Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

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  • Books to Read

    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
  • Did you know

    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Xizang’ Category

Three Tibetan Writers Tried as ‘Splittists’

Posted by Author on November 6, 2010

Radio Free Asia, Nov. 5, 2010-

Three Tibetan writers detained earlier this year by Chinese authorities have been tried on charges of “inciting activities to split the nation,” according to sources in the region.

“The three writers—Jangtse Donkho, Buddha, and Kalsang Jinpa—were tried on Oct. 28 by the Aba [in Tibetan, Ngaba] Intermediate People’s Court,” in China’s southwestern Sichuan province, said Kanyak Tsering, a Tibetan living in India and citing contacts in Tibet. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, SW China, Tibet, World, Xizang | Comments Off on Three Tibetan Writers Tried as ‘Splittists’

Tibetans Villagers Block Work on Dam Near Sacred Mountain

Posted by Author on September 30, 2010

Radio Free Asia, 2010-09-30 –

Local Tibetans have challenged Chinese work crews trying to build a dam near a mountain considered sacred by area residents, according to Tibetan sources.

The mountain, called Lhachen Naglha Dzambha, rises in Driru [in Chinese, Biru] county in the Nagchu Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), a native of the region now living in exile said.

“The Gyalmo Ngulchu [Salween] river runs through the foothills of this sacred mountain,” the source said.

“Sometime in August this year, a large number of Chinese workers arrived in the area. Local Tibetans were told they were building a dam.”

Representatives from each village in the county then gathered at the site to protest the construction, another Tibetan living in exile said, citing sources in the region.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Culture, dam, Life, News, People, Religion, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, World, Xizang | Comments Off on Tibetans Villagers Block Work on Dam Near Sacred Mountain

Chinese police shoot Tibetan dead during protest two weeks ago

Posted by Author on August 30, 2010

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese police “accidentally” shot dead an ethnic Tibetan during a protest in south-western China two weeks ago, state news agency Xinhua said Monday…….(more details from Reuters)

Posted in China, Incident, Killing, News, People, Politics, Religious, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, World, Xizang | Comments Off on Chinese police shoot Tibetan dead during protest two weeks ago

China steps up security crackdown in Tibet- “strike hard storm” campaign ongoing

Posted by Author on March 11, 2010

By Robert Saiget (AFP) , Mar. 11, 2010-

BEIJING — Chinese security forces have stepped up a crackdown in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, two years after protests marking a failed 1959 uprising erupted in deadly violence, police and reports said Thursday.

More than 400 people have reportedly been rounded up so far in the “strike hard storm” campaign launched earlier this month, which has worried residents on edge since the March 2008 unrest in the remote Himalayan region.

A policeman at a Lhasa precinct who asked not to be named told AFP on Thursday that the campaign was aimed at cracking down on Tibetan independence activities and ordinary crime.

“I don’t know when we will end this campaign, but it could be at the end of March when this matter is over,” said the policeman, referring to the sensitive anniversaries.

More than 1,500 extra police and security personnel had been deployed as of last week, with more than 4,100 rented apartments or homes searched, according to the Lhasa Evening News.

The newspaper said while more than 400 people had been taken into police custody, only 14 had been formally arrested on unspecified charges. It was not immediately clear if the others were released or remained in detention.

Lhasa residents said Thursday the city was tense due to the heavy police and military presence.

“There are armoured vehicles patrolling the streets… the television is always talking about the need to ‘maintain stability’,” said a retired woman who identified herself as Ceyang.

“We don’t dare go out at night.”

Police are carrying out identification checks of the city’s migrant population as well as increasing routine traffic stops, the Lhasa Evening News reported…….(more from AFP)

Posted in China, Life, News, Politics, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, World, Xizang | Comments Off on China steps up security crackdown in Tibet- “strike hard storm” campaign ongoing

China’s pre-emptive response to Obama’s free flow of information comments?

Posted by Author on November 16, 2009

Reporters Without Borders, 16 November 2009 –

As US President Barack Obama used the Shanghai leg of his China visit to call for an end to online censorship, it emerged that a Chinese court has sentenced Tibetan writer and photographer Kunga Tseyang to five years in prison on various charges including posting articles on the Internet. Two days before, literary website editor Kunchok Tsephel has meanwhile been sentenced to 15 years in prison on a charge of “divulging state secrets”.

“Was this the Chinese government’s pre-emptive response to the US president’s very clear defence of the free flow of information,” Reporters Without Borders asked. “Either way, we hope the central government will overturn such heavy prison sentences, which two Tibetan writers have been given just for expressing their views. We deplore the increased repression since the major protests in Tibet in March 2008.”

Reporters Without Borders has learned that Tseyang, who is also know by the pen-name Gangnyi (Snow Sun), was given the five-year sentence by a court in the western province of Gansu on 14 November 2009 after being found guilty of writing “separatist” articles, posting them online and having contact with a Buddhist monk based in India. The authorities objected in particular to his posting articles on the website Zindris……. (more details from Reporters Without Borders)

Posted in censorship, China, ethnic, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Law, News, People, Politics, SW China, Technology, Tibet, World, writer, Xizang | Comments Off on China’s pre-emptive response to Obama’s free flow of information comments?

More Tibetans arrested in China in connection with Internet activities

Posted by Author on October 22, 2009

Reporters Without Borders, 22 October 2009 –

Reporters Without Borders calls for the release of three young Tibetans from the village of Dara who have been held in Nagchu county since 1 October, when they were arrested in nearby Sogdzong county for allegedly sending information about Tibet to contacts abroad via the Internet.

The police have not allowed the three – identified as Gyaltsen, 25, Nymia Wangchuk, 24, and Yeshe Namkha, 25 – to have any contact with their families since their arrest.

“The Internet is monitored, censored and manipulated more in Tibet than in other Chinese provinces,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Despite the risks, Tibetan Internet users continue to transmit information, especially to the diaspora and human rights groups. It is deplorable that the Chinese police devote so much energy to identifying and arresting ordinary Internet users.”

