The Middle Way through Tibet
March 26, 2008 4 Comments
The Dalai Lama has suggested a “middle way” through the crisis in Tibet. The Associated Press reports on March 24, 2008:
“DHARMSALA, India (AP) – Nearly six decades of struggle against the might of China has taught the Tibetans one thing: Ask the world for little, expect less.
… They know few countries have the appetite to cross China, particularly at a time the world is counting on the emerging superpower to keep the global economy ticking as the United States appears headed into a recession.
… From the exiled Tibetan leaders, there were no calls for sanctions, like those imposed when Myanmar suppressed pro-democracy protests last year, or even a boycott of this summer’s Beijing Olympics.
It’s an approach that reflects the pragmatism of the Dalai Lama, who has long sought an accommodation based on his “Middle Way” dialogue with Beijing aimed at autonomy for Tibetans under Chinese rule.
Instead, the Tibetans appealed for international pressure on China to act with restraint, to open the area to international investigators and the media and for organizations like the International Red Cross to be allowed in to ensure wounded Tibetan protesters get treatment.
“Specific things are very difficult. No one is going to send in a peacekeeping force,” said Taklha.
The Tibetans have, however, won the moral support of many nations.
… Some argue that only international pressure has stopped China from completely crushing the Tibetans long ago.”
via The Raw Story on March 24, 2008:
Various rights groups have drawn up plans aiming to galvanise opposition to China’s record on Tibet, Darfur, human rights, religious freedom and other issues in the run-up to the Beijing Games.
The Falungong group is running a rival torch relay to highlight the plight of its followers in China, who it says are subject to brutal persecution.
Dream for Darfur, an organisation set up to pressure China into helping end the bloodshed in the western Sudanese region, is planning protests along the torch relay route.
Thai environmental activist Narisa Chakrabongse, chosen to carry the Olympic torch when it crosses Thailand next month, has declined in protest against Beijing’s crackdown.
From The BBC on March 24, 2008:
Protesters from media rights group Reporters Without Borders broke through the cordon of 1,000 police officers in Olympia as China’s envoy spoke.
As Liu Qi, head of the Beijing Olympic organising committee, spoke ahead of the torch lighting, three men broke into the ceremony venue.
One ran up behind him attempting to display a black flag depicting the Olympic rings made from handcuffs.
… The live television coverage, beaming the scene around the world, quickly cut away from Mr Liu and the protesters until they had been removed.
From SkyNews on March 24, 2008:
Two protesters ran onto the field at Ancient Olympia while Liu Qi, president of the Games’ organising committee, was giving a speech. Both were detained.
Lhadon Tethong, director of Students for a Free Tibet, said both men were taken to the local police station.
“One of our colleagues saw them being dragged by about 20 police through town,” he said.
When the incident took place, China state TV cut away to a pre-recorded scene, preventing Chinese viewers from seeing what was taking place.
Commentators on Chinese TV never mentioned the incident.
From MSNBC on March 24, 2008:
BEIJING – One policeman was killed and several others injured in riots Monday in western Sichuan province, China’s state media reported.
The official Xinhua News Agency gave no other details regarding the riot.
Xinhua also said that 381 people involved in protests in another Sichuan county, Aba, had surrendered to police, according to local authorities.
From the Times Online on March 25, 2008:
Hundreds of monks, nuns and local Tibetans who tried to march on a local government office in western China to demand the return of the Dalai Lama have been turned back by paramilitary police who opened fire to disperse the crowd.
Local residents of Luhuo said two people – a monk and a farmer – appeared to have been shot dead and about a dozen were wounded in the latest violence to rock Tibetan areas of China.
The demonstration began at about 4pm local time when about 200 nuns from Woge nunnery and a similar number of monks from Jueri monastery marched out of their hillside sanctuaries and walked towards the Luhuo Third District government office in the nearby town. They were swiftly joined by an estimated several hundred farmers and nomads, witnesses said.
UPDATE: From MSNBC on March 27, 2008:
LHASA, China – Tibetan monks stormed a news briefing at a temple in Lhasa on Thursday, accusing Chinese authorities of lying about recent unrest and saying the Dalai Lama had nothing to do with the violence, foreign reporters said.
… The outburst by a group of 30 monks in red robes came as the journalists, including an Associated Press reporter, were being shown around the Jokhang Temple — one of Tibet’s holiest shrines — by government handlers.
… Government handlers shouted for the journalists to leave and tried to pull them away during the protest.
“They want us to crush the Dalai Lama and that is not right,” one monk said during the 15-minute outburst.
“This had nothing to do with the Dalai Lama,” said another, referring to the March 14 riots.
… The protesting monks appeared to go back to their living quarters. There was no way of immediately knowing what happened to them.
… Later, the area around Jokhang was sealed off by People’s Armed Police wearing helmets and carrying shields. They refused to say why they were there. The only people allowed to enter the area were those who live in the narrow lanes around the temple.
… The reporters were kept away from any potential hotspots, including the Ramoche monastery. Down a lane north of the Jokhang, Ramoche is where the violence started on March 14.
The narrow lanes leading to it sealed off by riot police in dark blue uniforms.
The government handlers also told the reporters they would not be able to see Drepung and Sera monasteries, where initial protests were launched March 10.
Reporters who tried to break away from the group were followed on foot and by car.
From the BBC on March 27, 2008:
In the old town, the Tibetan area, there are many paramilitary police with riot shields and batons.
If you try and approach, as I have done today – escaping the group briefly to go to two of the monasteries whose monks were behind the protests in the weeks which led up to the riots – then there is no access to those areas, those monasteries where monks are believed to be detained.