Sunday, March 23, 2008
CHINA LASHES OUT; CRACKDOWN, PROPAGANDA WAR INTENSIFY
major buildup of heavily armed Chinese forces has been rapidly deployed across Tibetan areas, and has now affected the major city of Chengdu (capital of Sichuan province), according to reports received by ICT. Long convoys of troop carriers have been observed over recent days heading into Machu county and other Tibetan-majority areas. Tibetan sections of Chengdu City are blocked off by armed police (PAP) forces. Crack PLA combat units are now stationed in Lhasa and other Tibetan areas where the uprising has been manifest.
According to military analysts, troops now stationed in Lhasa and other Tibetan areas where dissent has occurred are likely to be from Chengdu, specifically the Rapid Reaction Division of No.13 Group Army under Chengdu Military Region and the No.52 Mountain Infantry Brigade under Xizang Military Region. According to analyst Mark Zavadskiy, writing in Kanwa Defense Review (www.kanwa.com), these troops are “are the most crack combat units with most outstanding rapid reaction capability in China’s Southwest region.”Sources have also reported that Tibetans and Buddhist monks have been verbally and physically abused by residents of several Chinese cities, including Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing, as well as refused service at hospitals and businesses. The internal propaganda arm of the CCP's "people's war" seems to be having its effects.
China also stepped up its lashing out at foreign critics as well as the exiled Tibetan leader, firmly turning its back on any notion of dialogue. The CCP mouthpiece China Daily said the opposition to colonial rule must be "wiped out."
"China must resolutely crush the conspiracy of sabotage and smash 'Tibet independence forces'," the newspaper said in the editorial, rejecting calls from US, European and Asian leaders for talks.The communist rulers of the world's last colonial empire now accuse Dalai Lama of scheming to "take the Beijing Olympics hostage," and branded him a "terrorist."
"In 2008, the Beijing Olympic Games, eagerly awaited by the people of the whole world, will arrive. But the Dalai Lama is scheming to take the Beijing Olympics hostage to force the Chinese government to make concessions to Tibet independence."Even Nancy Pelosi, the US House Speaker who travelled to Dharamsala with a congressional delegation, was not spared the Chinese wrath. State news service Xinhua:
"The Dalai clique has descended into becoming an outright terrorist organization," said a commentary on an official Shanghai news Web site (www.eastday.com).
"'Human rights police' like Pelosi are habitually bad tempered and ungenerous when it comes to China, refusing to check their facts and find out the truth of the case," it said.Tibetans, now in their sixth decade of struggle for their fundamental rights, are praying for help from the world but not really expecting much. They know well the history of international responses to their cause: frequently the right words, with nothing to back them up.
There are some signs that intelligent and informed Chinese people are uneasy with the apparent return to Cultural Revolution rhetoric from their government, as evidenced by the letter from intellectuals yesterday. More valuable glimpses of Chinese opinion unsanctioned by the ruling party can be found in some feedback by listeners of Radio Free Asia (admittedly a self-selecting group more sceptical of Party propaganda than perhaps the average citizen). Some of these are great, be sure to read them all (they are from listeners to the RFA Cantonese and Mandarin services).
"The Chinese Communist Party said the armed police never opened fire and the deaths were all Han, not even including one Tibetan. It’s difficult for people to believe. This is all Communist Party propaganda. This is nonsense…. Their claims are reminiscent of the statement made by the spokesman of the State Council Yuan Mu in 1989 that 'not even one student died'. This became the biggest joke in history."No one can say these things in public in China. Even speaking them into a telephone to a radio call-in show must take a bit of courage. As I noted in the previous article, the famous Tibetan writer Woeser and her husband Wang Lixiong have been under house arrest in Beijing since March 10th.
"What they are doing now is not going to solve the problem – it is actually the source of the problem."