The three young people allegedly used QQ, a Chinese instant messaging service, to send photos of the Dalai Lama and speeches by him. It appears that the Bureau of Public Security had been monitoring their online activities for some time. The population of Sogdzong country complain of police harassment, including frequent ID checks.

The monks in Sog Tsandan monastery, for example, were forced by the police to attend patriotic meetings with the authorities and were forbidden to observe their end-of-summer retreat (in which they stay within the monastery to avoid harming the insects that emerge at that time of the year).

Several bloggers and other Internet users have been arrested in Tibet in recent months. They include Pasang Norbu, arrested in Lhasa on 12 August for looking at online photos of the Tibetan flag and Dalai Lama, and Gonpo Tserang, a guide sentenced to three years in prison in June on charges of inciting separatism and “communicating outside the country” for sending emails and SMS messages about the March 2008 protests in Tibet.

Reporters Without Borders

Posted in China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Law, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, Speech, SW China, Technology, Tibet, Tibetan, World, Xizang | 1 Comment »

Lhasa Fears Swine Flu, China officials decline to give infection figures

Posted by Author on October 17, 2009

Radio Free Asia, Oct. 16, 2009-

HONG KONG—Residents of the Tibetan capital Lhasa say they fear a spike in infections with H1N1 influenza, while Chinese officials decline to give infection figures.

“This disease has become very serious. Most of the victims are students,” said one Tibetan man living in Lhasa.

“The leadership seems to have been more engrossed in celebrations of the 60th anniversary, and they seem to be underplaying the seriousness of the epidemic,” he said, referring to nationwide celebrations of Communist Party rule on Oct. 1.

China announced its first swine flu death in the Tibetan region last week.

The victim was an 18 year-old Tibetan woman who had been hospitalized in Lhasa the week before with severe symptoms.

Officials have sent 200,000 doses of influenza A (H1N1) vaccine to the region since, according to a statement on the Health Ministry’s Web site.

No outreach

But residents say that so far there have been no Tibetan-language programs on radio or television to educate the population on how to prevent swine flu, which was declared a pandemic in June.

Another Tibetan man said that the local swine flu infection rate is considered “very high” by Lhasa residents.

“The number of people arriving on trains from different parts of China is increasing, and there are huge concentrations of people at railway stations and other places where people gather. The chance of getting infected is extremely high,” he said.

“It is very serious in the Lhasa area, but the authorities are trying to underplay the spread of this disease.”…… (more details from Radio Free Asia)

Posted in Bird flu, China, Health, Lasa, Life, News, SW China, Tibet, World, Xizang | 1 Comment »

Spanish judge to quiz China officials over Tibet

Posted by Author on May 6, 2009

AFP, May 5, 2009 –

MADRID (AFP) — A Spanish judge said on Tuesday he intended to question eight Chinese leaders as official suspects in a case of genocide in connection with a crackdown on unrest that erupted in Tibet in March 2008.

National Court judge Santiago Pedraz sent a letter to Chinese authorities formally requesting permission to travel to China to question the eight, including Defence Minister Liang Guanglie and Minister for State Security Geng Huichang.

“Given the cordial relations between our two respective countries, I hope that you will respond favourably to my request,” he wrote referring to a bilateral justice cooperation agreement signed in 2005, according to a court document obtained by AFP.

The suit was filed against the Chinese leaders in July 2008 by a Tibetan rights groups, the Tibet Support Committee, and accepted by the court the following month just days before the opening of the Beijing Olympics.

It “denounces the new wave of oppression that began in Tibet on 10th March 2008, and just goes to prove that acts of genocide continue to be committed against the Tibetan people”.

It also “denounces China’s manipulation of the global war against terrorism in its attempt to justify and cover up crimes against humanity committed against the Tibetan people”.

Unrest in Tibet erupted on March 14 last year after four days of peaceful protests against Chinese rule.

The Tibetan government-in-exile says 203 Tibetans were killed and about 1,000 hurt in China’s crackdown. Beijing insists that only one Tibetan was killed and has in turn accused the “rioters” of killing 21 people.

The crackdown sparked international protests that dogged the month-long global journey of the Olympic torch in April.

The judge said that if the accusations made in the complaint are proven, they would constitute crimes against humanity under Spanish law.

“The Tibetan population would appear to be a group that is persecuted by the cited authorities for political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or other motives universally recognised as unacceptable under international law,” he wrote.

Spain has since 2005 operated under the principle of “universal jurisdiction”, a doctrine that allows courts to reach beyond national borders in cases of torture, terrorism or war crimes.

Other Chinese officials named in the suit were Communist Party Secretary in Tibet Zhang Qingli, Politburo member Wang Lequan, Ethnic Affairs Commission head Li Dezhu, People’s Liberation Army Commander in Lhasa General Tong Guishan, Public Security Minister Meg Jianzhu and Zhang Guihua, political commissar in the Chengdu military command.

The suit against the eight is an extension to another complaint filed by the Tibet Support Committee in 2006.

That suit accuses Chinese leaders, including former president Jiang Zemin and former prime minister Li Peng, of torture and crimes against humanity as well as genocide allegedly carried out in Tibet during the 1980s.

The National Court has been hearing that case since June 2006.

Beijing has condemned the accusations of genocide in Tibet as slander and it has accused Madrid of trying to interfere in its administration of the Buddhist Himalayan region.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after sending troops in to “liberate” the remote region.


Posted in Asia, China, Crime against humanity, ethnic, Genocide, Jiang Zemin, Law, News, Official, People, Politics, Religious, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, World, Xizang | Comments Off on Spanish judge to quiz China officials over Tibet

Concern that detained Tibetan magazine editor is being tortured

Posted by Author on April 24, 2009

Reporters Without Borders, Apr. 24, 2009-

Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the physical safety of journalists and website editors who have been arrested in the past few months in Tibet and neighbouring Tibetan regions. The latest to be arrested is Dokru Tsuilrim, a monk who edited the magazine Khawai Tsesok (Soul of the Snow).

