peace laureate says he wants autonomy for Tibet within China but not outright independence. ...<cont>

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Reply Tue 18 Mar, 2008 05:44 pm
China offers talks with Dalai Lama

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (centre) after a news conference in Beijing at which he dismissed calls for a boycott of the Olympics.
Photo: Reuters

John Garnaut, Beijing
March 19, 2008

THE Chinese Premier says his door is open for dialogue with the Dalai Lama, despite claiming he has evidence to prove the exiled spiritual leader masterminded the bloody riots that have swept through Tibet and neighbouring provinces.

For the first time, Premier Wen Jiabao also directly answered the Dalai Lama's claim that the Chinese Government has conducted a form of cultural genocide.

"Those claims that the Chinese Government is engaged in cultural genocide are nothing but lies," Mr Wen said.

"There is ample fact and plenty of evidence proving this incident was organised, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique," he said.

The Premier did not say what that evidence was, but added that the clique's motive was to incite the sabotage of the Olympic Games in order to achieve what he termed their unspeakable goal.

He said he was open to talks if the Dalai Lama's actions backed up his verbal support for Chinese sovereignty.

The Dalai Lama responded to the Chinese leader's accusations by inviting Premier Wen to sit down and talk about the problem. "If the Chinese side … accept the reality and address the Tibetan problem realistically, within a few hours we can solve this problem," he said in the Indian border city of Dharamsala.

.... Mr Wen said at a news conference that authorities had exercised massive restraint and quickly quelled "this incident, and protected the rights of Lhasa residents and of people of all ethnic groups in Tibet".

The news conference is an annual event to mark the end of the sitting of the legislature, the National People's Congress.

The questions on Tibet were raised by CNN and Financial Times reporters. It is believed Chinese authorities were warned of the broad subject matter but did not vet the detail of the questions.

Mr Wen said one of the ways he kept abreast of public opinion was to scan an internet chat site attached to the main Communist Party newspaper, the People's Daily.

He said the comments confirmed the extent of public anxiety about rising inflation, but he did not mention that public comments about sensitive subjects such as Tibet were quickly erased. The Tibet riots and security crackdown have been reported but played down in the official Chinese media and completely blocked in most other media and websites.

Yesterday's unusually frank news conference was televised live throughout China on national and regional television.

For many Chinese, it was the first opportunity to learn of the seriousness of the conflict and the intense interest it has generated around the world.

On the streets of Beijing yesterday, most Chinese interviewed by The Age knew nothing of the Tibetan riots or had only seen small reports. Overwhelmingly, they viewed Tibet as a clean, colourful and desirable holiday destination.

Wang Yuzhi said she had not heard about the trouble in Tibet and that she wanted to travel there in the next few months.

"They are very warm, hospitable people," Ms Wang said.

A middle-aged man, Wang Xin, said he planned to tour the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, soon.

"The Tibetan question is not such a big thing," he said. "I'm not concerned about safety, I'll go with a travel group," he said.

In Berlin, the European Parliament President, Hans-Gert Poettering, urged politicians to consider boycotting the Beijing Olympics over the Tibet crisis.

Politicians who had planned to attend the opening ceremony of the Games should reconsider, Mr Poettering told German radio, adding that he was not ruling out a wider boycott. "It is too early to say how things will end up but one should keep all options open."


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Reply Tue 18 Mar, 2008 06:08 pm
To boycott or not to boycott the Chinese Olympics? That is the question.
But if any such boycott is to be even contemplated by the UN or particular countries, it would only happen in response to strong public pressure. And so far all of the major world powers are taking a softly softly approach to the sensitivities of the Chinese government. Remember the response to Burma, not so long ago? Remember the Moscow Olympic boycott? This is different, it seems. China is extremely sensitive to any form of criticism on human rights issues, internally or from other countries.
This the Sydney Morning Herald's cartoon comment today, depicting (Chinese speaking) Oz prime minister, Kevin Rudd's response to the Tibet situation. Pretty much the same as that of other "world leaders". Rolling Eyes Sad :

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Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 03:55 pm
A detailed update from the (Australian) ABC.:

China admits opening fire on Tibetan protesters
Posted 1 hour 10 minutes ago
Updated 1 hour 57 minutes ago/ABC NEWS ONLINE

China now says police acted in self-defence when they fired on protesters in Tibet [File photo]. (User submitted: Alex Teh)

Chinese police opened fire and wounded four protesters this week in unrest in a Tibetan community in the western province of Sichuan, Xinhua news agency reports.

