Agam's Gecko
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Students protest at Chinese university
Students of North Western Nationalities University in Lanzhou protest violent suppression of Tibetan aspirations on Sunday. They also launched a hunger strike.
Photo: Phayul.com

ibetans students continued a protest on their campus in the capital city of Chinese Gansu province yesterday, launching a hunger strike against the Chinese government's violent crackdown on the people of the Tibetan Plateau, who demand only freedom and justice. More photos of the event are at Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.

TCHRD has also received information confirming that students of the Tibetan Medical College, Teacher Training Higher Institute and other colleges in Kanlho county, Amdo region have carried out demonstrations on their campuses. People's Armed Police units moved in immediately to cordon off the sites, where the situation remains tense.

Hundreds of Buddhist devotees gathered yesterday for a religious teaching in Golog, Amdo when the meeting was broken up by security police. Several other similar incidents were reported from the Golog area.

At the Choephel Shing monastery in Dogo township, Kanlho county Amdo, around 500 monks were conducting a prayer ceremony (the burning of Juniper incense, called Sangsol) on a hill behind their monastery this morning. At the conclusion, they erupted into a protest demonstration against Chinese rule.
The monks marched out carrying the banned Tibetan national flag, shouting slogans calling for the "Independence for Tibet" and "Long Live the Dalai Lama". The protest has been gaining momentum and growing in size when this report is being filed.

Reliable sources say that huge contingent of People's Armed Police (PAP) and Public Security Bureau (PSB) has been brought into the area to quell the Tibetan demonstrators. The situation on the ground is extremely tense.
TCHRD has also received additional photos of the crackdown and resultant casualties on Sunday near the Kirti monastery in Ngaba county, Kham region. Phayul has more, but be warned, they are very graphic.

Witnesses in Lhasa report that armed police are rounding up hundreds of Tibetans as last night's deadline passed (the roundups were going on well before their stupid deadline anyway).
Another Lhasa resident said Tibetans were now being turned away from hospitals in the city.

“The Lhasa People’s Hospital has been damaged,” the source told RFA’s Tibetan service. “The local Tibetans suspect it was damaged by the Chinese so that injured Tibetans couldn’t receive treatment.”

“Tibetans who are taken to Lhasa hospitals are now being turned away,” the source added.
Refusing medical treatment to the wounded, turning people away from hospitals. Isn't there an international sanction against this sort of behaviour?

Journalists are now being expelled from western China; reporting on protests in these traditionally Tibetan areas is banned, and even tourists are being told to get out.
Foreign tourists have been ordered to leave areas with Tibetan populations in Qinghai, Sichuan and Gansu, according to sources in the travel industry.

“Tourists were ordered to leave the Ngaba area,” one tourism worker said. “Three groups of foreign tourists who just arrived here were told to leave immediately.”

A hotel employee from Tongren county, Qinghai, told Mandarin service reporter Ding Xiao: “No foreigners were allowed in the region.”
Even Chinese reporters from Hong Kong have been expelled.
China put more than a dozen Hong Kong journalists on a flight out of Tibet on Monday accusing them of "illegal reporting", the Hong Kong Journalists Association said, criticising the move.
That's rich, for a country which promised to loosen the leash on reportage in return for being awarded the Olympic Games, to have such a thing as "illegal reporting."
The journalists association said in a statement the decision was "unacceptable" and violated promises to grant reporters greater freedoms to report and travel in the runup to the Beijing Olympics in August.

"They escorted them to the airport and even bought a ticket for them to Sichuan," said association spokesman Mak Yin-ting. "Their presence (in Tibet) is totally legal."

Foreign reporters are barred from travelling to Tibet without official permission, but Hong Kong's press corps had managed to enter on Hong Kong travel documents and reported freely for several days, providing a valuable stream of compelling television images.

"They said we had illegally filmed shots of PLA (People's Liberation Army) soldiers," one of the journalists told Reuters by telephone from Chengdu.

