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Siddhi B. Ranjitkar: China Cracks Down on Tibetans

China Cracks Down on Tibetans


By Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

After setting up the communist government in China in 1949, the Chinese communist army marched into Tibet and captured it in 1950. The Chinese forced the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to leave Tibet after the unsuccessful Tibetan uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959. The Dalai Lama went to India to live in Dharamsala. Since then the Tibetans have been fighting against the illegitimate Chinese rule in Tibet. Tibetans living all over the world have staged a protest rally against the Chinese rule to commemorate the anniversary of the unsuccessful uprising of the Tibetans on March 10, 1959.

The spontaneous protest rallies of the Tibetans all over the world is a challenge to President Hu Jintao, the mastermind behind the crackdown on Tibetan protests in 1989. He has built up his political career within the Communist Party based on it since then. Now, President Hu must be concerned with the problem of restoring order in Tibet without undermining the Olympics Games to be held in China in August 2008.

After more than a week of spontaneous protest rallies of Tibetans all over the world and in various parts of Tibet and China, the Chinese Government has agreed to talk to the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on condition that the Dalai Lama gives up his position on the Tibet’s independence; and he recognizes Tibet and Taiwan as the integral parts of China. However, The Dalai Lama has repeatedly said that he asked for nothing more than autonomy to Tibet.

In Nepal, the Government of Nepal following the one-China policy has prevented the Tibetans from staging a protest against the Chinese rule in Tibet. The Nepalese police shamelessly suppressed the rallies in Boudha and other places in Kathmandu on March 10, 2008. On March 17, 2008, the Nepalese police forcibly removed the Tibetans gathered at the main entrance to the UN building at Pulchok in Kathmandu to peacefully demonstrate against the brutal attack of the Chinese police on the Tibetans in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet killing tens of peaceful demonstrators. Thus, the Government of Nepal denied the fundamental human rights to express their feelings peacefully to the Tibetans.

The Nepalese Government and the Nepalese political parties have been supporting the Chinese illegitimate rule following the one-China policy. The Chinese rule is illegitimate, as the Chinese have been running the so-called Tibetan autonomous region against the will of the majority of Tibetans. So, embracing the one-China policy, the Government of Nepal has been clearly interfering in the internal affairs of the Tibetan people. So, the policy is totally wrong.

As in the past, the Chinese Government has suppressed the spontaneous uprising of the Tibetans by the military force this time, too, and spread the lie to cover up its brutality against the peaceful Tibetan demonstrators in Lhasa and other parts of Tibet. The Chinese state-owned media called the protesters asking for the restoration of freedom and democracy in Tibet “a small criminal group” and said that the protestors not the Chinese police killed the demonstrators. Will logically thinking people in the world believe in such reporting?

The Chinese Government accuses the Dalai Lama of orchestrating the protest. The protest against the Chinese rule has been due to the deep-seated resentment of the Tibetans against the Chinese rule in Tibet. Spiritual leader Dalai Lama has said that he has no control over the Tibetans living under the Chinese rule. He has been always for a peaceful dialogue with the Chinese Government, and has asked for not more than true autonomy to Tibet. The Chinese Government is not prepared for granting even limited autonomy to Tibetans.

The Chinese government says that the Dalai Lama’s accusation of China is committing cultural genocide is a lie. However, China has been forcibly attempting to dilute the Tibetan cultural heritage. The Chinese Government has been intervening in the cultural and spiritual life of Tibetans. The Chinese have formulated the law on selecting a successor of the Dalai Lama deviating from the traditional Tibetan way of selecting a successor of the Dalai Lama, and have attempted to dilute the Tibetan culture imposing several restrictions on the cultural life of Tibetans. So, Tibetans often term all these things as the cultural genocide.

