Monday, October 16, 2006
TIBETAN FREEDOM: ONLY IN EXILE
hile many of the mountaineers who witnessed the shooting of Tibetan refugees on Nangpa La Pass have come forward to the media, it seems that a far greater number are keeping silent -- as have all the outfitter companies which make big bucks by keeping on the good side of the PRC government. It is interesting to note that many of those individuals who have come forward are those from Eastern European countries, who remember the importance of bearing witness to the atrocities of their own oppressive communist regimes in their struggles for freedom.
We have seen accounts of this crime, including photographic and video evidence, from Romanian, Slovenian, Czech, British, Filipino, Danish and American climbers. Many have been willing to be identified by name, while a few have not. To my knowledge, only one country has made an official reaction to this despicable action by China. That country is the United States. Last Thursday the US Ambassador to China, Clark T. Randt, personally went to the Foreign Ministry in Beijing to lodge a formal protest against China's treatment of the refugees.
There is no other country which does as much as the US to shine a light on the PRC's harsh oppression of the Tibetan people. This support crosses all the usual boundaries, and includes policies and actions of both the Executive and Legislative branches. It is one of the few issues that unite conservative and liberal, Democrat and Republican. Thus we see people like Nancy Pelosi and Tom Lantos working together on the same side of an issue with others like Frank Wolf and Dana Rohrabacher. It has been the sense of Congress for several years, as expressed by resolution, that Tibet is an occupied country. Recently the Congress passed an Act, signed by President Bush, awarding the highest civilian honour, the Congressional Gold Medal, to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Wai the United States of America.
The Romanian television network ProTV has released an English language dub of the item posted here on Saturday. View it on their website, or right here thanks to a YouTuber:
ProTV also has an English interview segment with the cameraman, Sergiu Matei, describing what happened that day.
There is still no information on the more than 30 Tibetans believed to be captured by Chinese soldiers, about half of them children. Were they all captured, or did some of them also die in the shooting? The Chinese "investigation" made no mention of them at all, apart from claiming that one wounded refugee was receiving medical treatment. The only other they referred to was apparently Kalsang Namtso, shot in the back and left in the snow. Chinese cause of death: lack of oxygen.
If some might feel surprised at this kind of blatant subterfuge, offered as a cynical response to any criticism of China's cultural repression of Tibet (for which Chinese leaders take their impunity for granted), rest assured that Tibetans have been well acquainted with this kind of treatment (and the PRC's lies about it which inevitably follow any publicity) for more than half a century. Here is a video entitled "Faith in Exile (The Lesson of Tibet)" which incorporates several pieces of little-known newsreel footage, showing some of Tibet's post-occupation history. It isn't pretty, viewer discretion is advised: scenes of extreme violence including mass executions.
But marvel at the old monk, Palden Gyatso, and his steadfast refusal to hate the people who tortured him. (By that I don't mean that the Chinese frightened him severely, or slapped his belly, or played disco music for days with the lights on. I mean they tortured him.)