"Conducting a house-to-house search means the entire population is being targeted. It means the government regards everyone as an enemy. Looks like they are determined to be the enemy of the people. I don’t think even the Japanese did that (when they occupied China). I think they are in panic mode. I think their days are numbered."
"All citizens should have the freedom to demonstrate, to assemble, and to speak their minds. I condemn the crackdown. I protest the crackdown."
The London Times reports on the faceless trio of bureaucrats, architects of the Chinese repressive strategies who are behind the seeming return to Cultural Revolution values. Only the number two is familiar to me; the hardline Party Secretary of Tibet, Zhang Qingli. He famously said not long ago that the Party Central Committee is the true Buddha of Tibet.
The real mastermind of Chinese policy toward the restive ethnic minorities is a 67-year-old lifetime communist functionary named Wang Lequan [Party Secretary of Xinjiang province (Uyghur lands) -ed.]...Newsweek Magazine has had a journalist in the town of Tongren in Amdo region (Ch: Qinghai), where the 700 year old Rebkong Monastery is situated. Rebkong had been the site of a conflict last month which resulted in a traditional Tibetan festival being halted, and was a centre of resistance against Chinese cultural directives in 2006. The repression continues, reports Jonathan Ansfield for Newsweek. I wonder if he's still there, and if so how long he can stick it out. Reporters have been expelled from Tibetan areas left, right and centre.
However, Wang sits on the powerful politburo in Beijing and has assumed overall direction of policy in both places. He devised the model that has stifled Muslim culture in Xinjiang, staged political trials and executions, poured in millions of Chinese settlers and extracted mineral and energy resources to feed the economy...
Zhang is on record as saying that "those who do not love the motherland are not qualified to be human beings".
The third most influential figure is Li Dezhu, the party’s racial theoretician. Until recently the head of its innocuous-sounding Ethnic Affairs Commission, Li wrote the textbook on destroying independent cultures and disintegrating religious minorities by promoting materialism...
Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch says Li is the first leader explicitly to state that the problem of minorities would be "definitively solved" by mass Chinese migration.
Newsweek also has an extended interview with Dalai Lama by the very fine journalist Melinda Liu, whom you may have seen recently giving statements on behalf of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong following the outbreak of witness expulsion by the authorities. He offers his thoughts directly to China's leaders, beginning by quoting Deng Xiaoping: "Please seek truth from facts."
The Olympic torch is due to be lit at Olympia, Greece tomorrow. Security measures are extremely tight in anticipation of attempted disruption by people of conscience. If you missed the video of Chinese-style police state tactics used by the Greek security apparatus (and overseen by meddling Chinese embassy officials) against the Tibetan Freedom Torch a couple of weeks ago, watch it now and compare with whatever happens tomorrow. The Totalitarian Olympic torch will be dogged by conscientious objectors as it travels around the world over the next few months, and I dare say the Tibetan Freedom Torch will be welcomed by the world's people wherever it goes. The Times has the route map for the Chinese torch through London on April 6.
Pro-Tibet rallies have been taking place in Bangkok, and in Chiang Mai, Thailand's second city up north. Burmese refugees are also very supportive in these actions. And one of the six Thais selected by China to carry their flame through Bangkok on April 19, has resigned in protest. M.R. Narisa Chakrabongse, founder of the Bangkok-based Green World Foundation and highly regarded among Thai NGO's, wrote an open letter to the media yesterday announcing that she...
"...will not participate in the torch-running ceremony at the Beijing Olympic Games in response to the severe violation of human rights in Tibet."The other five selected runners will now come under some pressure from the NGO community, due to Khun Narisa's high reputation. Eighty other Thais are slated to help carry China's torch around Bangkok on April 19, each for a quarter kilometre.
"The slaying of the Tibetans since the middle of March is an outright violation of human rights," the letter said. "It happened two weeks before the Olympic torch bearer leaves Athens and five months before the Olympics Games.
"This reflects the Chinese goernment's negligence of world sentiment."