Agam's Gecko
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Labrang Monastery
Labrang Monastery on April 4, 2008.
Photo: AP / Ng Han Guan

elected foreign media have been invited on another show tour, this time into the regions of eastern Tibet (parts of Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan provinces) where the majority of the ongoing protests by monks, nuns and laypeople have continued -- and where shooting into crowds of non-violent demonstrators has also continued until as recently as last weekend. This tour comes less than two weeks after the public relations fiasco of a journalists' tour of Lhasa, during which Jokhang monks held an unapproved press briefing.

And it's happened again today. Buddhist monks at the large Labrang monastery interrupted the CCP-controlled media tour today.
The monks, whose numbers grew to about two dozen during the 10-minute incident, began shouting slogans in Tibetan in an outer courtyard as journalists entered a prayer hall at the Labrang monastery in western Gansu province bordering Tibet.

"We want human rights, we want the Dalai Lama back, we want to preserve our religion and culture," said one monk, who switched to Chinese when asked by a reporter from the American Broadcasting Corporation.
Labrang monks
Many more than two dozen monks make a procession through Xiahe town, near their Labrang monastery on March 14, 2008.
Photo: MARK RALSTON / AFP / Getty Images
The monks of Labrang were certainly active and vocal in their non-violent processions in Xiahe town, as far back as March 14 -- the very day of the violent riots in Lhasa. The Chinese authorities tar all these expressions of Tibetans' need for freedom with the same brush -- violent "splittists" who engage in "beating, looting, smashing and killing." The vast majority of the actions have been nothing of the sort.
ABC reporter Chito Romana said the monks also displayed the snow lion pennant of independent Tibet, labeled a "reactionary flag" by China's communist regime...

Shortly afterward, a senior monk told reporters the protesters represented only a few of those at Labrang. He said they would not be punished by monastery authorities, but could face sanctions if authorities find that they broke the law, Romana said.
That's what they were told about the Jokhang monks as well, until it emerged from Chinese officials that they were indeed subject to punishment.
Just south of Labrang, armed police manned a roadblock leading from the town of Luqu toward the monastery of Xicang, some of whose monks are believed to have taken part in protests in mid-March.
Ugyen Trinley Dorje, Karmapa
Ugyen Trinley Dorje, 17th Karmapa, is seen shortly after his flight to freedom in India.
Ugyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa Lama is the leading lama of the Karma Kagyu tradition. His recognition in the traditional manner was accepted by China, making him the most senior reincarnated tulku to have had the blessing of both Dalai Lama and Chinese government. In fact, this is the situation which led the Tibetans to believe they would be permitted to search out and locate the 11th Panchen Rinpoche in the normal process, which they conducted very soon afterwards. Their selection was immediately apprehended by Chinese authorities, and has never been seen since.

Karmapa made a daring escape from his Tsurphu Monastery at the age of 14, reaching India in the first days of 2000. It was a major embarrassment for China, which had recognised his legitimacy and insisted that he would soon "return to the motherland". He then sought, and received, political asylum in India. The government of India has restricted his movements over the past 8 years, fearing to offend Beijing. Now he will be permitted his first foreign journey.
As per the schedule, the Tibetan leader arrives in New York City on May 15 and then travels to Woodstock, NY; Boulder, Colorado; and Seattle, Washington, ending his US tour in the first week of June. Confirming the Karmapa's first ever trip outside China and India, his secretary, Dupon Rinpoche, said, "Yes, His Holiness is getting ready for his first foreign tour to the US."
Dorje has recently said he views the Tibetans' current calls for freedom, as a genuine phenomenon and urged Tibetans to retain peaceful methods.
Buddhist religious head Karmapa Lama has termed the Tibetans’ urge for freedom as genuine, and has called for peaceful means to fight Chinese suppression.

Speaking to media persons, the 17th Karmapa Lama, Ogyen Thrinley Dorje, said that he sympathizes with the Tibetan exiles and understands their frustration.

He expressed hope that the situation in Tibet would return to normal soon.

Dorje also said that the Tibetan identity must continue to exist and all steps should be taken to preserve the community.

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