Agam's Gecko
Monday, April 28, 2008
Tsam Monastery
The 1000-year-old Tsam Monastery, located at an elevation of over 4500 metres near the city of Shigatse, is seen here on April 26, 2008.
Photo: REUTERS / David Gray

atriotic re-education campaigns are taking hold across the entire Tibetan region. Their first focus was on the monasteries, but despite the monks' determined resistance to being "re-educated" into hating Dalai Lama and loving the Party instead, the campaign has moved into every section of society. Communist Party cadres were next in line for ideological indoctrination and loyalty tests, and now the program has expanded to include mandatory sessions for government employees (including retired), security forces, private entrepreneurs, educational institutions, farmers and nomads.

The concerted effort has three themes: to "educate" the masses (in 'opposing splittism'); to "protect stability"; and to "promote development". The Tibetan author Oser wrote last week that its aim is to "deepen anti-separatist struggle and counterattack the Dalai clique", and that from primary and middle school students to individual businessmen and peasants, nobody can escape this political campaign, in which denunciation sessions play a major part. Tibetans are being instructed on how happy they are under the patronage of the Communist Party. The Cultural Revolution is back with a vengeance in Tibet.

This ongoing project has first put its boots into the monasteries, and as we have seen over the last 7 weeks, the monks have resisted with a remarkable courage. The result of this has often been midnight raids, beatings, arrests, state vandalism of their institutions and religous treasures, and sometimes death. Those experiences seem to have so impressed the authorities, that they seek to expand it into every corner of society. Who says communists don't believe in mixing religion with politics?

Oesser also writes that strict measures are being enforced in Lhasa with the aim of expelling all "those people with three without". The "three without" are: ID card, residence permit, and job. The first focus is expected to be on the visiting monks from Kham and Amdo who have been studying in Lhasa. All travel in or out of Lhasa will be strictly controlled after May 1, and travel passes requiring ID card and photo must be obtained by anyone who wishes to travel, including primary students, children in pre-school, and even those little ones not yet in pre-school.

At the time the harmonious flame enters Lhasa, the Tibetans there will be forbidden from making pilgrimage or circumambulation journeys. Travel agencies have been notified that their staffs will comprise most of the planned 20,000 patriotic Han Chinese of Lhasa, who will perform the activity called "Safeguard the Torch and Love one's Country" at the Potala Square, in honour of her flameyness.

In the third week of April, monks at Nechung Monastery, Lhasa, as well as laypeople refused patriotic re-education; arrests were made. A group of monks from Tenkhang Monastery, Lhasa, protested; all were arrested. Eight young monks from Nalanda Monastery, Lhasa, were very roughly beaten and arrested, resulting in one sustaining a broken spinal cord. He hasn't received medical attention, but was fined 5,000 Yuan.

Chinese armed forces raided Shi-tsang Gatsel Monastery in Kanlho "TAP" Amdo on two successive nights, stomping on portraits of Dalai Lama and arresting over 30 monks. Around 70 laypeople in the county had been arrested earlier, and imposed with fines. Armed forces raided Choephel Tashi Monastery, also in Kanlho, stomping on portraits and arresting over 200 monks, who were also fined. In Kyegudo, Amdo, armed forces raided homes and confiscated satellite television components. Tibetans are told they may not watch foreign channels, only state-run channels.

A 29 year-old monk in Ngaba County, Kham, committed suicide, as he "could not bear seeing such repression imposed on Tibetan people" (even though he was actually blind). He said to his family, "We do not need to mention that you with eyes can not stand such kind of life, Even I, a blind person, can not endure it." (quote via Oser) A senior monk had earlier committed suicide in the area. Bounties have been offered for several wanted protesters in Ngaba prefecture. A local government office has offered monthly salaries for those who protest against His Holiness Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration.

In Drakgo (or Drango) County, Kardze "TAP" Kham (Ch: Sichuan) residents have been told that in order to continue to receive their compensation for growing government-ordered plants and trees on their land, they must provide a signature on a blank piece of paper. For poorer families, assistance with school fees will depend on their also providing such signatures. While the signature campaigns on documents denouncing Dalai Lama have failed miserably, this "blanket signature" campaign seems a transparent effort to trick people. Or so they must believe, as very few have provided these "blanket signatures", saying they have no need for the government's money.

