Agam's Gecko
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
'People's' Liberation Army
Chinese soldiers in riot gear ready to load into trucks, in a Tibetan township in the south-west part of Gansu province, March 30, 2008.
Photo: REUTERS/David Gray

hinese security forces have launched major raids on a number of monasteries in eastern Tibet in recent days. One of those targeted was Kirti monastery in Ngaba county, where at least 23 peaceful protesters including children were killed in the middle of last month.

During the raids, scenes were staged and videotaped for use in later propaganda productions, according to reports received by the exile community. Chinese state-run media reports that many weapons have been seized, and these seizures are used to "prove" Dalai Lama's supporters' violent intentions.
The PAP staged events taking pictures of the monks holding portraits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan flag while behind cameras the monks were severely beaten.

The PAP also took pictures of monks using computers who were forced to do so...

Many Tibetan hunters have been vowing to stop poaching and have been turning in their arms to various monasteries. Such an act has been a traditional practice in Tibet since the monasteries (seen as a sacred place) are the ideal place to make such vows and poachers have faith in the monasteries to never allow their use again or to engage in their sales.
Raids and arrests are reported at numerous monasteries, as well as forced "patriotic" re-education sessions -- which don't seem to be going so well for the authorities.
Chinese governmental "Work teams" arrived at Shiwa monastery, Ralang Township, Nyarong County, for "patriotic re-education" classes. During one particular class, monks shouted slogans such as "Free Tibet" and "His Holiness the Dalai Lama should be welcomed to Tibet."

As a result, around 200 military personnel arrived at the monastery to suppress the determined monks.
The monks of Kirti monastery in exile, located in Dharamsala, received contact from their brothers in Ngaba county. Accounts of the raids as of March 28 were given. Thousands of security forces entered 6 monasteries in the area, raiding the monks' rooms and confiscating all means of communication. Monks were forced at gunpoint to step on photographs of Dalai Lama. The Chinese then staged some scenes and videotaped them.
* They forced some monks to hold up a portrait of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan national flag.

* A small monk was forced to hide half his body underneath the wooden floorboards and made to place his hands on the keyboard of a lap top computer.
One of the monks was able to make a secret phone call to the Kirti monks in India.
"I am worried that the CCP is creating false evidence to try to show that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the mastermind behind the protests in Tibet. The security forces forced us to act out these scenes against our will with guns pointed at us. I appeal to the people of the world, do not be persuaded by these fake videos".
At an affiliated monastery in Dzoege county, confiscation of antique weapons displayed in the monastery's chapel (traditional offerings to the protectors) has already been cited by CCP mouthpiece Xinhua news agency as evidence that monks are taking up arms. The monks have called this a complete fabrication. These allegations are clearly just part of the propaganda section of China's new "people's war".

Accounts of the raids given to TCHRD say that hundreds of Kirti monks were detained last Friday and Saturday. "Credible reports" from "multiple sources" told TCHRD that a total of 572 monks of Ngaba Kirti monastery have been arrested by PAP and PSB officers, following a two day raid on their residences over March 28 - 29. Novice monks as young as 10 were among those taken away. Prior to the raids, security apparatus dispersed people gathered around the monastery, and ordered nearby shops to be closed down. Anyone with mobile phones, cameras, mp3 players, etc. were arrested on suspicion of communicating with the exile communities.
The PAP and PSB ransacked every room of the monastery, baring every box and cupboard with rifle butts. There were even reports of security forces taking advantage by taking away valuable items from monks' residences. The sources also confirmed that in an attempt to hurt the religious sentiment of the Buddhist monks, the PAP and PSB officials forced monks to step over the portraits of the Dalai Lama found in monks' residences. The security forces even took photographs of monks who were coerced to hold the banned Tibetan national flag and portrait of the Dalai Lama to use as evidence of their crimes. The sources confirmed that symbolic ceremonial weapons hung on the statues of protecting deities inside the monastery altar were also reported to have been confiscated, and were accused of being weapons used by the protesters.
Other monasteries in the Tibetan area of Sichuan province were similarly raided on March 29 and 30, with many arrests in each case. The sources confirmed that several elderly people were beaten with rifle butts. Many more details are in this April 1 report.

