Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The world starts to wake up to Tibet

After forty nine years, at least some momentum may be building in political and religious circles (although economic circles are still silent) regarding the situation in Tibet after decades of peaceful protests over perceived and genuine injustice and repression from Chinese rule have for many Tibetans spilled over to animated demonstrations and violent protest in the capital of their nation, a nation which the People's Republic of China claims as one of its provinces. Despite his emphasis on compassion and respect for the Chinese and the need for a peaceful resolution to the occupation of Tibet the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people, has had to watch from a distance the recent and ongoing retaliation by Chinese forces and the suppression of ethnic Tibetans in Lhasa and other areas, some of whom have taken part in violence towards the Han Chinese immigrants and their property (the Tibetans are ethnically, culturally, and linguistically a second-class minority in their own homeland). Tibetans and supporters of Tibetan political and religious liberty have also been engaging in protests around the world. In many cases they have been extremely peaceful, and in a few cases they have been given to angry displays despite the Dalai Lama's rejection of anger and violence in the name of Tibet. Here is an overview of what has been happening over the past few weeks if you aren't up to speed...

How many nobel prize winners, leading Chinese intellectuals, religious leaders, political leaders, and other prominent figures and writers are reacting to the situation in Tibet...

U.S. should speak out for Tibet, Obama says

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C., March 19 (Reuters) - The United States should speak out for human rights in Tibet, U.S. presidential contender Barack Obama said on Wednesday amid a Chinese crackdown on protests by Tibetans in China.
In a foreign policy speech, the Democratic senator from Illinois said the United States should work with countries such as Russia and China but it should also stand up for rights.
"We can start now by speaking out for the human rights and religious freedom of the people of Tibet," Obama told an audience of military families and veterans.

March 19th, via Reuters/The Guardian

Germany Suspends Aid Talks with China Over Tibet Violence

In a fresh blow to Berlin-Beijing relations, Germany has said it is freezing aid talks with the Chinese government as a result of China's crackdown on demonstrations in Tibet.

Germany said it was suspending intergovernmental aid talks with China if the country did not end a bloody clampdown on Tibetan protestors, raising the stakes in a highly charged international conundrum over how to deal with Beijing's rights violations months before the city hosts the Olympic Games.

German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said on Wednesday, March 19, that her ministry would suspend negotiations with the Chinese government which mainly involve grants to reduce air pollution by Chinese power plants.

"Violence can never be a solution," Wieczorek-Zeul said. "The two sides can only arrive at a solution through dialogue. Under such conditions, it is hardly conceivable to be conducting intergovernmental negotiations," she said.

-March 20th, via Deutche-Welle

CHINA: Under Pressure to Rethink Tibet Policy
By Antoaneta Bezlova

BEIJING, (IPS) - As continuing Tibetan protests testify to the failure of China’s policy of accelerated economic development with harsh political controls in the Himalayan region, pressure on Beijing to begin dialogue with the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader, is growing.

Large swaths of sparsely populated Tibetan areas have been swarmed with a huge number of Chinese troops while embers of unrest continue to smoulder in the wake of the biggest protests by the Tibetan minority in twenty years.

Beijing has denounced the "splittist" Dalai Lama for masterminding the violent riots in hopes of sabotaging this summer’s Beijing Olympics and promoting Tibetan independence. But even as rhetoric against the Tibetan spiritual leader heats up, there are calls from all sides for China to recognise his undying significance to the Tibetan population and make breakthrough on a problem that does not seem to go away.

A group of 26 Nobel laureates has appealed to Beijing to resume dialogue with the Tibetan leader who has lived in exile in Dharamsala, northern India since 1959.

"We protest the unwarranted campaign waged by the Chinese government against our fellow Nobel laureate, His Holiness the Dalai Lama," the group said in a statement released by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel on Thursday.

-March 21st, via IPS

John McCain condemns Tibet crisis during France visit

US Republican presidential hopeful John McCain said today that China is harming its world image with its crackdown in Tibet and expressed hope Beijing would seek a peaceful solution to the crisis.

McCain did not discuss the issue during a 45-minute meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, but told reporters later the subject was "one of the first things I would talk about if I were president of the United States today."