Protests against the Chinese rule in Tibet started on Monday, March 10 when around 400 monks began a march from Drepung Monastery heading into central Lhasa, demanding the easing of a government-imposed campaign which forces monks to write denunciations of the Dalai Lama and subjects them to government political propaganda. Over 50 of them were arrested on the way to the city. Subsequent protests began in other monasteries in support of those detained, leading to more general unrest throughout Lhasa and in other parts of Tibet in which lay people joined in. Protests among Tibetans in the neighboring provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan have also been reported. Police and military forces have surrounded three major monasteries in the Lhasa area, confining monks inside and beating those who have attempted to leave. Monks from Sera monastery are reported to have started a hunger strike demanding the withdrawal of military forces from their monastery. [1]

On Saturday, March 15, hundreds of young monks, nuns and ordinary Tibetans, furious at the Chinese crackdown on the Tibetan protestors in Lhasa, Tibet's capital, marched to Jwalamukhi, India where an earlier group of marchers had been detained for 14 days by the Indian authorities. Nearly 700 people had descended on the town by evening. On Sunday, March 16, hundreds more people gathered at Tsulagkhang Temple. More marches are planned for the coming days. The march to Lhasa was the brainchild of activists impatient with the "middle-path" approach adopted by the Dalai Lama. "Some would say there is a disconnect between young Tibetans and our political leadership, and that it would help if the Dalai Lama moved toward a sterner position — possibly say China better get serious about the talks or walk out," says Lhadon Theton, executive director of the New York-based ‘Students for Free Tibet’. Those ideas resonate in Nepal, home to another sizeable Tibetan population, where Tibetans have demonstrated daily for the past week. "We're working to make the occupation costly for China," says Lhadon Theton, who remains committed to non-violence but is planning more protests in front of embassies around the world and is hoping to get as many protestors into Beijing during the Olympics as possible. The Dalai Lama told reporters on Sunday, March 16 that he continues to favor the "middle path" of autonomy within China rather than demanding full independence for Tibet. [2]

China has stepped up security along its border with Nepal in Tibet fearing the crossing of Tibetans from Nepal to Tibet, and asked the Nepalese authorities to watch for pro-Tibet protests fearing more anti-China protests in Kathmandu. "The number of security personnel deployed on Nepal-Tibet border has been significantly increased in the recent period. The number of Chinese border guards have also been increased, and the patrolling on Chinese side of the border has also been intensified," said Chief District Administrator of Sindhupalchowk district Kailash Kharel. Chinese officials have been mainly concerned about the possible protests in Tibet and clashes between police and Tibetan refugees in Nepal. [3]

The Nepalese Police have broken up a protest staged by 200 Tibetans in the Nepalese capital, beating them with bamboo batons and arresting at least 20 of them. The Tibetans holding banners reading "Free Tibet, Stop the killings in Tibet," were demonstrating on Saturday, March 15 in front of the United Nations' office in Kathmandu. Police say they have the orders to clear the streets in front of the United Nations office. Forty-nine-year-old protester Tshering Ladum says she was only praying and demonstrating peacefully to seek the support for the people in Tibet, and was attacked by the police without any reason. [4]

On March 16, the press statement released by the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu stated that the Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China (TAR) has condemned the violent activities being perpetrated by a small criminal group in Lhasa and has warned of taking strong actions if such violent activities continued. The press statement said that a small group of people in Lhasa have started violence beating, smashing, looting and burning that has disrupted the public order and jeopardized people's lives and property. "There are enough evidences to prove that the sabotage was organized, premeditated and masterminded by the Dalai clique and such an action has aroused locals' dissatisfaction and been condemned by peoples in Tibet,” the press statement said. "The concerned departments of TAR are legally taking effective measures to properly handle this riot. We are fully confident in maintaining the social stability in Tibet and ensuring the safety of peoples' lives and property,” the statement reads. The smallest group of people's attempt to destroy Tibet's stability and harmony has no foundation and is doomed to fail, the statement said. [5]

On March 16, 2008, at a monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tibetan exiles hold a candlelight vigil to those killed in the ancient Tibetan capital of Lhasa on Friday, March 14. On Monday, March 17, 2008, the Nepalese Police used bamboo batons to disperse about 100 Tibetan protesters and Buddhist monks in Katmandu arresting around 30 in the latest crackdown on pro-Tibet demonstrations in Nepal. The protesters were demonstrating peacefully near the main U.N. office in Kathmandu, holding banners reading "Free Tibet" and demanding the United Nations investigate a Chinese crackdown on protests inside Tibet. The Nepalese police quickly moved in to break up the gathering, dragging protesters away and throwing them into the back of trucks that then took them to a nearby detention center. There was no word on whether they would be charged with any crimes or simply released, as is common in Nepal. Tibetan exiles in neighboring India, meanwhile, held a similar protest outside U.N. offices in New Delhi. The police allowed them to gather peacefully, and U.N. staff met with a few of the leaders before the protest ended. The demonstrations in Nepal and New Delhi followed a week of protests against the Chinese rule in Tibet that culminated in violence on Friday, March 14, 2008 when Tibetans attacked ethnic Chinese and torched their shops in Lhasa, the region's capital. Officials said 16 people died in the violence, but exiled Tibetans say as many as 80 people may have been killed. [6]