The press freedom organisation hails the release of Golok Jigme, a monk who helped filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen make the 2008 documentary “Leaving fear behind”. Dhondup Wangchen is still being held.

“We are very worried by the reports of Chinese police torturing detained Tibetans, including a lama defended by lawyer Li Fangping,” Reporters Without Borders said. “They increase our concern that the six journalists detained in Tibet are being mistreated. All those held because of the views they expressed must be released without delay.”

Chinese police arrested Dokru Tsuilrim in his room in Ngaba Gomang monastery (in Sichuan province) at the start of April for publishing articles that allegedly support the “separatist forces.” The authorities have suspended publication of his magazine.

The authorities have meanwhile stepped up controls in Machu county in Gansu province. According to a researcher at India’s Norbu Lingka Institute, Chinese officials threatened reprisals against residents who continue to listen to international radio stations or visit websites such as the Radio Free Asia one. The authorities have installed dozens of satellite dishes while confiscating those belonging to private individuals.

Tibetan human rights groups have reported new cases of Tibetans being arrested for sending “state secrets” abroad. One is a monk identified as Thuksam, based in Nurma monastery, who has been held since 11 March. The Public Security Bureau accuses him of sending reports about human rights violations to organisations abroad. It is not known where he is being held.

Reporters Without Borders

Posted in China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, Religion, Speech, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, World, Xizang | Comments Off on Concern that detained Tibetan magazine editor is being tortured

Video Confirms China’s Use of Torture in Tibetan Protests

Posted by Author on March 22, 2009

By Joshua Philipp, Epoch Times Staff, Mar 21, 2009-

The Tibetan Government-in-Exile released new video footage of the protests in Lhasa last year that confirms the use of extreme violence and torture by Chinese authorities. The footage is evidence against the Chinese communist regime’s denial that torture is used in Tibet.

“This extremely rare and shocking footage confirms our worst fears about the horrific pain and suffering Tibetans are experiencing at the hands of the Chinese authorities in the wake of last year’s uprising,” said Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet, in a press release.

“The brutality of the Chinese authorities against Tibetans in this footage is not the exception to, but rather the rule of, Beijing’s treatment of the Tibetan people over the past 50 years,” he said.

One segment of the video, recorded on March 14, 2008, shows Chinese police beating Tibetan prisoners with batons, after they were arrested in the protests. The prisoners have their hands tied behind their backs and can only curl in an attempt to resist the beatings.

Another segment of the video shows gruesome images of a young Tibetan by the name of Tendar being tortured by Chinese authorities. He was reportedly fired at, beaten with an electric baton, burned with cigarettes, and his right foot was pierced by a nail.

The video shows him after being brought to the TAR People’s Hospital. His body is covered with rotting wounds from lack of proper treatment. The hospital removed 2.5 kg of decaying flesh.

Tendar died from his injuries on June 19, 2008.

The protests in Tibet began on March 10, 2008, leading up to the Beijing Olympics.

Officials from the Chinese Communist Party have repeatedly denied that torture was used in Tibet. In November 2008 when the U.N. panel released a report on the use of torture on Tibetans by Chinese police, the Chinese Foreign Ministry called the reports “untrue and slanderous” and accused the committee members of being “prejudiced” against China.

In the Lhasa protests and the following crackdown by the communist regime, close to 220 Tibetans were killed, more than 1,294 were seriously injured, and more than 1,000 simply disappeared. The Chinese authorities arrested more than 5,600 Tibetans, of which 290 are known to have been sentenced.

The Chinese Communist Party is still holding Tibet under martial law.

The video, which is at times difficult to watch, can be seen at:

The Epochtimes

Posted in China, ethnic, Freedom of Belief, Human Rights, Lasa, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Religious, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, Torture, World, Xizang | 2 Comments »

Unrest in Tibet continues as human rights violations escalate

Posted by Author on March 11, 2009

Amnesty International, 10 March 2009-

Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising in 1959, which led the Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, to flee to India.

Last year’s anniversary saw a wave of largely peaceful protests in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Tibetan-populated areas in neighbouring provinces. These protests led to arbitrary arrests and other human rights violations including prolonged detention and imprisonment, torture and other ill-treatment.

The Chinese authorities’ failure to address the long-standing grievances of the Tibetan people, including unequal employment and educational opportunities, scores of Tibetans detained and the intensification of the “patriotic education” campaign has fuelled protests that have continued over the past 12 months.

Overseas Tibetan organizations have documented between 130-200 individual protests since March 2008.

Monks and nuns, laypeople and nomads have been taking part in popular protests across Tibetan-populated areas. Reports of Tibetan protests are matched by those of tightened security measures and calls to “crush” any demonstrations of support for the Dalai Lama, especially over the recent weeks. Despite this, popular Tibetan protests have continued across the region.

Some observers have interpreted the tightened security measures which include the removal of monks and nuns from monasteries, and an increasing presence of the People’s Armed Police as acts of provocation.

The “Winter Strike Hard Unified Checking Campaign” was launched in Lhasa on 18 January. The campaign aimed to “vigorously uphold the city’s social order and stability”, targeting in particular those who are not permanent Lhasa residents.

According to the Lhasa Evening News, in the first three days of the campaign, the police had “thoroughly checked” nearly 6,000 people in residential blocks, rented accommodations, hotels, guesthouses, internet cafes and bars. The police had detained 81 suspects by 24 January, including two for having “reactionary songs and opinions” on their mobile phones.

The People’s Armed Police are reported to have shot a 24-year-old Tibetan monk who set himself on fire on 27 February 2009. The monk was holding a homemade Tibetan flag with a picture of the Dalai Lama on it.

The incident took place in Ngaba county (Chinese: Aba), Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP), Sichuan province, after the local authorities dispersed a group of hundreds of monks who had gathered to observe a prayer ceremony.

The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, confirmed that a protest took place and that a monk was taken to a hospital to be treated for burn injuries. The Chinese authorities later denied the shooting.

The continued lock-down in Tibet has made independent verification of reports difficult and raised fears that reports of human rights violations that reach the outside world represent just a fraction of the whole.

