Thursday, March 27, 2008
SHIGATSE JOINS PROTESTS; SHOW TOUR DISRUPTED
he body of the young monk killed during a peaceful protest in Drango county on Monday, which his fellow monks had managed to keep in their possession and hidden in a safe place (as reported here yesterday), was forcefully taken yesterday and destroyed.
Drakgo (Ch: Luhuo) County, Karze "Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture," Sichuan province - Chinese military and police forcefully takes away dead body of Chokri Monastery Monk and has it cremated nearby. More arrests after peaceful demonstration.After prayers over the body on Tuesday were followed by further peaceful processions, more indiscriminate firing resulted in further casualties, including at least one more monk who was not expected to survive his wounds. Meanwhile in Lhasa, the first fatal casualty of the armed seige which has sealed the monasteries off, blocking them from supplies of food and water, was returned to his family without explanation.
As reported earlier, due to the tight restrictions, getting regular food and water supplies has been a huge problem at Ramoche monastery (among many others) and on 24 March, Lobsang Thokmey (a monk from Ramoche) died as a result.The monks of Tashi Lhunpo monastery, in Tibet's second city Shigatse, have begun to get involved. Tashi Lhunpo is significant as the seat of the Panchen Lama, second in Tibetan Buddhism's leadership hierarchy. The Panchen and Dalai have had a reciprocal relationship over centuries, wherein one recognises the reincarnation of the other and assumes educational responsibilities for him. Both belong to the Gelugpa tradition.
Chinese authorities returned the body of Lobsang Thokmey to his family on 25 March. However, they have not provided an explanation for the cause of death.
The 10th Panchen Lama died mysteriously in 1989 at the age of 51, very soon after delivering his famous "poison arrow" declaration, critical of Chinese policies in Tibet. Some Tibetans had criticised him as a "Chinese puppet" (he remained in Shigatse and Beijing after Dalai Lama's exile), but most scholars as well as the Tibetan leader himself believe that he did the best he could for Tibetans' welfare.
After his death, the traditional manner of locating his reincarnation was followed (apparently with Chinese approval, the monks believed), and a boy was recognised in 1995. The decision was endorsed by Dalai Lama from India. Immediately the Chinese government apprehended the boy and his family, installing their own candidate as Panchen Lama. He rarely visits the monastery, is not recognised by Tibetans, and lives in Beijing. The legitimate Panchen Lama has not been seen for 13 years.
Despite tight security which has prevented their attempts to demonstrate over the past week, during which they had been repeatedly turned back by security forces, the Tashi Lhunpo monks managed to make their way onto a city street on Monday.
According to the report, Paramilitary People’s Armed Police quickly moved in to prevent the group from marching through the town of Shigatse (Ch: Xigaze).One point: Shigatse is not "adjoining Lhasa," it's some distance to the west. [checking GEarth] It's about 225 kilometres west from Lhasa as the crow flies.
The latest protest in the city adjoining Lhasa comes despite huge deployment of police throughout the town following massive demonstrations against China’s rule over Tibet through the capital, Lhasa, on March 14.
The demonstration by the monks was so brief that they barely had time to shout the slogans demanding the return of the Dalai Lama that have been a feature of nearly two weeks of unrest across ethnic Tibet areas, the report said.
The outburst by about 30 monks came as the journalists, including an Associated Press reporter, were being shown around the sacred Jokhang Temple by government handlers in Lhasa.I've taken a liberty with the AP report, which quotes the monks saying, "They want us to crush the Dalai Lama..." The ongoing "patriotic" re-education campaigns require the monks to denounce His Holiness. I believe curse would be the accurate term, possibly lost in translation or unclear English pronunciation. If it is indeed "crush", it would point to an adjustment of re-education guidelines, and I will stand corrected. And here's more funny childishness from the authorities who are managing the trip.
"Tibet is not free! Tibet is not free!" yelled one young Buddhist monk, who then started crying...
Government handlers shouted for the journalists to leave and tried to pull them away during the protest...
"They want us to [curse] the Dalai Lama and that is not right," one monk said during the 15-minute outburst.
"This had nothing to do with the Dalai Lama," said another.
The foreign reporters were frequently monitored, and even followed. The bus ride from the airport seemed purposely slow, taking nearly 90 minutes to travel 40 miles in an apparent effort to soak up time despite pleas from the reporters to speed up.Liu Xuan of the "Tibetan Information Office" and other officials refused to answer questions about the suppression and causes of the protests, until a planned interview session expected sometime today.
Reuters has more on the impromptu protest. I'll have the video from Al Jazeera up in a few minutes.
"About 30 young monks burst into the official briefing, shouting: 'Don't believe them. They are tricking you. They are telling lies'," USA Today reporter Callum MacLeod said by telephone from Lhasa.CCP's news agency Xinhua reported the disruption without any of the details.
Some wept as they then told foreign reporters stories about a lack of freedom, he said.
Another reporter on the trip said some of the monks asserted that they had been unable to leave the Jokhang Temple since March 10.
Here's the video from Al Jazeera's broadcast just a short while ago (while still finishing this article).