"But I heard that someone senior was a bit unhappy with our reporting and gave the order to throw us out."
While the crisis is eliciting unacceptably muted responses from many Western governments and total inertia at the United Nations (where China holds a veto, and won't be shy to use it), it's exposing deep divisions among Indian lawmakers. In the Rajya Sabha, India's upper house of parliament, the former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha lambasted the government's "weak-kneed response." His comments bear repeating:
"We are all for good relations with China but I would humbly suggest that good relations do not mean that we surrender (our rights to make our views known)," he maintained.

"We have civilizational links with Tibet," he pointed out, demanding a government statement "on what its thinking (on the issue) is". The government should also work through diplomatic channels and the UN to bring about a resolution of the issue, Sinha contended.

He also condemned the "blood repression" and the "cultural genocide on a large scale" by the Chinese government against protesters in Lhasa. "Human rights are being violated with impunity. We do not know how many people have lost their lives but it is believed to be in the hundreds."

"There are door-to-door searches for the protesters and not for those who have indulged in violence. What is most shocking is that the authorities have declared a people's war against the people of Tibet," Sinha maintained.

"How can a government conduct a people’s war against its own people," he wondered.
Some journalists and editorial writers of the world's media have drawn parallels of the current Tibetan uprising, with the mass demonstrations seen in Burma a few months ago. The similarities in some of the images are indeed striking, and your humble correspondent drew the same parallels back in September '07. Now the Burmese monkhood is coming to the moral aid of their Tibetan brothers.
Speaking with The Irrawaddy on Monday, a leader of the All Burma Monks Alliance, U Pyinya Zawta, said, "We strongly condemn the Chinese government for their crackdown on Tibet’s monks. We appeal to the Chinese government to stop their suppression of monks and initiate peaceful negotiations."

The All Burma Monks Alliance is an underground monk’s organization inside Burma founded by Buddhist monks in September at the time protests broke out nationwide.

The crackdown on Tibetan monk-led protests by Chinese security forces is similar to the brutal crackdown on September’s peaceful demonstrators in Burma when at least 31 protesters, including monks, were killed, said U Pyinya Zawta.
The International Burmese Monks Organization also condemned the Chinese crackdown in a statement Sunday.
In their statement, the monks said, “We strongly urge the Chinese authorities to stop the violent crackdown and to initiate as soon as possible a dialogue which can give rise to the fulfillment of the true wishes of the Tibetans.”
No report covering the crisis has appeared in Burmese newspapers (they are all state-censored if not state-run). The Irrawaddy reminds us that Dalai Lama had come to Thailand in 1993 to lobby for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi (as part of a gathering of fellow Nobel laureates, which the then Democrat-led government permitted in spite of strongarm pressure from China). He also spoke out on the Burma crisis during an Interfaith Summit in northern India.
"I am fully committed and I fully support and sympathize with the demonstrators," the Tibetan spiritual leader told reporters...

The Dalai Lama urged the military junta in Burma—a staunchly Buddhist country—to heed the Buddha's teachings. "They should be Buddhists. Please act according to Buddha's message of compassion," he said.
Burma's military rulers may be taking notice of current events, which seem to be making them nervous.
Sources told AsiaNews that the military government that has run the country formerly known as Burma has tighten security around other religious symbols as well as the heavily-guarded road to the airport.

The authorities have of course not provided any explanation for the tighter security. But some are speculating that the measures are a prelude to further crackdown on the population and Buddhist monks who might be tempted by anti-Chinese protests in Lhasa.
The ruling regimes of China and Burma are like uncle and nephew, or patron and client. It will be entirely fitting for the democracy movements of Tibet and Burma to join forces where possible, and jointly torment the world's conscience with their freedom struggles.

As Yaswant Sinha said in his speech, India and Tibet have civilizational links. With that comes a certain responsibility. Tibet has more than just religious links with Burma. The Tibetan and Burman languages belong to the same linguistic family, and despite the Chinese propaganda about Tibetans "always" belonging to the great Chinese family, Tibeto-Burman languages are distinct and unrelated to the Chinese tongue.

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