The "patriotic" re-education campaign has been ramping up across the region, but as I said before, it doesn't sound like a smashing success. Lamas and monastery abbots are forced to make critical statements against the ongoing protests, and to launch a signature campaign to denounce them.
Intending to misuse the influence of the Lamas, Tulkus and Khenpos of the Monasteries, on the monks and the public, the Chinese authorities tried to force them to advice their followers both the monks and the lay Tibetans against initiating any kind of pro-Tibetan independence protest and demonstrations. In the meeting, the Lamas and Tulkus demanded opportunity to express personal views one by one and everyone unanimously expressed the same viewpoint that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is as precious as their own eyes and heart, so they will never criticize Him.
At this particular meeting, they completely rejected the allegations against Dalai Lama, and told their indoctrinators that the banning of his photo, and the forcing of denunciations were just mindless and deliberate provocations that would incite trouble. Consider the courage required to say these things directly to their oppressors. Oh, to have had a camera on their faces!

Hundreds of Tibetan high-school students are boycotting classes in Chone county, Kanlho "TAP" (Ch: Gansu province), where at least two monks were killed on March 14. The protest is not yet over, and a law enforcement official told RFA reporter Qiao Long, "The majority of the protesters are good people," but would not comment further.

One official in Kardze "TAP" (Ch: Sichuan province) who had confirmed to Radio Free Asia the protests which took place there last month, has gotten into trouble with his superiors. "I was punished for giving that interview," he said. A man living in Golog "TAP" (Ch: Qinghai province) described the influx of paramilitary PAP forces to the area, stating that 30 - 40 Tibetans were detained after a few soldiers on patrol were attacked by nomads.

The top official for minority and religious affairs in Tibet has been sacked, according to Chinese state media on Sunday.
Danzeng Langjie, director of Tibet's Ethnic Minority and Religious Affairs Commission, has been "removed" from his post, according to a statement posted on the website of the Tibet Daily newspaper...

It said he had been replaced by Luosang Jiumei, another ethnic Tibetan who has been vice secretary of the Communist Party committee of the capital Lhasa since 2004 after occupying a long list of district posts...

The announcement today gave only the Chinese versions of the two men's names. Their actual Tibetan names could not be immediately confirmed.
Chinese media only refers to Tibetans by their Chinese names, which is a bit strange when you think about it. This actually displays the vast difference between Sinitic languages and the Tibeto-Burman linguistic family. Mandarin doesn't even contain the sounds necessary to correctly pronounce Tibetan names.

Meanwhile in the Uyghur region north-west of Tibet, several hundred Uyghurs staged protests in the Khotan area on March 23 - 24, after a prominent Uyghur businessman and philanthropist died in Chinese custody.
Numerous sources said the demonstrations followed the death in custody of a wealthy Uyghur jade trader and philanthropist, Mutallip Hajim, 38. Police returned his body to relatives March 3 after two months in custody, saying he had died in hospital of heart trouble. According to an authoritative source, police instructed the family to bury him immediately and inform no one of his death.
Some sources described the unrest as "riots" which continued for several days, and some casualties were reported. One Chinese official quoted by AP today claimed the protests in Khotan were "about responding to the riots in Tibet". From the context given above, I rather doubt that.

And here are a couple of follow-up stories related to recent events focused on in these pages. Despite assurances given to the foreign journalists who were privileged to take part in the Jokhang monks' impromptu press briefing last week -- that they would not be punished for speaking out -- the German news agency DPA reports that they in fact will be punished.
The Tibetan monks who held a daring protest in front of a group of visiting journalists in Lhasa are to face punishment for their actions, informed sources said Sunday.

Officials in the Tibetan capital who hosted a brief visit by international diplomats shortly after the protest reported that no-one had asked what would happen to the monks, 'but whoever exhibits separatist tendencies will be punished according to the law.'
Not true.  Some journalists did ask after the monks' fates, and were assured that no repercussions would be dealt out to them. The Tibetan exile groups did not trust this assurance, and it looks like they were right.
The diplomats along on this subsequent less-than-24-hour tour heard the government's line that Dalai Lama was orchestrating all these events from outside the country. One envoy described this as "incoherent", and in response to demands for some proof, they "did not even receive the whiff of a concrete reply."

Further to the story reported here yesterday via the Kachin News Group, that two Tibetan activists had fled southern Yunnan into Burma only to be captured by the KIO and returned on Chinese instructions, here's an account of conditions at "Shangri-la", in Yunnan from the Telegraph.

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