Agam's Gecko
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Drepung procession
Monks of Drepung Monastery, located on a hillside above Lhasa, make a peaceful procession toward the city on March 10, 2008.
Photo: TCHRD

he CTA website is back up and running after the hacker attacks of last week. But update your bookmarks, the address is slightly changed -- from tibet.net to tibetgov.net. I'll have to go back and edit earlier posts so the links will still work, but it looks like everything is there. [Apr. 24 edit: it's back to the original again. I've gone through the archives and changed the url's back again]

On April 10 the Tibetan government published two more names of Tibetans shot and killed while demonstrating, in these cases both in the Tongkhor monastery shooting incident of April 3. Under 24-hour surveillance, Tongkhor township continues to resist "patriotic" re-education classes, which are proving a failure. Monasteries in and around Lhasa remain under lockdown, with all monks detained within their compounds and no visitors allowed. It's reported that those responsible for food supplies (normally monks) are sometimes allowed to go out to purchase food, but they must dress in civilian clothes.

The people of Drakgo county (sometimes previously spelled Drango here) in Kardze TAP, Kham (Ch: Sichuan), have been tricked into putting their signatures on documents believing they were for the release of two monks arrested on March 26. In fact the documents (likely written in Chinese, which many Tibetans can't read) were for the purpose of pledging allegiance to the "motherland" and denouncing Dalai Lama. When this was known, no further signatures were obtained. New "local forces" are being organised by the authorities to assist the military in restricting movement in many towns in Sershul county, Kardze. More postering campaigns are reported in Yunnan. "Through happiness and sorrow, we stand together" is the message.

In the April 12 update it's reported that non-resident Tibetans found in Lhasa are being forced to return to their hometowns, while non-resident Chinese are not. Hospitals in Lhasa are short of beds, and many patients in critical condition are being turned away. The names of two more monks shot and killed in the Tongkor incident of April 3 are provided. Numerous other arrests are reported; monks in Chamdo, U-tsang (Ch: "Tibetan Autonomous Region") for demanding the release of fellow monks, and others in Dartsedo county, Kardze for small protests. Violent vigilante activity by Chinese in Lhasa has also been reported.

Back to the April 3 Tongkor shooting for a moment. By my reckoning, the above two CTA updates bring the number of identified victims of the incident to 14 (8 names on Apr. 5, 2 more on the 7th, 2 more on the 10th, and 2 more on the 12th). In its original report on this incident, witnesses told RFA that 15 had been killed. It looks like that is closer to the mark than all the other media which still say 8.

Japan's Kyodo news service has a reporter in Kardze (via Breitbart) who offers a glimpse of current life in the city (Ch: Ganzi). Armed police in trucks are patrolling the town 24 hours a day. "Each truck has a man lying on the top with an automatic rifle at the ready." The reporter spoke to people who were at the Tongkhor protest, and described the shooting.
"They suddenly started shooting at us, after firing warning shots in the air," a Tibetan monk who participated in the protest on April 3 told Kyodo News...

The people who became targets of the police shooting were those trying to take pictures of the incident, the monk said.

"The government is lying, and that is why it is afraid of pictures becoming known to the outside world," he said.
This journalist was denied entry to a temple on the grounds that only those with an Olympic press pass are permittted. The passes are yet to be issued.

The military will be replacing Public Security Personnel in Lhasa at the end of this month. The move evidences a mistrust of the mainly ethnic Tibetan Public Security Personnel by the authorities. A protest was reported yesterday in Markham county, Chamdo, U-tsang (Ch: "Tibetan Autonomous Region"), following a forced "patriotic" re-education campaign in the area. Some monks quit their monastery rather than denounce His Holiness.

Riot police
Riot police confront and halt Drepung monks' procession outside Lhasa, Mar. 10, 2008.
Photo: TCHRD
The monks of Drepung Monastery, just outside Lhasa, have been deluged with additional armed forces and "work-teams" for obligatory "re-education" sessions. They held a protest last Friday or Saturday, and many were arrested. Over 30 arrests are reported from Chentsa county, Amdo (Ch: Qinghai) on April 4, as punishment for protests there last month. Students in the county who were involved in flag replacement activities last month were also punished with suspension. Ethnic tension between Tibetans and Chinese in Lhasa remains high, with reports of fighting between students of the two communities. Students are also fund-raising to help those who suffered losses in Lhasa (I'd like to know more about this).