Foreign journalists have previously needed a special permit to travel to the TAR. However, in the wake of the unrest in spring 2008, they have been allowed to visit the TAR only on government organized group tours……. (more details from Amnesty International)

Posted in China, ethnic, Incident, Lasa, News, People, Politics, Protest, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, World, Xizang | Comments Off on Unrest in Tibet continues as human rights violations escalate

China: ‘Quick Arrests and Quick Sentencings’ Followed Tibetan Protests

Posted by Author on March 11, 2009

Human Rights Watch, March 9, 2009 –

(New York) – The first extensive analysis of official Chinese accounts regarding the arrests and trials of Tibetan protesters from March 2008 shows that by the Chinese government’s own count, there have been thousands of arbitrary arrests, and more than 100 trials pushed through the judicial system, Human Rights Watch said today. New Human Rights Watch research and analysis point to a judicial system so highly politicized as to preclude any possibility of protesters being judged fairly.

Human Rights Watch has examined dozens of court reports, statements by leading officials, local judicial statistics, and official Chinese press reports. These documents reveal that the number of protests was higher than previously acknowledged by the government, that protesters have been sentenced outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region in the provinces of Sichuan and Gansu, that protestors died or were killed in Lhasa, and that courts have sentenced protesters under state security charges for nonviolent acts such as waving the Tibetan flag and throwing pamphlets on the street.

“The Chinese government has refused every external request for a real accounting of the detention, arrest and sentencing of those involved with the Tibetan protests,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Both the arrests and the releases seem to have been arbitrary, and we still know next to nothing about those who are still detained or have been imprisoned.”

Against a backdrop of ever-more intrusive controls over religious and cultural activities, accelerated state-led economic development, and large-scale compulsory resettlement of farmers and nomads, major protests against Chinese rule erupted on March 10, 2008, in Lhasa and spread across the Tibetan plateau. That date marked the anniversary of the failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. Over the next four days, hundreds of monks from Drepung, Sera, and Ganden temples peacefully protested. But on March 14 near Romoche temple, members of the public started protesting police who were preventing monks from leaving the compound; some protesters turned violent and burned several police cars. The police retreated and then inexplicably disappeared from Lhasa for much of the rest of the day. Rioters burned Chinese shops and government buildings and attacked Chinese-looking passersby. Dozens of protests were held in Tibetan communities across the plateau over the course of that week.

The Chinese government has framed all discussions about Tibet as a sovereignty issue, claiming that the country’s territorial integrity and inter-ethnic relations were threatened by a secessionist movement supported by “hostile foreign forces.” The government has consistently rejected all allegations of human rights abuses in Tibet, by claiming that Tibetans’ rights are fully protected under the law; pointing to political, social and economic development over the past half-century; or rejecting the expression of such concerns as conspiracies to fan ethnic dissatisfaction against the Communist Party and the government.

“The government’s national security concerns do not exempt it from its obligation to respect fundamental rights and freedoms and offer equal status before the law to all its citizens, whatever their ethnicity,” said Richardson. “Yet Beijing’s own official accounts reflect judicial defects so severe that it is not possible to deliver a fair trial to any one accused of having taken part in the protests last year.”

Human Rights Watch said that the government’s official figures about arrests and convictions suggested that several hundred suspected protesters are still in custody. The Chinese government, which says that the protests resulted in 21 casualties, has not responded to demands from the United Nations and international human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch to account for these detentions. In a joint appeal on April 10, 2008, six United Nations special procedures mandate holders issued an urgent appeal calling on the government of China for “complete compliance with due process and fair trial rights according to international standards for those detained or charged with crimes, including provision of each person’s name, the charges against them, and the facility where they are detained or imprisoned, as well as ensuring access to legal defense.” …… (more details from Human Rights Watch)

Posted in China, ethnic, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, SW China, Tibet, World, Xizang | Comments Off on China: ‘Quick Arrests and Quick Sentencings’ Followed Tibetan Protests

Freedom of expression “systematically violated” in Tibet

Posted by Author on March 11, 2009

Reporters Without Borders, 9 March 2009 –

Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the systematic violation of press freedom and free expression in Tibet. Foreign journalists are finding it increasingly difficult to visit the Himalayan province and free speech is being suppressed even more ruthlessly there than in the rest of China. In the past few days, the editor of a Tibetan website has been arrested, a Tibetan culture website has been closed and SMS services have been suspended in parts of Sichuan province.

“We urge the Chinese authorities to allow foreign journalists to visit Tibet and the Tibetan regions freely,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We also call on them to grant the Tibet-based media more editorial freedom and to stop jamming international radio stations broadcasting in the Tibetan language.”

The press freedom organisation added: “The crackdown launched after the events of March 2008 has never stopped. The authorities have gone to great lengths to impose the official version of events, denying the existence of Tibetan victims. The statements full of hatred for Tibetans made by certain Chinese officials are unacceptable. The government keeps reiterating the need to maintain stability, but this translates into a relentless persecution of dissidents in Tibet.”

The local authorities have meanwhile reinforced their media propaganda in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising on 10 March. Tibet Daily said in a 16 February editorial that China was engaged in a “life-or-death class struggle” with the “Dalai Lama clique and hostile western forces.”

In recent days, the Chinese authorities in the Tibetan regions and Beijing have systematically denied reports about incidents involving Tibetans. An official in the district of Litang, in Sichuan province, told Agence France-Presse on 18 February, for example, that there had been no demonstration in the district although several sources said at least 20 Tibetans were arrested after a peaceful demonstration there.

The foreign press has been unable to visit Tibet freely for decades and the controls were tightened after the events of March 2008. On the eve of the Tibetan new year and the 50th anniversary of the uprising, foreigners have been forbidden all access to Tibet until 1 April at least, making the presence of independent observers impossible. Foreign tourists in Lhasa have been asked to leave the Himalayan province as quickly as possible.

