Sunday, March 16, 2008

“Troubling Crackdown” in Tibet as Chinese Military Kills Civilian Demonstrators
» by GI Korea in: China

The Chinese government is continuing business as usual in Tibet:

TIBET’S main exile group has confirmed reports that Chinese authorities killed 30 Tibetan demonstrators and injured many more during protests against Chinese rule.

The Tibetan Government in exile, based in the north Indian town of Dharmsala, offered no details about those reported dead and gave no details on its sources.

The new statement only said "there have been 30 confirmed deaths until today, and over 100 unconfirmed deaths”.

Protests by Buddhist monks in Tibet have turned violent in recent days, with shops and vehicles set on fire and gunshots fired in the streets of the region’s capital, Lhasa - but independently verified details remained slim.

China maintains rigid control over the area, foreigners need special travel permits to get there and journalists rarely get access except under highly controlled circumstances.

Earlier reports gave lower death tolls. China’s official Xinhua News Agency said 10 people had been killed. [AFP]

CNN is reporting that the death toll is at 100 people dead, but details are hard to come by because of the Chinese government’s lock down on the Tibetan capitol of Lhasa. This video smuggled out gives a good idea of how large the demonstration was. Also this British Channel Four News report offers more images of the violence in Lhasa as well as video of how the Tibetan protests have spread out of Lhasa and to neighboring cities to include even into India:

Here is another pretty good report from Sky News:

Of course in times like these what would a major international news story be without in depth analysis from a Hollywood actor, here is Richard Gere:

On a side note I do have to say the US media coverage of these protests is shockingly poor while the British media has been all over this story. It kind of makes you wonder why that is?

What is even more pathetic about this is that this is far from being the first time that Tibetans have been gunned down by the Chinese military. Some may remember this video taken last year by international climbers of Chinese soldiers sniping Tibetan pilgrims:

Could you imagine what the headlines would be if US authorities beat down hundreds and killed 30 demonstrators? You would have endless claims of the Bushhitler’s police state yet when Chinese gun down demonstrators what do the human rights organizations call it? Here is your answer:

The Chinese authorities have engaged in a number of troubling crackdowns on activists and minority groups in the past week. On Tuesday, eyewitnesses reported that Chinese police used teargas and electric prods to disperse 500 demonstrators in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.

The demonstrators were seeking the release of fellow monks held after the previous day’s protests.

It was also reported that 11 protesters, including nine monks, were severely beaten and detained outside Tsuklakhang cathedral in central Lhasa on Monday. They had been demonstrating to mark the 49th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s flight from Tibet after the failed rebellion against Chinese rule. Some 50 monks have also been detained across the capital. [Amnesty International]

This is the first time I have ever seen a gunning down of civilian demonstrators described as a "troubling crackdown". The Amnesty report does not even mention the fact that Tibetan monks have been killed. Also if you go to the Amnesty International webpage this story is not even headlining the site. The killing of Tibetan demonstrators is just a story on their side bar of rotating news reports. The headlining story is of a Palestinian family who had their house demolished by the Israeli army. Let’s see what is the more important human rights story, possibly a hundred people gunned down and a city in flames for simply protesting against Chinese occupation or someone having their housed bulldozed probably for supporting a terrorist group in Israel (Of course the AI story doesn’t say)? Let’s also not forget the continued Gitmo links on their frontpage as well. Kind of shows you what Amnesty International’s priorities are.

I am also curious to what Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s reaction to this will be. The parallels between the occupation of Tibet and the Japanese colonization of the Korean peninsula are quite similar. If any nation knows about an unwanted colonization of their country, it is the Koreans. You can read much about how Koreans criticize the United States for not speaking out and doing anything to stop the Japanese colonization of Korea, but here is a chance for Koreans to speak out and do something about an occupation and colonization of a country by the Chinese government. Does anyone think Lee Myung-bak will show moral courage and condemn the Chinese occupation and crackdown in Tibet? I doubt it, just like the rest of the world will show little moral courage as well. Quickly and quietly as possible the protesters will be either killed or silenced and then the news cycle will move on and this whole story will all be just a vague memory similar to last year’s protests in Burma. When it comes to making excuses for human rights violations, China has many more apologists then just Amnesty International.

A whole lot more of good information, videos, and links over at One Free Korea as well.


China may be the O.J. Simpson of thuggish regimes. Gutter thugs like the rulers of Sudan and Burma have justly earned their international pariah status after calculating that the consequences of slaughter would be manageable and acceptable. China’s regime has learned from Saudi Arabia’s example, lining its avenues of commerce with expensive lobbyists and P.R. firms, thus escaping most of the consequences of its behavior and even buying its way to quasi-legitimacy. But even the Chinese know that this strategy has limits.

Although the Chinese authorities have almost certainly managed to suppress the true body count — anywhere from 10 to 100 dead — the situation in Lhasa today sounds like a real slaughter. CNN says that “up to a third of the capital may be on fire.”

Channel 4 News calls this “the biggest show of defiance in Tibet for more than 20 years.”

What perfect timing, just days after the custodians of America’s values dropped China from the list of the world’s worst human rights violators, even as the regime is rounding up and beating up dissidents in China proper.

As with last year’s uprising in Burma, which was also crushed with Chinese ammunition, money, and backing, the Tibetan uprising grew from a protest by monks in their monasteries.

The Tibetans are attacking ethnic Chinese and burning their shops, which is both regrettable and inevitable. Ordinary ethnic Chinese in Lhasa aren’t personally responsible for the brutality of the regime and its police, but I can understand things I don’t condone. After all, the Chinese have forcibly occupied and colonized Tibet. The Tibetans can’t vote, speak, write, or publish their opinions. They have no peaceful or democratic recourse. China has therefore legitimized violent resistance against Chinese troops and police, but not against shopkeepers.

I see two acceptable alternatives to licensing China’s slow-motion Chinese genocide of Tibet. One is that some philanthropist will start shipping the Tibetans some decent sniper rifles. Or, China could allow the Dalai Lama’s calls to abstain from violence to be broadcast all over Lhasa, as a prelude to permitting them some non-violent avenue to self-rule.

And since neither of those things is going to happen, let’s hope the Tibetans take enough pictures of the massacres to come to completely f*ck up the Beijing Olympics and put a price tag on the regime’s brutality. China can’t get away with this. The Tibetans have what North Korean refugees in China don’t — Hollywood on their side.

Update: More pictures here.

Update 2:Maybe China Shouldn’t Be Hosting the Olympics.” You don’t say. China and its PR firms are fond of saying that the Olympics shouldn’t be politicized, which is all you really can say if you can’t defend China’s behavior. Fine, then. Let’s have them in Taipei next time. Not only has China frequently politicized the Olympics in the past, much of Beijing’s preemptive brutality this year is being done for the specific purpose of making sure this year’s Olympics are dissent-free.

Update 3: More pictures here.



No comments: