Wednesday, October 24, 2007
DETAILS OF THE CRACKDOWN IN TIBET
ibetans living outside their occupied homeland are free to venerate their spiritual leader Dalai Lama and to conduct their cultural traditions as they wish. This short slideshow gives a taste of what took place outside the US Capitol last Wednesday. The gratitude attached to having this simple freedom and the stark contrast with what is permitted in one's own homeland, is something most of us can only begin to imagine.
More details are emerging of the crackdown on happiness in Tibet -- happiness generated by the same event the people pictured above are celebrating. The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy has received credible reports of arrests at Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, and Labrang and Kardze region of eastern Tibet, for the crime of celebrating, or for merely expressing happiness too openly.
Hundreds of Tibetans in their best attire converged early in the morning at Lingkor Road and Barkhor Street in Lhasa for customary observance of Sangsol(incense burning prayer that involve throwing tsampa in the air for success and good fortune) and visited monasteries in large number to offer prayers despite Chinese authorities imposition of severe restriction and vigilance in Tibet ahead of and during the US Congressional Gold Medal Award ceremony for the Dalai Lama on 17 October.The monks of Drepung actually exhibited their joyful exterior painting of a hall the day before the US government and Congress honoured Dalai Lama. Police clashes against the monks were reported to have continued for four days.
Earlier on 16 October, dozens of Drepung monks had begun repainting the exterior of a hall assigned as the residence of the Dalai Lama with whitewash to exhibit their joy after US Congress decided to award it's highest civilian honor to the Dalai Lama. However, the Chinese authorities came to stop the activities in the monastery. In the morning of 17 October, when monks resumed painting auspicious symbols inside the Drepung Monastery, the Public Security Bureau (PSB) Officers moved in to stop the monks resulting in violent scuffles between the monks and the officers which left a monk with injured head. There was also report of arrest of a monk from Drepung Monastery during the celebration of the award.Yes, you read that right. Government employees are banned from religious activities. That's the same government, the Communist Party, which has also banned Buddhist lamas' reincarnation without its previous written consent and approval.
According to one report, a large contingent of around three thousand armed police surrounded the Drepung Monastery to carry out the round-the-clock vigilance of the Monastery and refused to allow anyone to enter and leave the monastery. In addition, strict checking were done to restrict people's movements at the road leading from west of Lhasa towards Lhasa city. Similar bans and restrictions were imposed at the Nechung Monastery located below the Drepung Monastery and at the Sera Monastery situated north of Lhasa City.
According to sources inside Tibet, a large contingent of People's Armed Police (PAP) and PSB officers were present at the major roads particularly at the famous Barkhor Street in Lhasa. Additional surveillance cameras were installed around the city to identify the people attending the Sangsol (incense burning prayer) and to monitor whether any ethnic Tibetan government employees are participating in the prayer as they are banned from participating in religious activities.