Citing police sources, the state-run news agency said police acted in self-defence when they fired on protesters on Sunday.

It is China's first admission its security forces have caused injuries in their crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.

Tibet authorities also said they had arrested dozens of people involved in the wave of protests that have swept the mountain region and prompted Beijing to pour in troops to crush further unrest.

China's response to last week's violence - which it says was orchestrated by the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader - has sparked international criticism and has clouded preparations for the Beijing Olympics in August.

Earlier on Thursday, in a phone call with her Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "strongly urged" China to show restraint toward protesters, and to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

China says 13 "innocent civilians" were killed in riots last week in Tibet's capital Lhasa that capped several days of peaceful protests.

Exiled Tibetan groups say as many as 100 Tibetans have died.

Mindful of the legacy of its military crackdown on pro-democracy protests on Tiananmen Square in 1989, China says its security forces in Lhasa exercised "maximum restraint" and did not use lethal weapons.

But the Xinhua report makes clear the same did not apply in other parts of western China, where it has been sealing Tibetan areas from foreigners and tightening security.

State television broadcast on Thursday pictures of protests in Sichuan and Gansu provinces, both home to Tibetan communities, which showed men on horseback shouting Tibet independence slogans, burning cars and raising the Tibetan flag.

The report said the situation was now calm and showed pictures of barricades and police in riot gear.

In Gansu's Gannan region, eight police and three government officials were injured in the unrest, it said.

In Kangding, a Tibetan town in Sichuan, roads were crowded with troops who blocked most travel.

Notices on walls warned locals not to protest and to stay away from the "Dalai clique".

China's unyielding response to the unrest has brought demands for a boycott of the opening ceremony for the August 8-24 Games from pro-Tibetan independence groups and some politicians.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said there was no change in US President George W Bush's plans to attend the ceremony, and said the spotlight on Beijing could be a good thing.

"That way the Chinese can hear how people feel and then maybe have an opportunity to either explain their position or maybe even change the things that they are doing," Ms Perino said.

The Olympic torch relay across 19 countries that starts next week, and which will also pass through Tibet, is also likely to be dogged by protests.

A special sitting of the European Parliament is expected to take place next week and many EU lawmakers are calling for some kind of European action over the Olympics, ranging from a snub of the opening ceremony to an outright boycott of the Games.

The Chinese Government has resisted international calls for dialogue over the unrest and expressed serious concern that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown plans to meet the Dalai Lama during a visit to Britain in May.

"If those acts can be tolerated, is there any law in the world? Is there any justice in the world?" Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference when asked to respond to a call for dialogue from Pope Benedict.

The Dalai Lama, speaking in his exile home in the Indian town of Dharamsala, said he was ready to travel to Beijing to meet Chinese leaders, calling on Tibetans to end the violence.

Beijing has long said it would meet him only if he forsakes claims to Tibet's independence. The 72-year-old monk says he just wants greater autonomy for his homeland.

China has struggled to convince the international community that the Nobel Peace Prize winner orchestrated the violence and its own policies are free from blame.

- Reuters

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Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 04:07 pm
China deploys more troops to Tibet: reports
Posted 11 hours 42 minutes ago
Updated 11 hours 8 minutes ago/Friday 21st March
ABC News online

China has increased its military presence in Tibet to quell the uprising. (file photo) (AFP)

China has ramped up security to quell the Tibetan uprising, with hundreds of military trucks and thousands of heavily armed soldiers seen pouring into the remote Himalayan region.

Huge military convoys were heading towards Tibet, while a build-up of troops also took place in nearby provinces, after a week of violent protests against China's rule of the region, witnesses, activist groups and media reports said.

More than 400 vehicles were seen heading to Tibet through mountain passes in western China, a BBC reporter said, without specifying his location because of Chinese restrictions on foreign press reporting in the area.

"Over the past two days I've seen increasing numbers of troops heading for the Tibetan border but this is the largest deployment by far," the reporter said.

"It seems that China is dramatically increasing its military presence in Tibet just days after the riots in Lhasa."

Dalai Lama

Meanwhile the Dalai Lama says he will be ready to talk to Chinese leaders once the violent protests in Tibet die down.