China's crackdown "is not correct," McCain said in the courtyard of the French presidential Elysee Palace.

"The people there are being subjected to mistreatment that is not acceptable with the conduct of a world power, which China is," McCain said in response to a question by a Chinese television journalist.

"There must be respect for human rights, and I would hope that the Chinese are actively seeking a peaceful resolution to this situation that exists which harms not only the human rights of the people there but also the image of China in the world."

-March 21st, via The Guardian

Pelosi Denounces China's Tibet Crackdown

DHARMSALA, India (AP) — House speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the world Friday to denounce China's crackdown of anti-government protests in Tibet, calling the crisis "a challenge to the conscience of the world."

Pelosi, one of the fiercest Congressional critics of China, was greeted by cheering Tibetans as she arrived to meet the Dalai Lama. She is the first major official to visit the leader of Tibet's exile community since peaceful protests turned violent last week in the Chinese-ruled region.

"If freedom loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China's oppression in China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world," Pelosi said before a crowd of thousands of Tibetans, including monks and schoolchildren.

"The situation in Tibet is a challenge to the conscience of the world," she said.

-March 21st, via the Associated Press

Leading Chinese Intellectuals Ask China to Rethink Tibet Policy

Leading Chinese intellectuals and writers released a petition today that appeared on several websites in Chinese, entitled 'Twelve Suggestions for Dealing with the Tibetan Situation'. It is a significant indication that Chinese voices are being raised in China in response to the way Beijing has handled the protests that began on March 10. An English translation is published below.

-March 22nd, via the ICFT website

Pope celebrates Mass in thunderstorm, calls for peace

In a speech at the end of the Mass in St. Peter's Square, Benedict said that on the joyous day of Easter, "in particular, how can we fail to remember certain African regions, such as Darfur and Somalia, the tormented Middle East, especially the Holy Land, Iraq, Lebanon and finally Tibet, all of which I encourage to seek solutions that will safeguard peace and the common good."

Benedict denounced "selfishness, injustice, hatred and violence" between individuals and peoples.

"These are the scourges of humanity, open and festering in every corner of the planet, although they are often ignored and sometimes deliberately concealed, wounds that torture the souls and bodies of countless of our brothers and sisters," he said, speaking over the sound of heavy rain in the square.

-March 23rd, via

STATEMENT issued by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

I wish to express my solidarity with the people of Tibet during this critical time in their history. To my dear friend His Holiness the Dalai Lama, let me say: I stand with you. You define non violence and compassion and goodness. I was in an Easter retreat when the recent tragic events unfolded in Tibet. I learned that China has stated you caused violence. Clearly China does not know you, but they should. I call on China's government to know His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as so many have come to know, during these long decades years in exile. Listen to His Holiness' pleas for restraint and calm and no further violence against this civilian population of monastics and lay people.

I urge China to enter into a substantive and meaningful dialogue with this man of peace, the Dalai Lama. China is uniquely positioned to impact and affect our world. Certainly the leaders of China know this or they would not have bid for the Olympics. Killing, imprisonment and torture are not a sport: the innocents must be released and given free and fair trials.

-March 25th, via the ICFT website

Rice urges China to listen to Dalai Lama on Tibet

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday urged the Chinese government to pursue a more "sustainable" policy toward Tibet and said the only way to do this was for it to talk to the Dalai Lama.

"We believe that the answer for Tibet is to have a more sustainable policy for the Chinese government concerning Tibet." Rice told reporters at a news conference with India's external affairs minister.

"We are going to continue to encourage that dialogue because ultimately that is going to be the only policy that is sustainable in Tibet," she said.

-March 25th, via Reuters

Clinton says U.S. should be forceful on Tibet

GREENSBURG, Penn., (Reuters) - The United States should be more forceful in speaking out against the violence in Tibet, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday, while declining to call for a boycott of the Olympic Games in China.
"I think that what's happening in Tibet is deeply troubling, and this is a pattern of the Chinese government with respect to their treatment of Tibet," she told reporters after a campaign event in Pennsylvania.
"I don't think we should wait until the Olympics to make sure that our views are known," Clinton said...