The Chinese have organised a few, very occasional press trips to Tibet. The last was in mid-February. But as journalists with the French TV production company Hikari said, “the criteria for choosing the media are not known and the media chosen cannot move about freely.” After visiting monasteries that have been emptied of their monks, Arnaud de La Grange of the French daily Le Figaro asked: “Why are journalists not allowed free access to Tibet, as they are to the rest of China?”

Journalists who try to do reporting in Tibetan regions without official guides often find themselves being obstructed and even roughed up in violation of the rules for foreign reporters that were renewed in October 2008. Two Hikari journalists were prevented from working and then detained in early February in Xiahe, the town in Gansu province where Labrang monastery is located. “Police took us to a hotel where we waited two hours before being driven several hundred kilometres to Lanzhou airport in a police car with the revolving roof light flashing.”

Before being expelled, the journalists saw that the authorities had set up road blocks and taken other security measures to prevent foreigners entering the area. New York Times reporter Edward Wong was held for about 20 hours by the police while investigating the military presence in Gansu province. Foreigners are not supposed to need permission to enter this region but the police refused to give any explanation, Wong said in his article. The Associated Press has meanwhile said its reporters were detained and questioned twice in the past few weeks in Tibetan regions.

When journalists arrive in Tibet, often on tourist visas, they find that Tibetans are scared to talk to them. “There is a general feeling of mistrust and paranoia as a result of the massive presence of security forces and the security cameras installed in many places in the city,” Reporters Without Borders was told by a European journalist who visited Lhasa in 2008. “The Tibetans know they are taking a big risk if they talk to a foreigner (…) Many Lhasa residents are convinced there are microphones and cameras at street corners, in shops and in taxis.”

Several sources said the Internet has been particularly slow in the Tibetan regions in the run-up to the 10 March anniversary. But calls for a boycott of the Tibetan new year, Losar, circulated widely on Tibetan blogs and chat forums. The Beijing media broadcast the festivities and hailed the calm and joy in Tibet after “50 years of democratic reforms.”…… (more details from Reporters Without Borders)

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Lasa, News, People, Politics, Press freedom, Social, SW China, Tibet, World, Xizang | Comments Off on Freedom of expression “systematically violated” in Tibet

China issues call to crush Tibetan ‘separatists’

Posted by Author on February 21, 2009

AFP, Feb 19, 2009-

BEIJING (AFP) — China has ordered government and security forces in Tibet to crush any signs of support for the Dalai Lama, state media said Thursday, as the tense 50th anniversary of an anti-Chinese uprising nears.

A conference of Tibetan leaders ordered authorities to “mobilise and fully deploy” to maintain stability, the Tibet Daily said, in a possible indication China fears unrest ahead of the March 10 anniversary.

“The meeting called on the party, government, military, police and public in all areas… to firmly crush the savage aggression of the Dalai clique, defeat separatism, and wage people’s war to maintain stability,” the paper said of the meeting in Lhasa.

The report gave no details on any security measures.

It said the order was aimed at ensuring stability for the 50th anniversary of social reforms introduced to supplant the Dalai Lama-led Buddhist system.

However, those reforms followed the failed uprising that began on March 10, 1959, and forced the Dalai Lama to flee into exile.

China is maintaining ultra-tight security on the Himalayan region ahead of the anniversary of the uprising, which was crushed by Chinese forces. The Tibetan government-in-exile says the Chinese army killed 87,000 people in the crackdown.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after sending troops in to “liberate” the region from serfdom.

The Tibetan security meeting said the overarching task for Tibetan authorities this year was to “resolutely go toe-to-toe in a battle against all destructive separatist activities to maintain stability.”

A separate editorial by the Tibet Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s main mouthpiece in Tibet, also called for a toughened stance.

“We must maintain heavy pressure on criminal violators from start to finish,” said the editorial, which focused on the “separatist” threat.

China maintains that the Dalai Lama, who remains revered by Tibetans, is a dangerous separatist bent on independence for Tibet, a charge he denies.

But the Tibetan spiritual leader this month warned of a possible uprising in his homeland amid anger over a Chinese crackdown put in place after violent anti-Chinese riots erupted across Tibet on last year’s anniversary.

“It is so tense that the Chinese military have their hands on the trigger when they carry weapons… So long as there is a Chinese military presence, there will be tension,” he said in Germany.

In a sign of the tension, police clashed with Tibetans in neighbouring Sichuan province this week after protests in support of the Dalai Lama, according to witnesses and activist groups.

The unrest in Litang county was the first reported major outbreak of violence ahead of the anniversary and led to up to two dozen arrests, the activist groups said.

Chinese authorities regularly accuse the Dalai Lama of inciting separatist unrest in Tibet, but he says discontent stems from what he calls Beijing’s campaign to extinguish traditional Tibetan culture.

Another Tibet Daily report said the Tibet branch of the state Buddhist Association of China on Wednesday revised its charter to require all nuns and lamas to reject the Dalai Lama.

The revision calls on monks to “see clearly that the 14th Dalai Lama is the ringleader” of Tibetan separatists and “a loyal tool of anti-China Western forces, the root cause of social unrest in Tibet, and the biggest obstacle to building up Tibetan Buddhism.”


Posted in China, Incident, News, Politics, Religion, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, World, Xizang | Comments Off on China issues call to crush Tibetan ‘separatists’

China detains 59 over ’subversive rumours’ in Tibet: state media

Posted by Author on December 26, 2008

AFP, Dec. 25, 2008 –

BEIJING (AFP) — China has detained 59 people accused of fabricating subversive rumours in Tibet, state media said Thursday, blaming forces allied to the Himalayan region’s exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama.

Since unrest broke out in Tibet in March, police have cracked 48 cases of “rumour-mongering” and detained 59 people, the website said, citing Xin Yuanming, deputy chief of police in Tibet’s capital Lhasa.

“A number of people with ulterior motives deliberately spread rumours and fanned ethnic sentiment,” he was quoted as saying, adding that the alleged rumour-mongers had been urged on by people close to the Dalai Lama.

The report said the rumours “seriously undermined the image of the party and the government and harmed the public’s sense of security.”

