Saturday, March 15, 2008

Remember Tibet

“Self-determination is an inalienable human right. It cannot be denied the Tibetan people.”
Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of South Africa, Nobel Peace Laureate

Today police have fired teargas to disperse Buddhist monks and others staging a second day of protests in sympathy with anti-Chinese demonstrations in Lhasa that has left at least 30 dead. Unconfirmed reports say the figure is closer to 130. (Guardian)

The demonstrations in several Chinese, Tibetan and Indian cities marked the 49th anniversary of the failed uprising against the Chinese occupation that led to the Dalai Lama fleeing to India.

The protests this week targeted Han Chinese immigrant businesses and property in Lhasa and as many as 160 fires were started in the central part of the city (Pop. 255,000). The Tibetan people have been waging a struggle for cultural and ethnic survival with a settlement strategy on the part of the Chinese administration posing a grave threat to their survival as a cultural unit. According to the Free Tibet Campaign:

The 1990 Chinese census claims a Chinese population of 4.2 million, and a Tibetan population of 4.59 million. Free Tibet Campaign estimates the total number of Chinese in Tibet as 5 to 5.5 million (New Majority)

I spent two months with Tibetan people in Ladakh and Dharamsala in 1996. I attended lectures and meetings which dealt with the situation as it was then on the Tibetan plateau and it was very very grim. Over a million people have died since the occupation began. A thousand years of cultural and artistic heritage has been vandalised.

The Tibet Autonomous Regional Government (aka the Chinese administration) has today announced those hundreds of Tibetans involved in the protests of the last few days have until Monday to give themselves up to police. If they do so the authorities will ``lighten the punishment''. If they do not it will ``severely punish'' those who don't comply or people who aide them. Being arrested by the Chinese police in Tibet is a terrifying prospect with torture and death part of regular penal administration. Mass arrests are likely next week.

Tibet The Story Of A Tragedy

In Lhasa this weekend people will be hiding, scared, injured, trying to escape, looking for missing friends and family. The fact the Olympic Games is taking place in Beijing in 5 months makes me sick. The 2008 Olympics is a farce and should be boycotted by all. I am not even going to watch it on TV and I don't think anyone should.

"We have no human rights there, governments around the world should speak out. It is about people's lives, not business. People are fighting for freedom and the truth." Ngawang Sangdrol, a Buddhist nun, was sentenced to 23 years in prison for her beliefs.

An Eyewitness Account of Yesterday in Lhasa (Mp3 pop up)

Remember Tibet!


Sir William Scythe said...

The Dalai Lama gets so much support because the US and its interests promote his reactionary agenda. Don't forget, the Dalai Lama called for the release of Pinochet when he was arrested in London. Read the Truth:

((((((((ö)))))))) said...

I don't think the Dalai Lama is the only voice of the Tibetan people and that was the point of the protests of 2008. His views are not the only ones when it comes to Tibetan autonomy.