Thursday, May 01, 2008
CULTURAL REVOLUTIONARIES HIT THE BIG TIME
f you've ever wondered what the Great Chinese Cultural Revolution was like in the 1960's and 70's, wonder no more. It's going on with a vengeance in Tibet, and may be coming soon to a city or town near you. The new Red Guards are everywhere, it seems.
On Tuesday, when 30 Tibetans were sentenced in "speedy trials" to terms ranging from three years to life, there were some reports that one of the defendants had been unable to stand up. The Tibetan writer Oeser, writing on her alternate web site (she still hasn't been able to regain control over her own blog, after hackers changed the password), says she has received reports that all 30 had been tortured to extract their confessions, and that a number of them had to be propped up by police while walking into the court. There were no defense lawyers, and no statements were made by the defendants.
Due to the fact that the judge's speech in Chinese needed to be translated into Tibetan, and many mistakes were made in the translation, those attended the court hearing frequently broke into laughter. It is said that judging from the laughter, it seems that people were venting their resentment. Otherwise, how could people laugh at such an occasion. But all the defendants could only put up with these in silence. It is learned that in the next few days the authorities will sentence more people, and there is the tendency to sentence them more severely or sentence them to death.A group of Chinese lawyers (who had offered their services for free to those Tibetans detained for taking part in demonstrations) had been threatened and intimidated to stay away from the Tibetan cases. One rights defense lawyer who has publicly expressed support for the "Twelve Suggestions for Dealing with the Tibetan Situation by Some Chinese Intellectuals", which was circulated on the internet in mid-March, was threatened yesterday when a gang of unidentified men burst into his home. He was next door at his brother's place, and his wife asked them what business they had with her husband.
One of the men responded: "Tell your husband not to meddle in the Tibet question. This is a betrayal of his country. We in Shandong don’t agree! If he makes any more statements about this, we will come and beat him to death."Zheng Enchong had completed a three year prison sentence in 2006, on what are usually bogus charges ("revealing state secrets"); he and his wife Jiang Meili have lived under 24-hour surveillance ever since. In February this year he was detained by police and beaten up by unknown persons. After their home intrusion yesterday, Jiang Meili contacted police to ask how it could have happened with all the surveillance and video cameras all around them. There was no answer for her. Wai to kind reader Dan for this.
Woseur was the first to report last weekend on a protest by two nuns in Kardze, Kham (Ch: Sichuan).
Tibetans are still protesting against the Chinese authorities. Two nuns, 32-year-old Lhaga and 30-year-old Sonam Dekyi in Draka Nunnery in Ganzi County in Kham (Ganzi Prefecture, Sichuan Province) were arrested by the police on April 23, when they distributed "Wind-horse" banners with scriptures and leaflets written with such words as 'Long Live the Dalai Lama" and "Tibet is a independent country," etc, while shouting slogans in the county seat of Ganzi County.Confirmation and further details have come from Radio Free Asia.
"They began by distributing handwritten flyers calling for the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet and saying that Tibet is independent. Chinese security officers saw the flyers and began to collect them, demanding to know who had distributed them," one source said.Sonam's mother was contacted by phone a few days later. She said her daughter was fully aware of the risks she was taking.
"The nuns were observed on a street-corner shouting slogans calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and for freedom for Tibetans. They were quickly detained and taken away in a police vehicle. Even while being taken away, they continued to shout," the source said.
"My daughter, Sonam Dekyi, fulfilled her purpose in life," her mother said. "She made her own decision to protest, knowing fully the risk and danger that she would face. I am not worried at all. If she doesn't survive Chinese torture, I have no regrets...As His Holiness wished, she protested peacefully and didn't resort to any kind of violence."Another source told RFA that the two nuns were prepared for their arrests, and had bundled themselves in heavy clothes to withstand the expected beatings and cold detention cells. "When police asked who had distributed the flyers, they showed themselves and shouted slogans in the presence of police," the witness said. They continued to shout freedom slogans as they were taken away.