"I (am) always ready to meet our Chinese leaders, particularly Hu Jintao," the Dalai Lama told reporters, referring to the President of China.

He added he was ready to travel to Beijing.

The Dalai Lama has called on Tibetans to eschew violent means of protests and live side by side with the Chinese, but his "middle way" tactic has been questioned by other protesters who wants independence from China.

China blames the Tibetan spiritual leader of masterminding the protests in Tibet from Dharamsala, the seat of his Government-in-exile.

The Dalai Lama has appealed to the outside world to find out what is going on in his homeland. .....

Tibet's tourism industry hit hard

Chinese travel companies specialising in tours to Tibet say they expect the security lock-down of the Himalayan region to keep foreign travellers out for up to three months.

Chinese tourism authorities have ordered travel companies not to apply for permits for people wishing to travel to Tibet, and many foreigners have been diverted elsewhere or had their payments refunded, travel agents said.

"The Tibet Travel Bureau said that because of the incidents in Lhasa, they do not want to issue permits for travel into Tibet," said the manager of one company in Chengdu, capital of south-western Sichuan province which borders Tibet.

"Some people who had already booked tours with us and been issued permits have not been able to go, and I think it will be impossible for independent travellers for some time," she said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Tibet has been sealed to outsiders since the weekend.

- AFP/Reuters

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Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 04:14 pm
Torch will stay course: officials
Juliet Macur, Beijing
March 21, 2008/the AGE

DESPITE violent protests in Tibet, China remains steadfast in its plan to take the Olympic torch there and to Mount Everest, according to Beijing Olympics organising committee officials.

The torch will be lit in Athens on Monday and, after a global tour of 135 cities, is to reach the top of Mount Everest in May. Afterwards the Olympic flame, one of two that will be in China at that time, will be taken through Lhasa.

Jiang Xiaoyu, executive vice-president of the organising committee, said International Olympic Committee rules allowed for a change or cancellation of the torch route in certain cities in the event of bad weather or other unfavourable conditions.

But Mr Jiang said he was confident the relay would be held as planned, despite its course through restive Tibet. "Those events will never affect the normal operation of the torch relay in China," he said. ...<cont>

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Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 04:25 pm
The latest response from the Australian government. It'd be good to have posts here about responses from other governments around the world.:

Tibet: Australia seeks access for its diplomats
Michelle Grattan
March 21, 2008/the AGE

AUSTRALIA has stepped up pressure on China by asking for its diplomats to be allowed to travel to embattled Tibet.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Australia was seeking permission for its diplomats to go into Tibet to ensure the safety and welfare of the remaining few Australians there, and to look out for the welfare of Tibetans.

The move came as China yesterday expelled the remaining foreign journalists from Tibet, and launched a massive military build-up in the capital, Lhasa, in reaction to the recent spread of violent protests against its rule.

One of the last journalists expelled from Lhasa, German Georg Blume, described a convoy about two kilometres long, with 200 trucks. "Each had 30 soldiers on board, so that's about 6000 military personnel in one convoy," he said. Witnesses described security forces moving from door to door.

The Australian Government has instructed its officials in Beijing to again speak with Chinese officials to urge restraint and ask for further clarification of events in Lhasa and other Tibetan areas. The Government is keeping its language moderate while sending a firm message.

"The Australian Government remains deeply concerned about Tibet and neighbouring areas," Mr Smith said. "The Government is particularly concerned by reports of violence extending into neighbouring provinces." ...<cont>

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Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 04:38 pm
Lengthy report from today's AGE newspaper.:

Tibet uprising cracks the face of modern China

A Tibetan woman screams after being arrested during a protest in Kathmandu, the capital of Tibet's Himalayan neighbour, Nepal.
Photo: The New York Times

Mary-Anne Toy, Songpan, Sichuan Province
March 21, 2008/the AGE

"LOVE your country, love your religion, together let's build a harmonious society," reads the banner fluttering in the spring sunshine at the 400-year-old Tibetan monastery in remote Sichuan province.

The Communist Party slogan, intended to reassure people that religion can co-exist with communism, rang hollow this week as Beijing mobilised its formidable security forces to contain the worst outbreak of Tibetan protests against Chinese rule in two decades.The Tibetan uprising could not come at a worse time for authorities, just months before the Olympic Games, China's big opportunity to show the world a modern, human face. It must at least appear to show restraint in dealing with the protests but cannot give ground on greater autonomy.