Tibet has always had a romantic association around the world, fostered by the figure of the exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. If the protests in Tibet are repressed too harshly, then calls for a boycott of the Olympic games could grow, even though the Dalai Lama himself is not calling for such a move. Governments around the world would be forced to make comments more critical of China over Tibet than they normally do. Many governments feel that China has not balanced its policy in Tibet properly. It has undoubtedly poured a lot of money in to improve economic conditions, the railway link to Lhasa being the latest example. But it has also poured in Chinese immigrants and has, in the view of foreign governments and human rights observers, neglected the cultural aspirations of the Tibetans. This feeling was evident in a statement on March 15 by the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who said in part: "We also urge China to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions due to their impact on Tibetan religion, culture, and livelihoods." Foreign governments accept the Chinese rule in Tibet and do not recognize the Tibetan Government-in-exile in India. Those governments are not calling for Tibetan independence. Nor is the Dalai Lama, though China accuses him of doing so. He says he would like "meaningful autonomy" within the Chinese state. [7]

On Sunday, March 16, 2008, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) in a press statement said that it was deeply shocked by the anti-China demonstrations in Nepal and called on the Government of Nepal to take appropriate steps. "Our party has always remained in favor of one-China policy and stresses that no anti-China activity should be held in Nepal. We should be very much aware of the adverse effects such activities can have on the relationship of the two countries and urge the government to take appropriate steps against it," the statement said. On the death of at least 80 Tibetans in the crackdown by the Chinese military and the police in Lhasa, the CPN-UML chooses to remain silent. [8]

On March 16, 2008, China declared a “people’s war” to crush the most virulent monk-led protests against its rule in Tibet in two decades. The authorities in Lhasa reported no fresh outbreak of violence after the Friday’s violence. However, spontaneous demonstrations continued elsewhere in China with at least three Tibetan protesters killed in clashes in a Tibetan-populated Sichuan province in southwest China, rights groups said. “We must wage a people’s war to beat ‘splittism’ and expose and condemn the malicious acts of these hostile forces and expose the hideous face of the Dalai Lama group to the light of day,” they were quoted as saying by media after an emergency meeting. [9]

The news report dispatched from Badiyachaur, Nepal on March 17, 2008 says that the Nepalese District Administration Office, Mustang has exercised security alert along the Nepal-China border area, following the outbreak of violence in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China since the past few days. The District Administration Office, Mustang has said that a security alert has been maintained at the upper Mustang located on the Nepal-China border in order to avert any untoward incident in the border area as a result of the violence in Tibet. This has been done to check Tibetans entering into Nepal via Mustang illegally in view of such things happened during such incidents in the past, Chief District Officer Pradip Raj Kandel says. [10]

On Tuesday, March 18, 2008, a group of Tibetans went on hunger strike in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu demanding an end to the crackdown on Tibet by the Chinese authorities. The new protest came a day after the Nepalese police cracked down on Tibetan demonstrators in front of the UN office building in Kathmandu in which more than 50 protesters were briefly detained. "We will continue our hunger strike until our demands are met," Nyima Dolkar said with tears rolling down her face. "We are demanding human rights in Tibet and release of all political prisoners. "We want to draw the attention of the United Nations and international bodies to the plight of our people in Tibet," she said. The hunger strike was supported by dozens of women and about 60 monks who chanted prayers to show solidarity with the people in Tibet. [11]