The term “rumours” in China is often used to refer to anti-government views.

In one example mentioned in the report, unidentified people had downloaded “reactionary songs” from the Internet and sold them in compact disc and MP3 format in markets in Lhasa.

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since fleeing his homeland after a failed uprising in 1959 against Chinese rule. China has ruled Tibet since 1951 after sending troops to the Himalayan region the previous year.

Tensions came to a head on March 14 this year when violence erupted in the Tibetan capital Lhasa against Chinese rule, before spreading to other areas of western China with Tibetan populations.

Tibet’s government-in-exile said more than 200 Tibetans were killed and about 1,000 hurt in a subsequent Chinese crackdown, but China reported police killing one “insurgent” and blamed Tibetan “rioters” for 21 deaths.


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China jails Tibetan activist for life

Posted by Author on December 22, 2008

The Radio Netherlands, Monday 22 December 2008 –

A court in China has jailed a Tibetan activist working for a non-governmental organisation for life for spreading information about the restless region. The International Campaign for Tibet says Wangdu was sentenced in early November along with six other Tibetans, who also received long prison terms. The group said the sentences were unusually severe, suggesting China is taking a harder line to block news on Tibet.

Anti-Chinese protests erupted in Tibet earlier this year, prompting a violent crack-down by China’s security forces. Hundreds of people are reportedly still detained.

The Radio Netherlands

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China: Repression continues in Tibet, foreign media still unable to investigate

Posted by Author on November 7, 2008

Reporters Without Borders, Nov.7, 2008-

Reporters Without Borders deplores the Chinese government’s lack of goodwill towards foreign journalists trying to visit Tibet and its repressions of Tibetans who dare to talk about what has happened to them. A Tibetan monk, for example, was arrested three days ago after speaking openly in a video and answering a foreign journalist’s questions about the torture he underwent in prison.

“The simple fact that the freedom of movement and freedom to interview granted to foreign journalists are not been applied in Tibet shows that a state of exception still exists in the province,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The foreign journalists who have managed to get into Tibet confirm that a heavy military and police presence has imposed a climate of fear for most Tibetans. The news blackout is designed to prevent journalists from carrying out an independent evaluation of the toll from last March’s unrest.”

The press freedom organisation added: “We above all urge the Chinese government to allow foreign journalists to travel freely to Tibet. The government must also, as a matter of urgency, release all Tibetans held for expressing their views or for providing information about the situation in the province.”

Jigme Guri, a Buddhist monk at Labrang monastery (in Gansu province) was arrested by about 50 police and soldiers on 4 November after recording a video in which he spoke openly about the torture to which he was submitted after being arrested in March. He also answered an Associated Press reporter’s questions in September, explaining how he was hung by his arms and beaten to make him confess to leading the March protests in Labrang. The authorities have not provided any information about him since his second arrest.

The Chinese authorities announced on 17 October that rules allowing foreign journalists freedom of movement and freedom to interview would remain in force. But these rules do not apply to the Tibetan region, which the press can only visit after obtaining the agreement of the local authorities. Very few of such permits are given to foreign reporters.

In August, Agence France-Presse reporters tried to visit the Tibetan region of Garze, in Sichuan province, where soldiers had opened fire on demonstrators a short while before. They managed to get as far as Kangding, but it proved impossible to continue to Garze. On the instructions of the authorities, all drivers were refusing to take foreigners there. The reporters saw a significant military presence in both the cities and the countryside, and strict police control around Buddhist temples.

There are many police controls around Tibet and provinces with a Tibetan population, as well as around the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, where a permit has to be obtained in order to travel to Shigatse or Gyantse.

No foreign journalist has been able to cover the trials of Tibetans accused of participating in the March riots. According to a recent statement by a Chinese official, at least 55 people have been given prison sentences.

Several foreign journalists have told Reporters Without Borders it has become much harder to work in Tibet since the riots. “Far fewer people dare to talk now,” said a European journalist who went to Tibet in August.” “And investigating what happened in March is an ordeal. You can read the fear on their faces.” Like the other journalists, she travelled to Tibet on tourist visa…… (more details)

– Reporters Without Borders

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Tortured in prison for helping make Tibet documentary in China, says Buddhist monk

Posted by Author on October 20, 2008

Reporters Without Borders, 20 October 2008-

Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that Jigme Gyatso, a Buddhist monk who was arrested for helping to make a documentary about Tibet, was released last week but the organisation is outraged that he was tortured during the seven months he was held.

“Yet again we have evidence that torture is still being used in Tibetan prisons,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Chinese authorities must provide an explanation for this disgraceful affair. Since the events of March, the government has prevented the dissemination of any reports about the situation in Tibet and many dissidents have been arrested. A climate of fear has taken hold in the towns and around the monasteries.”

Jigme Gyatso assisted Dhondup Wangchen as a cameraman in making the documentary. They were arrested in March, shortly after they finished filming. Jigme Gyatso was released conditionally on 15 October from a prison in the city of Kachu, in Ganzu province.

According to Filming For Tibet, the Swiss-based company that produced the documentary, Jigme Gyatso has returned to Labrang Tashikyil monastery in Gansu province, but it is not yet clear if the charges against have been dropped. “He was told by the authorities that he will remain under observation and that his probation will last one year,” the production company said.

The Swiss producers also passed on his account of the brutal interrogations to which he was subjected after being arrested. “The interrogators beat him continuously and hanged him by his feet from the ceiling for hours and kept him tied for days on the interrogation chair,” they said.

Called Leaving Fear Behind (, the 25-minute documentary consists of a series of interview with Tibetans in the Amdo region in which they express their views on the Dalai Lama, the Olympic Games and Chinese legislation.

The maker of the documentary, Dhondup Wangchen, is still detained in Ershilipu prison in Xining province.

Reporters Without Borders

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China: Tibetan TV news presenter arrested in eastern Tibet

Posted by Author on September 18, 2008

Reporters Without Borders, Sep. 18, 2008-

Reporters Without Borders is deeply worried about Tibetan TV presenter Washu Rangjong’s arrest by Chinese military police officers at his home in Amdo Golok, in the east Tibetan district of Sertha, on 11 September. Washu is also a singer and the author of two books on Tibetan culture.