-March 25th, via Reuters/The Guardian

Sarkozy Could Skip Olympics Opening

PARIS (AP) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested Tuesday that a boycott of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was a possibility — the first world leader to raise the prospect of punishing China over its ongoing crackdown in Tibet.

The United States, Britain and Germany all condemned China for using force against Tibetan protesters, but they stopped short of threatening to boycott the games or the Aug. 8 opening ceremony.

China, meanwhile, showed no sign of letting up on its crackdown. At least two people were killed in a clash between protesters and police in an area of western China that borders on Tibet, state media and human rights groups reported Tuesday.

The clashes were the latest in most sustained uprising against Chinese rule in almost two decades...

-March 25th, via the Associated Press

Are Tibetans the new Jews?

In 1990, the Dalai Lama hosted a delegation of American Jews in Dharamsala, his home in exile in the hill country of northern India. His agenda was clear. Tibetans had lost sovereignty over their homeland and were scattering around the globe. How, he asked, had Jews preserved their cultural and religious identities during their own 2,000-year exile, and what might Tibetans do to preserve theirs?

Some 18 years later, the parallel between Tibet's unfolding and increasingly bleak prospects and the Jewish historical experience seems all the more relevant.

Just as after the failed first century Jewish uprising against Rome, Tibetans are becoming a minority in their homeland thanks to Beijing's strategy of drastically and irreversibly altering Tibet's population by flooding the territory with Han Chinese, China's dominant ethnic group.

Already, two out of every three residents of Lhasa, Tibet's capital, is Han Chinese. In 2006, Beijing hastened the process considerably by opening a high-speed rail link between Lhasa and Beijing. Saffron-robe clad Tibetan Buddhist monks have been replaced by Chinese-run brothels, karaoke bars and a sprawling amusement park that now surround the Portola Palace, the Dalai Lama's former residence and Tibet's equivalent of Jerusalem's ancient Temple.

But saving the palace does absolutely nothing to offset the greatest threats to Tibet's future as a political entity run by and for Tibetans: the passing of time and humanity's cruelly short memory...

How long will it be before Tibetans are viewed as a relic, and perhaps bothersome, minority in their homeland similar to the condition of Native Americans in the United States, Formosans in Taiwan, or Serbs in Kosovo?

How long must Beijing hold on to Tibet before the world comes to think of Tibet as Chinese territory and favors the claims of the descendants of Chinese settlers over Tibetans seeking to reestablish their historical national rights? Another 30 years? A century or two? Two thousand years?

-March 25th, via The Jerusalem Post

How the Communist Party Leaders and the state-run Chinese media see the situation in Tibet...

Chinese media silent on Tibet

China's official news agency Xinhua on Friday filed two short English-language reports on what it called "violence" in the Tibetan city of Lhasa.

The first report said shops had been set on fire, with the second adding that some vehicles had been set alight and that there had been some injuries.

But the domestic media, including Xinhua's Chinese-language service, has not been observed to mention today's protests.

The focus of all Chinese news media continues to be on the annual sessions of the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Other media silent

As of 1200GMT, neither Xinhua's English nor Chinese websites have been observed to carry any reports on the protests in Tibet.

The Tibet page of the Xinhua website still carries Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang's remarks at yesterday's routine news conference, at which he said: "Recently a small number of monks in Lhasa city have continuously stirred up trouble in an attempt to create social unrest.

"This is a political plot carefully orchestrated by the Dalai clique to bring about Tibet's secession and to ruin the Tibetan people's normal, harmonious, and peaceful lives..."

-March 14th, via the BBC

Dalai Lama 'clique' responsible: China

BEIJING: Groups allied to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama masterminded violent protests in Lhasa, China's official Xinhua news agency quoted the region's government as saying.

"There has been enough evidence to prove that the recent sabotage in Lhasa was organised, premeditated and masterminded' by the Dalai clique," Xinhua said, citing the Tibet government.

"The violence, involving beating, smashing, looting and burning, has disrupted the public order, jeopardised people's lives and property," Xinhua said, citing an unnamed Tibetan official.