The Chinese police made house-to-house searches for rioters in central Lhasa on Monday, March 17, and rounded up hundreds of Tibetans suspected of participating in a deadly outburst of anti-Chinese violence. The large-scale arrests and official promises of tough reprisals suggested the Chinese government has decided to move decisively to crush the protests despite calls for restraint from abroad and warnings that heavy-handed repression could taint the next summer's Olympic Games in Beijing. "The Chinese government will unwaveringly protect its national sovereignty and territorial integrity," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said. "The violent acts have demonstrated the true nature of the Dalai clique." Chinese-appointed Tibet's governor Champa Phuntsok said that detainees showing remorse and informing on others who were part of the weeklong unrest would be rewarded with better treatment. Buddhist monks and other Tibetans who participated in the Friday's torching of Chinese-owned shops and widespread attacks on Han Chinese businessmen would be "dealt with harshly," he told a news conference in Beijing. The government gave the deadline to the rioters until midnight Monday, March 17 for turning themselves in, after which they were threatened with arrest. An editorial in the Communist Party's official newspaper in Lhasa, the Tibet Daily, gave more pointed indication of the government's determination to crack down hard. "Ensuring the social stability of the Tibet Autonomous Region is the number one political mission," the editorial said. "It is the priority. We have to take decisive and powerful measures to firmly beat down the enemy's arrogance and never withdraw our troops without victory. We have to severely punish the criminals who are still beating, robbing and burning, arresting them rapidly and with absolutely no mercy." [12]

Protesters burned Chinese flags and tried to push their way into Chinese diplomatic missions in Australia and Europe in the latest demonstrations against Beijing's crackdown on a pro-independence push for Tibet. In New York, a protester tried to drape the Tibetan flag over a billboard high above a Times Square police station. Protesters demanding an end to repression in Tibet burned Chinese flags and wept while more than 20 police kept order outside the Chinese consulate in Sydney on Tuesday, March 18. In Munich, Germany on Monday, March 17, police detained 26 Tibetan demonstrators after they tried to force the way into the Chinese consulate. Chinese flags were burned and slogans including "Save Tibet" and "Stop Killing" were daubed on the consulate walls. Also, about 150 people held a peaceful rally in Berlin. In London, a small group of about 80 pro-Tibet demonstrators hurled placards and sticks at the China's embassy and tried to force their way into the building during a raucous rally. [13]

Amnesty International is joining nationwide vigils on Wednesday, March 19, 2008, to protest the China's violent crackdown on protesters in Tibet. Amnesty International is calling on Chinese authorities to remove the shroud of secrecy surrounding recent protests, arguing, "human rights abuses flourish in the dark." It wants an independent United Nations investigation into the events of the past week, and unimpeded access for media. Amnesty International spokesperson Margaret Taylor warns that the current situation has all the ingredients for grave human rights violations to occur. "A large number of troops have been deployed in the region. The Chinese authorities have a well-documented history of treating independence protesters very harshly. And Amnesty International knows that where such volatile situations occur out of the public spotlight, the human rights of individuals are placed at very grave risk." Taylor comments that Amnesty International has already received reports of an extremely worrying situation in Tibet. "Eye-witness accounts received by Amnesty International have included disturbing details of excessive and lethal force against Tibetan protestors. An unknown number of protestors, many of them peaceful, have been severely beaten and/or detained across the capital. And those who remain at large have been threatened with being "severely punished" if they do not surrender." [14]

Chinese leaders have blamed “splittists” led by the exiled Dalai Lama for spurring violent protests in Tibet and orchestrating a public relations sneak attack on the Communist Party, as they gear up to play host to the Olympics Games this summer. But to many Tibetans and their sympathizers, the weeklong uprising against Chinese rule in Lhasa reflects years of simmering resentment over Beijing’s interference in Buddhist religious rites, its tightened political control and the destruction of the environment across the Himalayan territory the Tibetans consider sacred. If there is a surprise, it may be that Beijing has managed to keep things stable for so long. Since the last big anti-Chinese riots in Tibet two decades ago, Beijing has sought to smother Tibetan separatism by sparking economic development and by inserting itself into the metaphysics of Tibetan Buddhism. But an influx of Han Chinese to Tibet, and a growing sense among Tibetans that China is irreparably altering their way of life, produced a backlash when Communist Party leaders most needed stability there, analysts say. “Why did the unrest take off?” asked Liu Junning, a liberal political scientist in Beijing. “I think it has something to do with the long-term policy failure of the central authorities. They failed to earn the respect of the people there.” [15]