Harsh travel restrictions were to take effect in Lhasa from today, and are already making life difficult.
"We are in hell now. When we go out to shop for groceries, we have to have two IDs: a residence permit and an ID issued by the Lhasa municipal government," one Lhasa resident said. "We have been told not to leave [Lhasa] or to move around until the end of May. We are being forced to criticize the Dalai Lama."On April 28, Oser wrote that a Chinese language report on Boxun.com indicates the situation in Tibet is far worse than people can imagine. A Han Chinese person who recently returned from Tibetan areas was shocked at what he found. This person was described to have held the usual Han attitudes. He believed Tibetans should be grateful, he opposed Dalai Lama (and of course the entire idea of Tibetan self-determination), and he disbelieved Western media reports. Osser translates:
"Many of us who rent shops or homes have been warned that if we have links to separatists, or if protesters are found on our properties, the property owners will be detained and punished. So it is hell here in Tibet."
He said that the reports by the outside world not only did not do wrong to CCP, to the contrary, it only reported 1% of the evil deeds of CCP. Those Chinese soldiers and armed police forcibly occupied monasteries and expelled the monks. Their brutality and rudeness to Tibetans made him rather astonished and disgusted. He said that such situation is unimaginable for the outside world.
"The activity will take place in the main courtyard of the Potala Palace, and we are expecting tens of thousands of people to show up," a travel agency employee surnamed Chen told RFA’s Cantonese service.Got that? This is supposed to be Lhasa welcoming Her Harmoniousness to the Tibetan holy city, but Tibetans are not welcome. It'll be similar to the patriotic demonstrations we've seen in Bangkok, Canberra and Seoul, according to a prospective participant. Who will they be throwing stones at, I wonder? Tibetans?
"There are thousands of people in our industry," Chen said. "At least 20,000 people will be there. Han Chinese tourists can join in, but Tibetans are not welcome."
"The Olympic torch is coming to Lhasa, so we want to do this to protect the flame. It’ll be similar to pro-Chinese demonstrations you have already seen overseas," Chen said.
A police officer and an alleged "Tibetan insurgent" were both killed by gunfire on Monday, in Ponkor ownship, Darlag County, Golog Amdo (Ch: Qinghai), Chinese media reported on Wednesday. Details from the Chinese media are sketchy.
It added that there had been a riot in Qinghai's Dari County incited by "a handful of people alleged to be insurgents seeking 'Tibetan independence,"' following anti-government protests in Lhasa in March.The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy helps to fill in the blanks. Five weeks earlier, on March 21, Tibetans there had staged a peaceful protest, by taking down a Chinese flag and replacing it with the Tibetan national flag. The next day five military vehicles were dispatched to Darlag County, where 350 horsemen charged them and blocked their entry, protesting against the authorities in a mounted demonstration of their feelings.
"After a month-long investigation, the police moved on Monday to arrest the suspected leader. The suspect resisted arrest and gunfire broke out," the report said.
"The officer was killed in the gun battle ... and other officers returned fire, killing the suspect."
On the following day, monks of the local monastery and a local religious teacher intervened and pacified the situation. On the same day, around 30 Chinese military vehicles came to quell the demonstrators. Not enough horsemen. On March 24 security forces arrested about 50 people, and the next day detained a similar number. The intimidation led to around 400 people from Ponkor Toema and 100 from Ponkor Mema townships to flee their homes and seek refuge in the mountains. The Chinese military surrounded the mountain with more than 800 security forces.
The Chinese tried to lure the Tibetans in those mountains to surrender, with promises of leniency. On March 27, two people surrendered themselves, and were severely beaten and tortured, says this "reliable information" received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. In the following weeks, hundreds of people were arrested. Many were later released and fined a whopping 20,000 Yuan (around US $2,500).