"The sabotage has aroused indignation of and is strongly condemned by the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet," Xinhua said, quoting the official.

-March 15th, via The Times of India

Wen puts blame on Dalai Lama for Tibet riots
By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing and Amy Yee in Dharamsala

Wen Jiabao, China's premier, yesterday blamed the Dalai Lama for the worst unrest in Tibet in nearly two decades, and characterised the protests as a plot to sabotage the Olympic Games in Beijing this year.

The incident "has all the more revealed that the assertions by the Dalai clique that they desire peaceful negotiation are nothing but lies", Mr Wen said in his annual press conference yesterday. "Their hypocritical lies cannot cover the iron-clad facts..."

The protests started in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as peaceful demonstrations led by Buddhist monks last Monday, the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. They turned into widespread -violence on Friday following reports of a Chinese crackdown.

Mr Wen said government and security officials had exercised "extreme restraint" in dealing with protesters, despite claims from Tibetan groups that scores and possibly hundreds of Tibetans had been killed and security forces had opened fire on crowds...

Mr Wen said he appreciated the steps taken by India to limit the independence activities of the "Dalai clique" and hoped the country would stick to agreements with China concerning anti-Chinese demonstrations on Indian soil.

-March 19th, via the Financial Times

China state media slams West over Tibet coverage

BEIJING, March 20 (Reuters) - Chinese official media condemned Western news coverage of unrest in Tibet on Thursday, in a commentary that accused the reports of being "hostile" towards China ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

China says the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, masterminded a wave of protests that were capped by a riot in Tibet's capital Lhasa last week and were followed by anti-government demonstrations in ethnic Tibetan parts of China.
"While we highly appreciate the efforts of the global media in seeking facts and providing accurate, objective and timely reporting, we are somewhat disappointed to find, from time to time, rather biased news coverage," the official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary.

-March 20th, via Reuters

China accuses Dalai Lama of taking Olympics "hostage"
By Chris Buckley, Reuters

BEIJING: China has accused the Dalai Lama of planning bloodshed in Tibet and colluding with Uighur terrorists in Xinjiang as it pushes a security and propaganda drive to stifle anti-Chinese unrest in its remote west...

The ruling Chinese Communist Party's official newspaper, the People's Daily, said on Sunday that the Dalai -- winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize -- had never abandoned violence since fleeing China in 1959, after a failed revolt against Beijing.

"This incident again demonstrates that the so-called 'peaceful non-violence' of the Dalai clique is an outright lie from start to end," the paper stated.

"In 2008, the Beijing Olympic Games, eagerly awaited by the people of the whole world, will arrive. But the Dalai Lama is scheming to take the Beijing Olympics hostage to force the Chinese government to make concessions to Tibet independence."

The paper earlier also accused the Dalai Lama of planning terrorist attacks with the aid of Uighur separatists seeking an independent East Turkestan for their largely Muslim people in northwest China's Xinjiang region.

"The Dalai clique has also strengthened collusion with 'East Turkestan' terror organizations, and planned terror activities in Tibet in a bid to turn the attention of the international community towards Tibet," the paper said on Saturday.

China's efforts to denounce the Dalai Lama has drawn applause from many Han Chinese citizens, who have said Western critics fail to appreciate their government's efforts to develop Tibet and have treated the violence in Lhasa as legitimate protest.

-March 23rd, via The International Herald Tribune

China to boost "patriotic education" of Tibetans

China is planning to step up what it calls its "patriotic education" of Tibet's Buddist monks. in the wake of deadly separatist riots there. Chinese authorities have blamed the violence on the influence of the Dalai Lama on pro-independence activists. The exiled Tibetan spiritual has denied the claim and called for an end to the rioting.

Professor Dramdul of the China Tibetology Research Centre said: "Patriotic education is neccessary because the Dalai clique has been trying hard to disrupt Tibet's development and Tibetan Buddhism. We've been educating the monks to counter the influence of a small group of separatists from abroad."

Protests against the Beijing government continue.

-March 26th, via EuroNews

How His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama sees this situation in Tibet...