On Tuesday, March 18, China's Premier Wen Jiabao denounced supporters of the Dalai Lama as separatists and instigators of anti-Chinese riots in Tibet's capital. Wen's remarks were the highest-level response to the last week's rampage in Lhasa that focused the world attention on the China's human rights record. The hard line stance taken by the normally mild-mannered premier underscored the communist leadership's determination to regain control over the region and ensure a smooth run-up to the games. "There is ample fact — and we also have plenty of evidence — proving that this incident was organized, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique," Wen told reporters at a news conference held at the end of China's national legislative meeting. He gave no details. "This has all the more revealed that the consistent claims made by the Dalai clique that they pursue not independence but peaceful dialogue are nothing but lies," he said. Wen underscored that China will only consider dialogue with the Dalai Lama if the exiled spiritual leader was "willing to give up his proposition for so-called Tibetan independence." "This is the position we have made for dealing with this issue," Wen said, "and this position remains unchanged." Wen said the protesters killed bystanders and smashed public utilities and cars. They also set fire to stores, he said. "They used extremely cruel means," Wen said. "This incident has seriously disrupted public order and life in Lhasa. This incident has inflicted heavy losses of lives and property of the people in Lhasa." [16]

The United Nations Secretary General says he has met with China's ambassador to express concern over the situation in Tibet. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters on Monday, March 17 that he has been closely following developments in the region and urged authorities to show restraint. India and several European countries have issued similar statements and some have summoned China's ambassadors to discuss the issue. The U.S. State Department said U.S. diplomats have also discussed the issue with Chinese officials, but a State Department spokesman said Monday that President Bush still plans to attend the Beijing Games in August. Indian opposition lawmakers walked out of a Monday session of the lower house of parliament after they failed to convince their colleagues to back a stronger statement about China's handling of the Tibetan protests. [17]

China blocked the YouTube. It blocked any page that contains words such as "Tibet" or "Dalai Lama" as well as Google News, most major world news outlets, Flickr, and Wikipedia. An anonymous translator has provided a Chinese version of Global Voices Online co-founder's Ethan Zuckerman's guide Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor, which may be disseminated by word of mouth to citizens who are also looking to get news via an anonymous relay service. Nova Spivack posted the image I linked below that he received from a friend with a contact in Tibet. The only question now is how China thinks that this suppression of news for people under their control changes the world's image of a country that is supposed to be hosting a celebration of nations coming together. [18]

The situation in Lhasa is extremely grave with the population living under de facto martial law, said the Dalai Lama's Geneva-based European envoy. More than 80 people have been killed and several hundred injured, and protests are spreading to other parts of Tibet, Kelsang Gyaltsen told swissinfo. "Even though the Chinese government doesn't dare to officially announce it, the situation in Lhasa is de facto martial law," he said. Schools and monasteries are sealed off, and there are heavy restrictions on people's movements with security forces stepping up their hunt for rioters in house-to-house searches, he explained. Around 400-500 people who received gunshot wounds are without medical assistance, scared of being arrested if they go to hospital, Gyaltsen added. On Monday, March 17 a senior Chinese official denied that troops had used lethal force to quell protests in Lhasa, claiming that they had shown huge restraint in the face of violent protests by Tibetans, which it said were orchestrated to wreck Beijing's Olympic games in August. Qiangba Puncog, the government chief in Tibet, said that only 13 "innocent civilians" were killed and dozens of security personnel were injured in Lhasa when several days of monk-led protests broadened into riots in which houses and shops were burned and looted last Friday. There were reports of troops pouring into neighboring provinces to quell copycat protests and riots that had broken out in Tibetan communities in the provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu over the weekend. Up to 2,000 people demonstrated outside the Chinese consulate in Zurich on Saturday. The Swiss foreign ministry condemned "acts of violence" against demonstrators in Tibet. Similar appeals for restraint have been made by other western governments, including the US, Britain, France, Germany and Australia. [19]

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his administration in India are calling for an independent, international investigation into the protests that have gripped Tibet. Beijing says supporters of the Dalai Lama have engineered the violence in Tibet. The spokesman for the Tibetan Government-in-exile in India, Thubten Samphel denies that. On March 17, 2008, speaking at a press conference, Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile Samdhong Rinpoche said, "The Chinese government has accused His Holiness the Dalai Lama of masterminding the demonstrations, so because of these conflicting views His Holiness said that maybe a body from the United Nations may visit Tibet and find out what the reality is, whether the demonstrations have been instigated from outside, and what the real concerns of the Tibetan people are." [20]