The well known Tibetan writer Woeser, who writes in Chinese language and is now under house arrest in Beijing along with her husband Wang Lixiong, has been keeping updates of events on her blog. In this translation, she mentions a student protest in Amdo.
Furthermore, in Amdo, Hainan County of Qinghai Province, over 100 students of the Qinghai Junior Teachers College held a peaceful demonstration on campus to protest the authorities' killing protesting Tibetans. They urged the authorities to release all Tibetans who were arrested for protesting. A large number of police were immediately sent to suppress the demonstration, and have tightly blockaded the area.
She also gives a view from the inside, of the effects of this "people's war" propaganda campaign (she monitors Chinese television and websites for the latest arrest warrants).
The one-sided propaganda that appears in Chinese official media has created hatred among Chinese toward Tibetans. The Chinese website has been filled with articles condemning Tibetans and the Dalai Lama. Fabricated articles by faked witnesses have been incessantly published to cover the protests in Lhasa, Aba and other Tibetan areas. It is said that, in Beijing and Shanghai, hotels refuse to let Tibetans book rooms and check in even on business trips.
TCHRD reports on the monks of Drepung who were detained around April 12, after a protest against the "patriotic" re-education (brainwashing) campaign. "Work Teams" are being sent into the monasteries to conduct these sessions, but the monks are having none of it. CCP mouthpiece Xinhua "news" service reported on the visit by this particular "Work Team" but refrained from reporting on the resistance, protest and detentions that followed.

So what's this brainwashing school all about? Other than being the trigger of increased resentment, resistance, and the ensuing detentions (and sometimes shootings)? Barbara Demick, writing in the Baltimore Sun, has been looking into it (Wai Dan at Tibeto-logic, who has links to a few more voices that need hearing).
Tibet experts say the rhetoric harks back to the re-education and self-criticism campaigns of the 1960s and 1970s but is unlikely to be successful today.

"Getting people to denounce the Dalai Lama or to recite ideological statements shows a lack of imagination on the part of the Communist Party. There is no way they can force people into what they say is the correct way of thinking," said Ronald Schwartz, a Canadian scholar.

Schwartz and more than 200 other Tibet scholars have signed an online petition calling for the Chinese government to negotiate over Tibetans' grievances, but he says he is not optimistic.

"Patriotic education" is one of the Tibetans' major grievances against Chinese rule. The Communist Party intrudes on religious life, dictating which deities can be worshiped, what clothing can be worn and the procedures for reincarnation - a core belief in Tibetan Buddhism.

"Patriotic education is a euphemism for brainwashing," said Chukora Tsering Agloe, a researcher at the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.
Dan, the Tibeto-logistician, did some checking on the scholars' open letter (reported here March 28), downloaded the list, eliminated a few duplicates and:
This comes to a grand total of 526. This is far more than 200.
Textbooks written by the Party, such as the 2002 Handbook for Education in Anti-Splittism which Demick quotes from, appear to be having some influence even among overseas Chinese, if recent comments on this blog are any indication. And this earlier pamphlet:
Teaching materials reveal the extent to which the Communist Party feels threatened by the Dalai Lama. Though he has stated repeatedly that he favors more autonomy for Tibet, rather than independence, teaching materials accuse him of being a pawn of Western capitalists who want to break up China.

"His aim is to cause chaos and split the motherland, to struggle in competition with us to control the minds of the people," reads a pamphlet published in 1997.
Well, they can't have any competition when it comes to controlling the minds of the people, now can they?

No, they don't even like competition in a "special autonomous region" like Hong Kong. Journalists there are set to get a taste of these "patriotism lessons" to give them a greater sense of "national identity," according to an official report circulated today. Normal citizens will be getting free CCTV. President Hu is said to be "troubled by the city's independent streak and mass pro-democracy marches..."
The proposals have alarmed some democratic legislators who fear they are an attempt to brainwash people and introduce Beijing-style controls on TV and newspapers in Hong Kong, which enjoys greater freedom than the rest of China.
Xinhua also reported over the weekend (it's still the weekend here in Thailand [Songkran Festival!] which is a partial explanation for fewer posts here in the past few days) that 9 Buddhist monks have been arrested for bombing a building in Gyanbe township (neither county nor province provided in the report). The bomb supposedly exploded on March 23, but
Xinhua did not explain why the alleged incident was not reported earlier.
Six monks are said to have confessed to the deed, and three for shielding the suspects. I don't know about you, but for this news consumer, Xinhua is simply not a credible source. More so lately, given what they've been publishing for the past month. I also take issue with this statement from AP:
Scholars say China's accusations help the government justify its crackdown and demonize the opposition while driving a wedge between the government-in-exile and groups like the Tibetan Youth Congress that have challenged the Dalai Lama's policy of nonviolence.
As far as I have seen, the TYC does not challenge Dalai Lama's policy of non-violence. They do challenge his policy of "no independence" and have openly said so. It is one of the five largest Tibetan organisations which began the March to Tibet last month, Satyagraha style, and demonstrated their non-violent principles when Indian police arrested them not far from Dharamsala. This may be an example of western media simply accepting assertions made by Chinese state-controlled media, and they really should stop that. The CCP authorities have produced no evidence tying TYC or any other Tibetan civil group to violence in Tibet, full stop.

Let the journalists in!

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