Tuesday, March 18, 2008
STUDENTS IN BEIJING HOLD SILENT PROTEST
ibetan students in Beijing staged a silent candle-lit vigil on their campus yesterday, hours ahead of the Chinese government's deadline for protestors in Lhasa to surrender, or else. The students were gathered inside the Central University for Nationalities, in the Chinese capital.
It was a small, rare show of defiance in the host city of this year's Olympic Games, where Communist Party authorities are especially eager to prevent public shows of dissent.
"It was only to pray for the souls of the dead," said an ethnic Tibetan student from northwest China's Gansu province, who was kept away from the sit-in by security guards.
The vigil was broken up by authorities hours before a deadline in Tibet's regional capital, Lhasa, for protesters who rioted through the city on Friday to hand themselves in to police or face harsher treatment afterward.
UPDATE: This was the first ever Tibetan protest in the Chinese capital. There was also a peaceful protest by students of the South-Western Minorities University in the western Chinese city of Chengdu.
Last night in Lhasa a convoy of trucks paraded Tibetan detainees through the streets, standing with wrists handcuffed behind them. The Times reporter Jane Macartney is quoted saying, "A soldier stood behind each prisoner, hands on the back of their necks to ensure their heads were bowed."
And now the clampdown has spread to the Uyghur East Turkestan, or as China calls it "Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region."
According to Uyghur sources, the authorities in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), or East Turkestan, have imposed curfews following the protests and crackdown in Tibet in at least two towns in Xinjiang, Kashgar, and Hotan. Perhaps fearing copycat protests, people have been instructed to be home by 10 pm, and there is a stepped up security presence of police with guard dogs. According to reliable reports, people found outside after 10 pm have been detained.