India has not allowed large-scale public protests. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said he appreciated the steps taken by Indian authorities in handling protests by Tibetan refugees in the country. More than 100 refugees were detained in India while attempting to march to the Chinese border last week. They were marching as part of the global pro-independence protest. India has in the past been sympathetic to the Tibetan cause but in recent years Delhi's relations with Beijing have improved. India has not allowed large-scale public protests for fear of embarrassing Beijing. "The Tibetan issue is a very sensitive one in our relations with India," Mr. Wen was quoted as saying by AFP news agency. "We appreciate the position and the steps taken by the Indian government in handling Tibetan independence activities masterminded by the Dalai clique." On Friday, March 14, the marchers protesting China hosting the Olympics were detained near Dharamsala town, headquarters of the Tibetan Government-in-exile in India, and placed in custody for 14 days. [21]

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has accused the Dalai Lama of masterminding the recent violence in Tibet's main city, Lhasa. Speaking on the last day of parliament, Mr. Wen said the exiled Tibetan leader's claim of "cultural genocide" in Tibet was nothing but lies. Mr. Wen said the protests were intended to "sabotage" the Beijing Olympics. “There is ample fact and plenty of evidence proving this incident was organized, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique,” Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said. "This has all the more revealed the consistent claims by the Dalai clique that they pursue not independence, but peaceful dialogue, are nothing but lies." A spokesman for the Dalai Lama said Mr. Wen's accusations were "baseless". "These claims that the Chinese government is involved in so-called cultural genocide are nothing but lies," Mr. Wen said. In recent years, Tibetan exiles have accused the Chinese government of trying to eradicate Tibetan culture. [22]

"China is strong because we are on our knees," read a big red banner held aloft by half a dozen youngsters with Tibetan flags painted on their faces, gathered at Dharamsala's central Tsulagkhang Temple early Sunday, March 16. As hundreds of Tibetans and their supporters streamed in, trampling over Chinese flags strewn along the way, more banners appeared: "This is the moment — now or never"; "Shall we be slave or be free?" Shouts of "Pogyalo" — Free Tibet! — Rose up to express solidarity with a long-planned "Dharamsala to Lhasa" march that started on March 10, as hundreds of yellow and brown Tibetan flags fluttered in the wind. "We had hoped for this response," says Sherab Woeser, one of the coordinators of the march. "But now that the pent-up anger and frustration are out, we need to find a way to manage it." [23]

Events since March 10 have marked a watershed for the thousands of Tibetans, mostly youngsters, who disagree with the Dalai Lama's moderation but have been conditioned to defer to their spiritual leader. While China's restrictions on the media make it extremely difficult to know what exactly sparked the uprising within Tibet, many young Tibetans outside their homeland feel it is time to stop betting pushed around by Beijing. "His Holiness is a monk, he advises patience," says Nwawang, a 33-year-old chef who fled Tibet for India over 10 years ago. "But we can't leave things the way they are. We must act now before Tibet, our homeland, our culture is wiped out. And now is the time when the entire world is looking at China." [24]

The Dalai Lama said on Sunday, March 16 that he would not instruct his followers inside Tibet to surrender before Chinese authorities, and he described feeling “helpless” in preventing what he feared could be an imminent blood bath. “I do feel helpless,” he said in response to a question at a wide-ranging, emotionally charged news conference here in what has served as the headquarters of the Tibetan Government-in-exile for nearly 40 years. “I feel very sad, very serious, very anxious. Cannot do anything.” Asked if he could stop Tibetan protesters from flouting Beijing’s deadline to surrender by midnight on Monday, the Dalai Lama, 72, replied swiftly: “I have no such power.” He said he had received a call on Saturday from Tibet. “‘Please don’t ask us to stop,’” was the caller’s request. The Dalai Lama promised he would not, even though he said he expected the Chinese authorities to put down the protests with force. [25]