“The Chinese authorities must explain why this journalist and defender of Tibetan culture has been arrested,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The case highlights the climate of fear prevailing in the Tibetan regions, where many people have been arrested arbitrarily since the events in March.”

Washu has presented news in Tibetan for local television for the past four years at least. Born in 1983 and the father of four children, he taught Tibetan before becoming a journalist.

Tsultrim Woeser, a monk, told Reporters Without Borders that the Washu family has not been informed of the reason for his arrest.

Tibetan singer and TV presenter Jamyang Kyi was arrested at her office at state-owned Qinghai Television in Xining, in the western province of Qinghai, in April and was released a month later after paying bail.

Reporters Without Borders

Posted in China, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, Press freedom, Social, SW China, Tibet, World, Xizang | 1 Comment »

Hundreds of Tibetan Monks Still Held in Northwest China

Posted by Author on August 30, 2008

Radio Free Asia, 2008-08-28 –

KATHMANDU—Hundreds of Tibetan monks detained after widespread protests against Chinese rule earlier this year were deported from the Tibetan capital Lhasa to remote Qinghai province, where they remain in custody, according to Tibetan sources.

Monks from two major Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, Sera and Drepung, both in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), may have been targeted because they were seen as playing a leading role in the demonstrations, the sources said.

Many came to study at the two monasteries near Lhasa from remote areas in eastern Tibet where the Kham and Amdo dialects are spoken.

A smaller group of monks was removed from another monastery, Ganden, and taken into detention with the others, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Unrest erupted in Lhasa on March 14 after four days of peaceful protests, turning into a day of riots targeting Han Chinese residents and businesses. China reacted by sending in a large force of paramilitary People’s Armed Police to quell the unrest, sealing off the TAR and Tibetan-populated regions of China from contact with the outside world.

Exiled Tibetan leaders say 203 people died in the violence that followed, while Beijing says 22 people died, only one of them Tibetan.

Train from Lhasa

According to an authoritative source who spoke on condition of anonymity, 675 Tibetan monks from the three targeted monasteries were put on a train from Lhasa on April 25.

“Among those 675 monks, 405 were from Drepung, 205 were from Sera, and eight were from Ganden,” the source said. The remaining 57 monks from outlying areas were said to have been taken from smaller Lhasa monasteries.

“They were transported to a military detention center in Golmud” in the Haixi [in Tibetan, Tsonub] Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai, the source said.

“All the monks who came originally from the Qinghai region were [then] deported to their respective towns. They are still detained there in their hometown prisons or detention centers.”

They were escorted home from Golmud by officials from the Qinghai United Front and Religious Affairs Bureau, according to the source.

Monks who came originally from monasteries in the still-troubled region of Kham in Sichuan province are still being held in Golmud, however, the source said. The number of those still in detention cannot be independently confirmed.

Three groups

The monks were rounded up in three groups, the source said.

“On April 10 in the afternoon, security forces detained 550 monks from Drepung monastery, took them to the Nyethang Military School, and detained them on the school campus.”

“Then, on the night of April 14, a huge contingent of Chinese security forces arrived at Sera monastery and took away about 400 monks and detained them at a military prison in Tsal Gungthang,” about 20 kms (12 miles) east of Lhasa, the source said.

“On April 17, a group of monks from Ganden was also rounded up and detained somewhere in Lhasa,” the source added.

All those detained were reported to have suffered harsh treatment, including beatings, while in prison.

“Twenty-four monks from Drepung and Sera monasteries remain in detention at the Nationalities Middle School in the Marpa subdivision of Rebgong in Qinghai province, where they have been held since July 25” after being moved from Lhasa in April, the source said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Freedom of Belief, Human Rights, Lasa, Law, News, NW China, People, Politics, Qinghai, Religious, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, World, Xizang | Comments Off on Hundreds of Tibetan Monks Still Held in Northwest China

Tibetan monasteries empty as China jails monks to silence Olympic protests

Posted by Author on July 8, 2008

From The Times, UK, July 7, 2008-

Chinese authorities tightened security around Tibet’s main monasteries and banned visits to a sacred site on the edge of the capital, Lhasa, for fear of a fresh outburst of unrest on the Dalai Lama’s birthday.

Few monks remain, however, in the province’s three most important monasteries. Many have disappeared, their whereabouts a mystery. Chinese officials have deployed troops and paramilitary police around the ancient religious institutions, suspecting these sprawling hillside communities are at the heart of the unrest that has swept the region since early March.

Dozens, possibly several hundred, have been arrested or are detained and under investigation for their roles in the anti-Chinese demonstrations and riots that hit Lhasa on March 14. This, however, does not account for the empty halls in the three great monasteries, Drepung, Sera and Ganden, that lie near the city. Several hundred monks are believed to have been living in each of them before the violence erupted.

Now Tibetan sources have revealed that most of the monks, more than 1,000 in total, have been transferred to many prisons and detention centres in and around the city of Golmud in neighbouring Qinghai province. The detained monks are all young ethnic Tibetans from surrounding regions who had made their way to Lhasa, their spiritual capital, to study and pray in the most prestigious spiritual centres on the Roof of the World. Jane Macartney in Beijing

Their detention is part of a policy to rid the monasteries of any monks not registered as formal residents of the administrative region, known as the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Family members say that the monks have been told they will be incarcerated in Golmud only until the end of the Olympic Games in Beijing. The policy is part of a campaign by the Chinese Government to ensure that the Games, opening on August 8 and lasting for two weeks, pass off without a hitch and without protests from the restive Tibetans, they told The Times.

“After that they have been told that they will be allowed to leave, because they are not guilty of a crime,” one man whose brother is among the detained said. “But they will be ordered to return to their home villages and will not be permitted to go back to the monasteries in Lhasa.” There were no reports that any of those being held were being mistreated, he added.

