Friday, April 11, 2008
DISSENTING VOICES IN TIBET, CHINA AND EVERYWHERE ELSE
here isn't much news getting out of Tibet today, or at least it isn't reaching the usual channels. After reporting yesterday on the Trojan malware attacks said to be coming via two pro-Tibet organisations' websites, I now find that the Tibetan government's website has been down all day today. At least it's unreachable from where I am, replying with "connection refused". That usually means it's been shut down or otherwise incapacitated.
McAfee reports it as a "new SQL-based Trojan" dubbed "Fribet". I've had no problems yet, and have been frequently accessing the two sites mentioned yesterday (cross fingers).
A former chief of the Chinese Communist Party's powerful propaganda department has called for the government to reject "revolutionary politics" and cited "sharp social contradictions" in stating the importance of genuine reconciliation. Zhu Houze served under the reformist Party Secretary Hu Yaobang until his downfall in 1987, and spoke to Radio Free Asia's Mandarin service.
"China has very sharp social contradictions now. Those contradictions are reflected in the relationship between different ethnic groups, between different social classes as well as between different social classes and the government," Zhu said after being appointed senior adviser to a non-government reconciliation think-tank...A few days ago RFA held a discussion panel on the Tibetan rebellion on the broadcaster's Tibetan language service.
"Revolution and uprising should not be the means to be used to resolve the contradictions," he told RFA reporter Ding Xiao. "China as a nation cannot afford such turmoil."
"We share the same view that peace and reconciliation, and progressive reforms, are needed to dissolve those contradictions, and to achieve national unity and a harmonious society," he added.
"In our area, the Chinese crackdown and restrictions on monks and Tibetan youths and students have been shockingly rigid and ruthless," a Tibetan-American youth who was in Lhasa during the protests told RFA's Tibetan service.RFA Unplugged has more of the translated discussion. A Tibetan woman who participated in the roundtable discussion talked about her experience of the March 14 riot in Lhasa.
"Monks are being ostracized, and the police look on them as objects of hatred. The situation is extremely tense. All Tibetan monks and students, regardless of their participation or non-involvement in the protests, are being treated as suspects," he told a panel discussion on the recent unrest.
That very night I saw many Tibetans being taken away and Chinese armed police firing on Tibetans.She mentioned one man who was known to her, who worked as a driver, and is survived by a young daughter.
Within a short period, about 200 Tibetans were detained. In the midst of the commotion, it was hard to tell who was alive or dead and who was taken away. I saw some Chinese with head injuries. Then, my sister told me that she had seen nine Tibetan bodies in the area of Luphuk. I myself saw a Tibetan woman and a man lying dead in Ani Tsangku hospital. When I arrived at the Lhasa City Peoples Hospital, I saw three Tibetans being brought in. One of the injured was Tenzin Norbu from Kham Pelbar. His sister brought him in, and I recognized him. He had been shot in the head, and the hospital suggested that he should be taken to the TAR Peoples Hospital. He was vomiting and may not have survived. That boy was very young - about 21 or 22 - and according to his sister he was a student in a school just below Sera monastery. Another youth had also been shot in the head. He was bleeding heavily, and there was little hope for his survival. Another Tibetan youth had been hit in the hip and had about four bullet wounds.
He died on Friday and his funeral was planned for the following Monday, but local officials took his body for a post mortem because of the gunshot wound to his head. Later, they handed over some ashes in place of his body. Most of the Tibetan families whose loved ones were killed could not be traced. It was difficult to know whether they were alive or dead or under detention. Most of the dead bodies were taken away and disposed of by the Chinese.The same young Tibetan-American quoted above comes from the remote countryside, and he acknowledged that his people back home have a limited understanding of politics and freedom. But he appreciates information, and Radio Free Asia.
Our educational facilities are poor, and we didn’t know much about the freedom that is enjoyed in free countries. So when we listen to your programs, we are greatly benefited. Who actually sponsors RFA? Oh, the U.S. Congress sponsors your programs? Though I am an ordinary Tibetan youth, I would like to thank–on my own behalf and on behalf of all Tibetans inside Tibet–Congress for providing this benefit for us.Although Tibetans feel under heavy surveillance and fear retribution if they speak to foreign media, one young Tibetan living in Amdo (Ch: Qinghai province) wanted to tell Radio Free Asia a few things.
RFA: Do you wish foreign media to come?
Tibetan: We certainly want them to come. Above all, we wish people all around the world to know the truth. Chinese journalists cannot report many facts due to government banning. Only foreign reporters can reveal the real truth.