On Tuesday, March 18, 2008, the Dalai Lama threatened to resign as the leader of the Tibetan Government-in-exile if the violence that has erupted in his homeland over the last week spirals out of control. The spiritual leader made the statement on the day China's top leadership lashed out at him, charging that he has orchestrated the Tibet's worst anti-China riots in two decades to sabotage August's Beijing Olympics. "Please help stop violence from Chinese side and also from Tibetan side," the Dalai Lama pleaded before reporters in Dharamsala, India, the base of his government. "If things become out of control, then my only option is to completely resign." But in defiance of powerful radical voices in the exile community, who have challenged his limited goal of seeking autonomy within China, the Dalai Lama insisted that complete independence was "out of the question" and reiterated his support for the Beijing Olympics. Tibetans and Chinese, he said, must live "side by side" in peace. [26]

The Chinese Government has been blaming the Dalai Lama for instigating the violence in Tibet, and shamelessly labeling him as a wolf and so on. However, the Dalai Lama is a living Buddha for Tibetans; all his actions and speeches so far have proved that he is in fact a Buddha. So, the Chinese have been blaming the Dalai Lama for everything happening against the Chinese rule in Tibet is for covering up their misrule in Tibet. The Chinese have been attempting to impose their will on Tibetans and even attempting to erase the Tibetan culture and tradition. In other words, the Chinese government is obliterating the existence of Tibet from the world map. The result is the violent protest against such rule. If the Chinese Government wants to keep Tibet within China then the Chinese authorities need to talk to the Dalai Lama and give the Tibetans autonomy to rule their motherland.


Footnotes:

[1] Scoop.co.nz, March 18, 2008, “Amnesty International protests crackdown in Tibet”

[2] Time.com, March 16, 2008, “Can Tibet's Leaders Ride the Tiger?”

[3] THE HINDU, March 16, 2008, “China intensifies border vigil along Nepal-Tibet border”

[4] The Canadian Press, March 16, 2008, “Police break up Tibetan protest in Nepal's capital, arresting at least 20”

[5] The Rising Nepal, Mach 17, 2008, “Tibet govt condemns criminal activities”

[6] Foxnews.com, March 17, 2008 “Police in Nepal Clash with Tibet Protesters, Monks; 30 Arrested”

[7] BBC NEWS, March 17, 2008, “Tibet adds to China's Olympic woes”

[8] Nepalnews.com ag Mar 17 08, “UML says it favors 'One-China policy' as violent protest erupts in Tibet”

[9] Assamtribune.com, March 16, 2008, ”China declares people’s war”

[10] The Rising Nepal, March 18, 2008, “Security beefed up on Nepal-China border”

[11] News.trendaz.com, March 18, 2008, “Tibetans in Nepal stage hunger strike to protest China violence”

[12] Heraldnet.com, March 18, 2008, “Police rounding up rioters in Tibet”

[13] The International Herald Tribune Asia/Pacific, France, March 18, 2008 “Protesters burn Chinese flags in worldwide demonstrations against Tibet crackdown”

[14] Scoop.co.nz, March 18, 2008, “Amnesty International protests crackdown in Tibet”

[15] The New York Times, March 18, 2008, “Simmering Resentments Led to Tibetan Backlash”

[16] International Herald Tribune – Asia/Pacific, March 18, 2008, “Chinese leader accuses Dalai Lama of being behind Tibet protests”

[17] News VOA, March 18, 2008 “UN Secretary General Urges China to Show Restraint in Tibet”

[18] PROFY.COM, March 17, 2008 “China, Tibet, and YouTube: Is China Really Ready for the Games?”

[19] Swissinfo.ch, March 17, 2008 “Tibet in "desperate situation", warns envoy”

[20] News VOA, March 17, 2008 “Dalai Lama Calls for International Probe Into Tibet Protests”

[21] BBC NEWS, March 18, 2008, “China thanks India for Tibet move”

[22] BBC NEWS, March 18, 2008, “China blames Dalai Lama for riots”

[23] Time.com, March 16, 2008, “Can Tibet's Leaders Ride the Tiger?”

[24] Time.com, March 16, 2008, “Can Tibet's Leaders Ride the Tiger?”

[25] The New York Times, March 16, 2008

[26] Seattletimes.newsource.com, March 19, 2008, “Dalai Lama vows to quit if unrest persists”; NYSUN.COM, March 19, 2008, “Dalai Lama Threatens To Resign, Calls for Peace”

*************

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar can be reached at srilaxmi_AT_wlink.com.np. His website is siddhiranjitkar.com

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