Readers may recall this one from a month ago. A denounce / criticize / struggle session was called by authorities in Chokri Getse Township in Drakgo Country on March 26, in an effort to bring the people under control. Residents were ordered to denounce and criticise Dalai Lama and his "splittists."
An elderly woman, Ama Tsanglo, steadfastedly refused to abide by the order and on the contrary called for the fast "return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet". Upon this, the Township Party Secretary beat her brutally, amidst which she shouted, "I will never denounce the Dalai Lama. Even if you kill me today I won't have any regrets." Unable to see his old mother getting beaten mercilessly, her son sprang from the crowd and gave some strong physical blows to the Party Secretary.
Both Ama Tsanglo, and the communist who beats up old ladies, were hospitalized. Ama Tsanglo's son Yeshe fled the scene. The update today: He was arrested sometime near the beginning of this month.

At Lithang Monastery in Kham (Ch: Sichuan) monks have also been ordered to provide these "blanket signatures", however they refused. Authorities tried to pressure the heads of the institution to convince the other monks to provide them. They also refused. Later, "concerned officials" came again to the monastery, informing the clergy that they were each required to hold up a Chinese flag in one hand, while at the same time providing a signature with the other. A photograph would be taken simultaneously of the occasion. All the monks refused.

In Dzoge County, Ngaba prefecture Kham, monks of Tak-tsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery held a protest at a local market. More than 20 were arrested, re-education sessions were imposed, and the monks feel constantly harassed and expect further arrests. Around 190 of the monks have fled from their institution to take refuge in the mountains.

Two men arrested for alleged involvement in the March 14 riot in Lhasa have been released, and have passed on accounts of their incarceration conditions to CTA at the request of fellow prisoners. After their arrest on March 14 they were first taken to Gutsa Prison in Lhasa, then transferred to another prison they knew not where (but probably at a higher altitude, as they said it was very cold). Various methods of torture were used on them, and they were deprived of sufficient food and water. Prisoners resorted to drinking urine, and are literally being starved to death. Both men are now in a bad condition from the beatings and torture they suffered.

A very strong military build-up is reported in Tingri County, Shigatse last week. Around 3,000 armed forces have been deployed to Shelkar town and another large number in Drakmar village. On April 24 a large armed forces group was deployed on Ghung-la Mountain, Solu Khumbu, where herdsmen were forced into portering materials for the army (as the CCP government of China takes yet another page from the Burmese junta's policy manual). Earlier in the month, seven businessmen who were returning home from Solu Khumbu were arrested for unknown reasons, five by the army and two by local police. Mount Everest is located in Tingri County.

A couple of nuns from Drakkar Nunnery in Kardze, Kham held a peaceful protest at the county market. They threw around hundreds of small pieces of paper, written with words such as "Tibet is an independent country," and "Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama." Their protest went on for a long time until they were arrested, and no further information is available. Posters with similar messages were distributed in Dartsedo, also in Kardze.

Four young Tibetan tour guides were arrested in Dechen prefecture, Kham (Ch: Yunnan), allegedly for having passed information to the outside world via the internet. The four men all hail from Amdo. A young farmer in Drakgo County, Kardze, Kham refused to provide his signature in the Dalai Lama vilification campaign launched among nomads and farmers. He was severely beaten and hospitalized, and remains in detention.

Lodi Gyari at Shiwa Monastery
Monks of Shiwa Monastery in Nyarong, Kham receive the Special Envoy of Dalai Lama Lodi Gyari, during his team's visit in September 2004 (one of the previous 'dialogue' visits). Chinese authorities later downplayed these missions as "sightseeing and social visits."
Photo: International Campaign for Tibet
Many monks from several monasteries as well as nuns and laypeople protested in Meldro Gungkar County, Lhasa on April 12. Arrests were made, and following the protest a 21 year-old nun from Choekhor Nunnery committed suicide. Oesser reports the same incident, but with the nun's age given as 31. She writes that there were dozens of arrests and many severe injuries in that suppression. The identity of a 25 year-old nun from the same religious institution, who died of injuries sustained during a protest in Meldro Gungkar in March, has been released by CTA. This brings the total of identified victims of the Chinese crackdown to 60, among a death toll of over 140.

On an uncertain date, Chinese "work teams" arrived at Shiwa Monastery (see photo) in Nyarong County, Kardze, Kham, to order the senior monks to hoist the Chinese flag above their rooftop. The senior monks refused the demand. They were also pressured to give up a "protest leader" from an earlier demonstration, but the monks stood together to claim responsibility, saying there was no "protest leader." No arrests were made, but around 200 armed forces continue to be stationed at the monastery.

