14 March 2008

save Tibet now

(Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)
Tibetans throwing stones at army vehicles as a car burns on a street in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, after violent protests broke out on Friday. (NY TIMES PHOTO)

The world screams about Burma, Sudan, and Rwanda, but where are the tears for Tibet? A genocide has been going on since the Chinese marched in over 50 years ago, yet the world does nothing.

Chinese Police Clash With Tibet Protesters
BEIJING — Violent protests erupted Friday in a busy market area of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as Buddhist monks and other ethnic Tibetans clashed with Chinese security forces. Witnesses say the protesters burned shops, cars, military vehicles and at least one tourist bus.

The chaotic scene marked the most violent demonstrations since protests by Buddhist monks began in Lhasa on Monday, the anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. The protests have been the largest in Tibet since the late 1980s, when Chinese security forces repeatedly used lethal force to restore order in the region.

The developments prompted the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, to issue a statement, saying he was concerned about the situation and appealing to the Chinese leadership to “stop using force and address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people”.

Gunshots Fired as Thousands of Tibetans Hold Fresh Protest

"...Around 50 monks from the Labrang Tashikyil Monastery began staging demonstration carrying the banned Tibetan national flag and shouting “Tibet Independence” slogans around 2:00pm today.

Some 600 more monks from the same monastery later joined the demonstration.

The number later swelled up to few thousands when general public continued to join the procession of monks and the protest became more intensive.

The source said police started to fire live ammunitions in the air and started to beat the demonstrators when the procession reached the Sangchu County Public Security Bureau headquarter.

“Public security and armed police began firing shots later as it (protest) became very
intensive. Whether it caused casualties is unclear,” the source said.

“Gradually the number increased and thousands of Tibetans gathered around in the main market. At the police station they shouted more loudly out of control, then the Chinese police started shooting among the protesters, as a result the mass scattered rapidly due to gunfire,” the source said...."

Riot in Tibet as Police Clash with Protesters

"...One resident of the old city near the monastery told The Times: “It’s very dangerous. Tibetans are fighting the Han people in the street outside. I can’t talk because I’m afraid.”

The nearby Tromsikhang market, built in 1993, had been set on fire and a column of smoke could be seen billowing into the sky, one witness said. The market contained shops belonging to Tibetans as well as ethnic Han Chinese and members of the Hui Muslim minority.

One Tibetan, covered in blood, was seen carried away from the scene by about five or six other people. Witnesses said dozens of ambulances and police cars had raced to the city’s 102 People’s Hospital but it was not known how many people were hurt or how seriously.

Dozens of paramilitary police vehicles were seen patrolling central Lhasa to try to restore order. However, crowds of Tibetans and monks were still demonstrating in the afternoon. One witness wept as he spoke and said he was too afraid to say anything...."

Here are the faces of protest...

(photos from Phayul.com)

Monasteries Under Lockdown

"Conditions are said to be increasingly tense within the three major monasteries in Lhasa, which are under lockdown and surrounded by troops following peaceful demonstrations over the last three days by hundreds of monks from Drepung, Sera and Ganden monasteries on the outskirts of the capital. Ganden monks demonstrated yesterday, marking the third day in a series of protests unprecedented in recent years that have now rippled through the Lhasa area, while others are reported in at least two remote rural monasteries and towns in areas of central and eastern Tibet.

All three monasteries are closed off to tourists according to several tourism operators. Two Drepung monks are said by Radio Free Asia to be in serious condition after stabbing themselves in a possible attempt to commit suicide, while monks at Sera are refusing to attend classes and are on hunger strike in a bold act of protest despite the crackdown at the monastery...."

of course the Chinese are blaming His Holiness the Dalai Lama for all of this.

I am beyond words when I read these stories. it disgusts me that the world screams in horror when these atrocities occur in other parts of the world but does nothing about Tibet. the world's leaders, and especially American politicians, are spineless and gutless when it comes to China. from the New York Times story: "The White House responded with expressions of concern, but not direct criticism, although it urged the Chinese authorities to use restraint." the word I'm thinking of right now starts with the letter "P".

Below is the letter I received from Barack Obama (he is my senator) when I wrote to him via his website...just a bullshit canned response from one of his staffers....

"Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about human rights in the People's Republic of China. I appreciate your perspective on this issue.

As the world's most populous nation, China's influence and power has been growing steadily over the past several decades. This is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and presents America with challenges and opportunities to seek change.

In particular, China's treatment of ethnic and religious minorities and political dissidents, as well as its relationships with Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet are very troubling. Despite progress over the last few decades, China must do much more to comply with modern human rights norms. I look forward to working with my colleagues on these difficult issues and am deeply committed to promoting human rights in China and other countries.

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the East Asian Subcommittee, I will keep your thoughts in mind as the discussion on this subject continues.

Thank you again for contacting me. I hope you will continue to keep in touch on this or any other subject of importance to you.


Barack Obama
United States Senator"

"I will keep your thoughts in mind as the discussion on this subject continues." yeah, right.

I am Buddhist and my teacher, Gelek Rimpoche, escaped Tibet in 1959. you can read about Tibet and Rimpoche here on my sister blog.

If you care, read The End of Tibet, a Rolling Stone story.

"The small concrete room smells of urine. In the corner, a young woman lies on a metal cot, moaning softly and vomiting up blood. A former Buddhist nun, she is recovering from an operation on her stomach to fix internal injuries caused by beatings from Chinese guards. Her roommate, Lhundrub Zangmo, speaks in a whispery monotone. Zangmo's head is no longer shaven, and her straight black hair falls over her tight sweater emblazoned with the words The Coolest Boy. But even though she has left the clergy, Zangmo remains deeply religious. She has plastered the walls of the tiny room with photos of Buddhist deities and the Dalai Lama, leader of Tibetan Buddhists."

I sponsor a Buddhist nun who fled Tibet and who now lives at a monastery in India. if I went to Tibet and wore my Dalai Lama pendant, at best it would be taken from me, at worst I would be thrown in jail -- images of His Holiness are forbidden in Tibet, his birthplace.

The Rolling Stone story contains a link for the International Campaign for Tibet that lists six things you can do to help make the 2008 Beijing Olympics a catalyst for change in Tibet.

I will not watch any part of the Olympics this year. the monks that the Chinese have captured will still be in jail when the Olympics begin. as you sit down in your comfortable living rooms to watch the opening ceremonies, they will still be in jail, if they are not already dead.




  1. I just saw a fascinating story about Tibet and for the life of me I can't remember the name of it. Damn, I hate old age! I'll look it up later and get it to you. I rented it from Blockbuster.

    Yeah, I got one of those canned letters from Obama once. They're actually getting better, though. At least it was somewhat on subject. The first letter I got was just a campaign style letter that said, "Look at the wonderful things that Barack Obama is doing for Illinois!" Honestly, I wanted to scream I was so angry!

  2. I was also thinking that Obama's letter didn't seem nearly as bad as some I've received (my Representative is Tom Tancredo!). But will he do anything? Doubtful.

    ". . . yet the world does nothing." You are right---and even when the world screams (Burma, Sudan, Rwanda), it still doesn't stop the killing. Screaming is not enough. There has to be action by governments (which citizens have to demand) to stop what is happening in Tibet and elsewhere.

  3. Linda, I got it. Thanks for your comments about Tibet on my blog. I did a post today.

    I think we should boycott the Olympics and products made in China!

  4. Here's another reason to boycott the Olympics.



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