On 28 April 2008, events took a dramatic turn when the armed Chinese security forces surrounded a nomadic hamlet in Ponkor Toema Township. At the breaking of a dawn, the armed security forces fired live ammunition on the nomads. Moments later, 22-year-old nomad Choetop was killed during the gun fire. The Chinese security forces took the dead body with them and till date the dead body was not returned to Choetop's family for funeral rites. The situation in Ponkor Toema Township was said to be tense and more and more Chinese security forces were beefing up in Ponkor Township.The page has a photo of Choetop, apparently under arrest on another occasion, with a club-wielding person behind him.
A Tibetan from Lhasa who is now in exile and who requested not to be named told ICT: "The level of unrest and continued dissent shows that these hardline policies by China in Tibet have achieved the opposite of what they were aiming for - they have united Tibetans across the plateau in their loyalty to the Dalai Lama and in preserving the integrity of their cultural identity. This has not happened before in two centuries of Tibetan history. The question now is how the Tibetans will take this forward and how it will play out politically."Tibetans in their offices and schools are required to write stories of March 14 which include denunciations of Dalai Lama, but they are required to refer to him only as "Dalai" -- in the CCP's preferred manner. Failure to do so will require a re-write.
Charges have been pressed against five pro-China demonstrators and two human rights demonstrators in Australia. The seven will appear before the Australia Capital Territory (ACT) Magistrates Court today or tomorrow. Maximum penalty for the charges would be a fine of $1,100, and the Immigration Dept. will be considering visa cancellations on a case-by-case basis. More accounts of the Chinese patriotic activities in Canberra a week ago are coincidentally emerging.
Nicki Elliott was a pro-Tibet protester in Canberra, and she told reporters that she had originally attempted to engage with Chinese students in reasonable discussion.
She and her friends carried photos of Tibetans who had been shot by the regime. "Some girls…were trying to understand why we had these pictures and they were trying to tell us it was propaganda against the Chinese Government, that they weren't Tibetans and that everything we've heard about Tibet is not true. She just kept saying: 'We believe the Government. We believe the Government.'"These type of patriotic demonstrations don't need any torch relay; there were two of these events in Auckland, New Zealand just a few days ago -- no torch in sight. Today has seen a stepped up series of demonstrations in China against the Carrefour retailer, despite the CCP government of China's attempts to rein it in. Carrefour has been targeted because of an unfounded rumour (support for Dalai Lama), which these patriots are unwilling to let go. Nine were arrested in the Beijing protest, but there was no violence. I wonder why not? They seem to do it anywhere else.
Her friend, Nicolas, recounted another exchange with young Chinese males. "They were calling her a b**** and every kind of insult. That's fanaticism."
Nicki said: "They didn't understand that I was even interested in what they wanted to say and they were just very aggressive and very in my face – 'Chinese Government! Chinese Government!"
Sally, who did not want to give her real name because her husband wants to return to Tibet, was with Nicolas and Nicki. "We were going to walk across the bridge, but this guy told us not to, a young Western guy who had a [Tibetan] flag. They beat him up; he was really shaken and had tears in his eyes."
She said she explained the reason she had come to protest, but the Chinese students rejected it and rejected that she was married to a Tibetan, and claimed that they had each been paid $300 to come.
Other pro-Tibet supporters said they had flags wrenched from their hands or from around their necks, that they were spat on, had their balloons popped, had Chinese flags draped over them, were abused, told to "**** off!" or, in what they thought was an ironic twist coming from Chinese exchange students, to "Go home!" or "Go home mother ******!" Chen Yonglin, the escaped Chinese diplomat who is now a resident of Australia, was also at the event.
"These people, this young generation, have been spiritually brainwashed," he said of the students. "They are ignorant of history…For example, they don't know even the Tiananmen pro-democracy movement and they don't know even the Cultural Revolution.
"These people are young Red Guards," he continued. "They are the same, totally. They're brainless. They just, when the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] calls on them to do something, they will do it.
"They're quite timid, actually," Mr Chen added. "I told them: 'Go back to China and demonstrate in the streets,' and they just don't know how to respond."