The monks’ detention is, in effect, a decision by China to implement a policy first promulgated in 1994 to limit the size of Tibet’s monasteries, because increasing religious freedoms were attracting growing numbers.

Sera monastery, for example, is supposed to house no more than 400 monks but is believed to have grown to more than 1,000. In Drepung – at its height the largest monastery in the world – has been allocated a similar quota but has allowed as many as 900 monks to live in its high-walled compounds. The monasteries have for years allowed young boys well below the age of 18 to enter in direct contravention of the rules but the authorities had turned a blind eye.

The abbots have encouraged the unofficial monks because they found that those from other regions tended to be the most devoted and diligent, Tibetan sources said.

Registered monks are given a monthly stipend that can sometimes be as much as 5,000 yuan (£350) depending on the donations to a monastery and entrance ticket sales. Many prefer to spend their days playing video games and DVDs rather than reading the scriptures, they said. They voiced concern that the monasteries could lose many of their best Buddhist scholars if the monks were not allowed to return after the Olympics.

Authorities have ordered all Tibetans without a Lhasa residence permit to leave the city and to return to their homes. Reports are increasing of the authorities targeting individuals whose dress, haircut or even teeth – Tibetans from Sichuan and Qinghai favour gold fillings – mark them out as coming from neighbouring regions.

Tibetan residents of Lhasa say that they prefer not to wear Tibetan dress for fear they will be stopped and questioned on the street by police or soldiers. Men say that they are growing their hair so as not be mistaken for a monk and interrogated.

One man, from the Khamba group that lives in western Sichuan province and is renowned for its warriors, told how he was arrested after the March 14 riot because his long hair identified him as being from that region.

The huge security operation has,however, failed to halt protests by Tibetans demanding the return of the Dalai Lama and independence for their homeland. On June 18 six took place in Ganze county alone.

One Tibetan source said: “They know they are going to be arrested but people still go out and demonstrate. And then you can see the cats come out and catch them like mice.”

Ancient traditions

Drepung monastery

The largest of Tibetan monasteries, whose name means “rice heap”. Its population numbered as many as 7,700 in the 1930s and sometimes up to 10,000. Founded in 1416, it has long been been regarded as the most academic monastery of the Gelukpa – or Yellow Hat – sect

Sera monastery

Its name means “Enclosure of Roses”. Also founded in the early 15th century. Began as a scholarly institution but became known as the home of warrior monks whose responsibility was to defend Tibet and its Buddhist traditions

Ganden monastery

The oldest of the three great monasteries, its name means “continent of completely victorious happiness”. It is 35 miles from Lhasa and has long been the smallest house. It suffered most during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, when it was dynamited by the Army and Red Guards

Original from Times Online

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IOC Unusually Warns China to Keep Politics and Sports Separate

Posted by Author on June 27, 2008

By Larry DiTore, The Bloomberg, U.S, June. 25, 2008-

June 25 (Bloomberg) — The International Olympic Committee warned organizers of the Beijing Games to keep politics and sports separate after reports of a Communist party official’s criticism of the Dalai Lama at a torch relay ceremony in Tibet.

The IOC sent a letter to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games after reading about the remarks of Zhang Qingli, the Chinese Communist party secretary in the region, IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said in an e-mail.

“We have written to BOCOG to remind them of the need to separate sport and politics and to ask for their support in making sure that such situations do not arise again,” the IOC said.

Reuters reported that Zhang made the remarks June 21 in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.

“Tibet’s sky will never change and the red flag with five stars will forever flutter high above it,” the news agency quoted Zhang as saying. “We will certainly be able to totally smash the splittist schemes of the Dalai Lama clique.”

In March, Lhasa was the scene of the biggest protests in Tibet in 20 years as demonstrators called for an end to religious restrictions and the release of imprisoned Buddhist monks.

The Chinese government has accused supporters of the Dalai Lama of trying to disrupt the Aug. 8-24 Games.

– IOC Warns Beijing on Olympic Politics After Dalai Lama Critique

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China: Olympic flame reaches Lhasa but Tibetans are kept in dark

Posted by Author on June 24, 2008

Jane Macartney, China Correspondent, Times Online, UK, June 23, 2008-

Armed troops patrol the streets of Lhasa and Tibetan monks and Buddhist pilgrims have virtually disappeared from the sacred prayer path that surrounds Tibet’s holiest temple in the heart of the capital. There is no sign that China is ready yet to loosen the security clampdown imposed after Tibetans rioted in the streets more than three months ago.

Instead, the army patrols and identity checks were stepped up last week as the Himalayan city prepared for its brief moment as host of the Olympic torch on its relay through China. The passage of the flame, curtailed from three days to only one, went off without incident and virtually without an audience at the weekend.

The authorities ordered everyone in the city, even tourists, to stay inside with their windows closed until midday on Saturday when the torch relay ended. Thousands of troops were out in force, standing a mere five metres apart on many roads, to ensure that the curfew was obeyed.

Only a hand-picked few were allowed out to watch the torch as it was carried from the summer palace of the Dalai Lama to the towering crimson and white Potala Palace that was his winter home until he fled into exile during an abortive anti-Chinese uprising in 1959.

One Han Chinese resident was determined not to let the restrictions hamper his enjoyment of a glimpse of the Olympic torch in Lhasa. “Reliable Communist Party members were chosen long ago as the people who would attend the ceremony in Potala Square,” he said.

He could not even watch on television as the torch was relayed between 156 runners, including 75 ethnic Tibetans. Only the start and finish of the relay were broadcast, in stark contrast to the usual coverage by China’s sports channel, which has shown each stage of the relay live on television.

Lhasa residents said that the level of security in the streets and the absence of an audience along the route made it too embarrassing to show the event. Instead, viewers were treated to programmes about Tibet’s ancient temples until the torch had completed its journey safely.

The grand finale at the foot of the Potala Palace that has been home to most of Tibet’s 14 Dalai Lamas was an opportunity for the region’s Communist Party boss to warn Tibetans of the futility of any attempts to seek independence. …… (more details from The Times Online)

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