With the impending arrival of her flameyness to the Mount Everest area near the end of May, and to the Tibetan holy city Lhasa in June, local governments are scrambling to get ready. Osser wrote on April 23 that word is that Lhasa will surely be under curfew, but that authorities will not admit to having imposed it. Currently the farmers of various townships near Lhasa have been informed that after May 1, they will not be permitted to travel to the capital for any reason.

Lhasa residents are stocking up on grains and other necessities in case they are confined to their homes. She writes that the troops which have flowed into the city since mid-March are showing no signs of leaving, and many are living under tents in the yards of various work units, which have been ordered to clear out meeting halls and offices (possibly for more army accommodations). Lhasa stadium is filled with troop tents and trucks.

She also writes of late night raids and mass arrests at the Drepung, Sera and Nechung monasteries (of which we haven't had news for weeks, as they have been under complete lockdown). Late at night on April 10, Public Security Bureau officers carried out mass arrests at Drepung and Nechung, with twelve trucks filled with monks later seen driving out. Except for the old and physically weak, there are few monks left there. Only four monks are now left at Nechung Monastery, home of the famous oracle.

On the morning of April 16, the TAR PSB summoned all police and security cadres for undisclosed assignments. Cell phones were ordered switched off, collected and stored. In an all-day session, the officers were shown three movies and provided with lunch and dinner. At midnight they were sent to the Horsemanship Training Center to await orders. At 2:00 am they were ordered to arrest monks at Sera Monastery; more than 400 monks were taken. There are now only a few monks left at Sera.

On April 18 at about 4:00 am, PSB police of Lhasa and special police of TAR made mass arrests at Droma Lhakang (an 11th century temple at Nyetang, 30 km. southwest of Lhasa), taking nearly every monk away. Nyetang Monastery owns a great number of rare cultural relics, and the county government has had to dispatch Party cadres to guard them, for 100 Yuan per day (plus bonus).

On the same day, Tibet Communist Party boss Zhang Qingli visited the "work teams" and the monasteries' "Democratic Management Committees" at the now nearly empty Drepung and Sera. Oseur received the information that the Tibetans present had severely scolded Zhang behind closed doors, telling him that he should be taking the main responsibility for March 14. Seeing the cruelty of the suppression, the false propaganda in Chinese media, and the prejudicial treatment of Tibetans now in Chinese regions, those who once sided with the authorities are feeling shocked and abandoned, she says. The CCP is losing the sentiment of more and more Tibetans by continuing with their mistaken policies.

'kick him while he's down'
Chinese 'students' kick a South Korean man who had protested China's human rights record in Seoul, April 27, 2008.
Photo: AFP / Choi Won-Suk
There is no particular news on the 'torch of flaming harmony' front today. She is undoubtedly enjoying a restful stay in the best hotel Pyongyang has to offer. Thousands of adoring subjects of China's close ally turned out to line the streets for her passage, shaking bouquets of Kimjongilium flowers in perfect unison. How's that for harmony?

But here's a late-breaking picture from Seoul on Sunday. This is a different attacker from the one in the picture I included in yesterday's post. If you look closely (open the larger version), you'll see there are actually four legs down there putting the shoes to him. But it does look like the same victim (tan jacket, black pants, and part of his bicycle is visible). Other photos of this unfortunate human rights supporter here and here.

Ah, spoke too soon. Here's a late report from the pro-China rally in Auckland I mentioned yesterday.

Outside Auckland Town Hall, Sean Turnbull held out a Tibetan flag above the crowd. "I was standing up with the Tibetan flag when they all came rushing. They ripped off our flags and I took a few punches to the head." Daniel Klein said a couple of his lady friends were arguing with the marchers when about 150 Chinese students surrounded them.
"They start punching with the flags on the girls and they start punching back. It became a big fight. There was five locals and around 10 or 15 of the big mass of Chinese people."
Travis Rapana said the marchers were allowed to "run wild" and described another scuffle between marchers and passers-by.
"It was pretty intense," said Mr Rapana. "There was a lot of intimidation going on. A lot of people didn't like it - a lot of Kiwis didn't like it."
There were apparently three arrests yesterday in Auckland, but none of the pro-China demonstrators were included. As Travis said, they were allowed to "run wild." But I'm sure it was only an excitable minority, and the majority of them were peaceful.

Labels: ,

Powered by Blogger

blogspot counter