RFA: According to you, is the Dalai Lama agitating the Tibetan independence movement?
Tibetan: I don’t think the Dalai Lama is calling for Tibetan independence. I once saw a disk in which the Dalai Lama was interviewed by an overseas Chinese. He said that more and more Tibetans phoned him urging for independence, but he declined. There are many overseas brethren working for Tibetans: every time they get together there might be an argument on independence versus real autonomy. The Dalai Lama’s view is different from those who call for independence.
And if it were even possible, there's actually more bad news for the Chinese government. I don't know how much more of this they can take! It must burn them up to have bona fide third-world heroes showing solidarity with the people of Tibet, Burma and Sudan. A highly regarded founder of a Thai environmental NGO, M.R. Narisa Chakrabongse very publicly withdrew last month from carrying the torch in Bangkok (set for April 19), citing the outrages in Tibet. Now Kenya's Nobel Peace laureate, Wangari Maathai has pulled out of the torch relay in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on April 13 -- the only African city on the itinerary. She cited the same range of reasons.
UN SecGen Ban Ki-moon isn't going to the opening ceremony, he says. The European Parliament has adopted a resolution condemning China's "brutal repression" and calling on member states to stay away from the opening ceremony, if China has not begun to engage in dialogue with Dalai Lama or his representatives by that time.
China has turned down a request by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour to visit Tibet. Even the thug rulers of Burma allowed UN Special Rapporteur Sergio Paulo Pinheiro into their country (once) after their vicious crackdown on democratic aspirations. The UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has issued a statement calling for access for journalists and independent observers, and expressing concern over the reported killings of protesters by Chinese security forces.
In doing battle online over this issue of Tibetan self-determination rights, Chinese patriots are fond of citing other countries' perceived misdeeds in this area, apparently thinking "This'll throw them off! The people of Québec are forced at gunpoint to stay within Canada! Canada will never allow Québec independence!"
Most of these people are completely unaware that Québec (own "National Assembly", own consulates in foreign cities flying own flag, etc.) had a referendum on independence in 1995. And it was their First Nations peoples' votes which swung it against separation.
More than thirty years ago there was a wave of terrorism by radical Québécois separatists. I don't hear about separatism even being talked about much anymore. And now there's Nunavut, an autonomous, majority Inuit region in Canada's north, with its own parliament, and so on. Tibetans would probably be overjoyed to be treated like that.
The Parti Québécois is (or at least was) the pro-separatism party in Quebec. Received by email today:
Quebec, Thursday April 3, 2008 – (National Assembly of Quebec)The fallout from the revelations about China's "men in baby-blue", the Sacred Flame Protection Unit of the People's Liberation Army's paramilitary internal security force, is getting more radioactive. Japan is adopting a principled stand on the thugs' participation while on Japanese soil, like Australia has done. No Chinese special forces security for the torch.
Daniel Turp, MP for the riding of Mercier and international relations spokesperson for the Parti Québécois, was delighted by the Quebec National Assembly's unanimous adoption of a motion expressing the concern of elected officials with regard to the present situation in Tibet.
The adopted motion reads as follows:
“That the National Assembly of Québec expresses its concern with regard to the present situation in Tibet”
"Confrontation and repression are not methods that will allow a peaceful outcome to this crisis, and China has the duty to respect the rights and fundamental freedoms of the Tibetan Nation", declared the member of Mercier riding.
Member Turp pointed out that the matter of respect of basic rights is everyone's business: "Quebecers cannot close their eyes to violations of peoples’ rights and freedoms; it is fitting that they show interest in the situation of the Tibetan People and these violations of their basic rights."
"We should not violate the principle that the Japanese police will firmly maintain security," Izumi, a Cabinet minister who is responsible for supervising police forces nationwide, told a press conference.And yet the Beijing 2008 committee has told the IOC that they will be beefing up security as the running of the gauntlet continues.
"I myself do not accept the idea that they will run in Japan as they ran in other countries," he said.
"We do not know what position the people who escorted the relay are in," he said. "If they are for the consideration of security, it is our role."
Here is a picture featured on Yahoo's photo gallery yesterday. Notice the caption, which says "Tibetans carry a body during a mock funeral procession..." I fully expect some bozo(s) to pick up on this and send the pic everywhere he/they could think of. "Those uncouth Tibetans, they're carrying dead bodies around in their demonstrations!" Reuters, amend the caption to read "mock body" or "actor" before someone gets confused.