Statement by the Dalai Lama on protests in Tibet

I am deeply concerned over the situation that has been developing in Tibet following peaceful protests in many parts of Tibet, including Lhasa, in recent days. These protests are a manifestation of the deep-rooted resentment of the Tibetan people under the present governance.

As I have always said, unity and stability under brute force is at best a temporary solution. It is unrealistic to expect unity and stability under such a rule and would therefore not be conducive to finding a peaceful and lasting solution.

I therefore appeal to the Chinese leadership to stop using force and address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people through dialogue with the Tibetan people. I also urge my fellow Tibetans not to resort to violence.


-March 15th, via the ICTB website

Allow Olympics despite Tibet: Dalai Lama

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says the Beijing Olympics should go ahead despite the Chinese crackdown on protests in his homeland.

"I want the Games," he said, refusing to call for a boycott, as many Tibetan exiles have been demanding.

"The Olympics should not be called off," he told reporters in Dharamsala in northern India, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile and the Dalai Lama's home in exile.

But he said Beijing needed to be "reminded to be a good host of the Olympic Games".

"The Chinese people ... need to feel proud of it. China deserves to be a host of the Olympic Games," he added, saying Beijing needed to be "reminded to be a good host of the Olympic Games".

-March 16th, via The Age

Dalai Lama Threatens to Resign

DHARAMSALA, India — The Dalai Lama on Tuesday invited international observers, including Chinese officials, to scour his offices here and investigate whether he had any role in inciting the latest anti-Chinese violence in Tibet. He also threatened to resign as leader of Tibet’s government-in-exile in the event of spiraling bloodshed in his homeland.

He said he remained committed to only nonviolent agitation and greater autonomy for Tibetans, not independence. He condemned the burning of Chinese flags and attacks on Chinese property and called violence “suicidal” for the Tibetan cause...

The Dalai Lama’s remarks to reporters on Tuesday, here in the seat of the Tibetan exile movement, also revealed that he has been unnerved by the violence across the border in Tibet and by the increasingly radical calls from Tibetan exiles in this country.

The 72-year-old spiritual leader of Lama Buddhism said he would step down from his political post if things “get out of control”...

The Dalai Lama said he remained open to resuming peace talks with Chinese officials, and in an impish reference to the criticisms by Chinese leaders, said a solution could be reached swiftly if there were “mutual respect” and a willingness to take Tibetan grievances seriously.

There was no direct criticism of either Mr. Hu or China’s Premier Wen Jiabao, only of local officials whom the Dalai Lama accused of creating “artificial facts.” “Prime Minister,” he said, addressing Mr. Wen, “Come here and investigate thoroughly.”

-March 19th, via The New York Times

Dalai Lama willing to meet Chinese president

DHARMSALA, India (AP) - The Dalai Lama says he's willing to meet Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao, for talks on the unrest over Tibet.

He repeated that he's not seeking independence for Tibet, but only autonomy under China's control.

China says Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader must stop what it calls separatist activities, and recognize Tibet and Taiwan as parts of China.

Chinese officials and media are confirming today that unrest had spread from Tibet to neighboring provinces in recent days. Tibetan officials in exile say at least 80 people have died. Chinese officials say 16 were killed.

Violence followed protests in Tibet that began March 10th, the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising.

-March 20th, via CBS affiliates

Beijing Olympics should go on: Dalai Lama
Press Trust of India (New Delhi)

The Dalai Lama on Sunday firmly backed the Beijing Olympics despite the Chinese crackdown on Tibetan protesters that prompted demands for boycott of the games.

"I have always supported that Olympic Games should take place in China," he told reporters in Delhi, terming as "baseless" the communist giant's charge that he was trying to "sabotage" the premier sporting event slated for August.

"They are the hosts. The Olympics should take place in Beijing," the 72-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader, who heads the Tibetan government in exile and was in Delhi in connection with a religious workshop, said.

March 23rd, via NDTV

How many Tibetans and pro-Tibet demonstrators are reacting to the situation...

Protesting and rioting in Tibet...

Protesting and demonstrating in India...

Protesting and demonstrating in Nepal...

Protesting and demonstrating in Germany...

Protesting and demonstrating in Belgium...

Protesting and demonstrating in the United States...

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