The Communist Party promotes itself as the only force that can unify China. The shock of the unrest and the surprising solidarity of communities across western China will send chills through Beijing's elite. ..<cont>

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Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 04:55 pm
Tibetan exiles reel at images of their dead

Shocked Tibetans in Dharamsala view photographs of those killed in Tibet since the latest uprising against China began.
Photo: Matt Wade

Matt Wade, Dharamsala
March 21, 2008

TIBETANS in exile in India have gathered outside the monastery and temple complex in Dharamsala that is home to the Dalai Lama each day since protests started in Tibet.

Information from inside Tibet has been posted regularly at the entrance to the complex known as the Tsuglagkhang, and there is always a crowd of people reading the notices.

But it has been getting harder to look at the material being posted on the wall.

For the past few days, grim colour photos of the disfigured bodies of Tibetan protesters killed in Tibet have appeared.

They are gruesome images of bodies in pools of blood. Some appear to have gunshot wounds, conflicting with Chinese claims that no live ammunition has been used on protesters. Yesterday, one young monk studied the photos with an ashen face. Eventually he turned away and wiped tears from his eyes with his maroon tunic. He walked slowly back into the monastery.

Protesters in Dharamsala have now copied the photos and made them into placards to be carried around town during rolling demonstrations that have been taking place here since March 10.

Tibetan activists say the photos verify reports that a significant number of Tibetans have been killed by Chinese security forces since protests started a week ago.

"This proves that cultural genocide is taking place in Tibet," said B. Tsering, president of the Tibetan Women's Association. "For the Tibetans, this is a life-and-death struggle."

The photos of eight bodies posted in Dharamsala were sent from the Kirti Monastery in Amdo province where monks have protested. Some have detailed descriptions of the victims. The caption on one photo of a young man with what appears to be a gunshot wound to the chest says he was from the Amdo Ngapa Shanlong Village.

"A student Norbu was killed, age 17 years, his father's name Parwa Gon, aged 53 years, mother's name Phalhu, aged 50 years, 11 family," the caption reads.

There is one photo from Amdo province taken on March 16 showing the body of a 40-year-old man named Gegam. "His wife's name is Tsedon, aged 35 years, four family members," says the caption.

Another image of a bloodied body says it is "a monk killed by Chinese force, so far no family members came to identify the body". One photo of a 64-year-old victim, Gepan Thalho, with 10 family members, says "his wife is injured very seriously by shooting".

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Robert Gentel
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 10:18 pm
I'm worried that the younger generation of "local" Tibetans (as opposed to the exiles like the Dalai Lama) resorting to violence (they are beating Chinese civilians on the streets and destroying their property) are doing serious damage to the cause.

The acts of violence some of them are committing are such that the Chinese have a moral obligation to use force to stop their ethnic attacks on the Han Chinese in their community.
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Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 11:19 pm

Great thread misolga.
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Reply Fri 21 Mar, 2008 09:14 am

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Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2008 12:39 am
There was a very interesting report on the ABC's "Lingua Franca" on Tibet today.

It can be downloaded:


Some interesting websites and references:






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Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2008 12:53 am
Tibet is gone. The Hans will bulldoze the place and relocated every Tibetan off the property if that is what it takes. The Hans would rather kill Tibet off lowly, over 3-4 generations, but if the Tibetans want to have their culture dead in one generation the Hans will be accommodating.
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Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2008 07:04 am
Robert Gentel wrote:
I'm worried that the younger generation of "local" Tibetans (as opposed to the exiles like the Dalai Lama) resorting to violence (they are beating Chinese civilians on the streets and destroying their property) are doing serious damage to the cause.

The acts of violence some of them are committing are such that the Chinese have a moral obligation to use force to stop their ethnic attacks on the Han Chinese in their community.

I guess they're losing (or have already lost) faith that the Dalai Lama's "middle way" (autonomy though not independence from China) will ever succeed, Robert. Although I personally do not condone violence, I can fully appreciate the anger & frustration that these young Tibetans must be feeling after years of ruthless repression. They are second class citizens in their own country. Whether they resort to violence or even non-violent protest of any sort, they will still be severely dealt with by the Chinese authorities. I don't see the Chinese authorities as having a "moral obligation" to quell any violence against the Han Chinese. This is simply how they respond to any dissent.

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