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This is the first time that I've ever got official approval to go to Tibet. And it's remarkable I think that they decided to let me stay there and probably they felt that it was a bit of a gamble. But as the protests went on I think they also probably felt that having me there would help to get across the scale of the ethnically-targeted violence that the Chinese themselves have also been trying to highlight.
What I saw was calculated targeted violence against an ethnic group, or I should say two ethnic groups, primarily ethnic Han Chinese living in Lhasa, but also members of the Muslim Hui minority in Lhasa.
Of course many ethnic Han Chinese and Huis fled as soon as this broke out. But those who were caught in the early stages of it were themselves targeted. Stones thrown at them. At one point, I saw them throwing stones at a boy of maybe around 10 years old perhaps cycling along the street. I in fact walked out in front of them and said stop. It was a remarkable explosion of simmering ethnic grievances in the city.
I saw them carrying traditional Tibetan swords, I didn't actually see them getting them out and intimidating people with them. But clearly the purpose of carrying them was to scare people. And speaking later to ethnic Han Chinese, that was one point that they frequently drew attention to. That these people were armed and very intimidating.
In fact what we saw, and I was watching it at the earliest stages, was complete inaction on the part of the authorities. It seemed as if they were paralyzed by indecision over how to handle this.
And I suspect again the Olympics were a factor there. That they were very worried that if they did move in decisively at that early stage of the unrest that bloodshed would ensue in their efforts to control it. And what they did instead was let the rioting run its course and it didn't really finish as far as I saw until the middle of the day on the following day on the Saturday, March the 15th. So in effect what they did was sacrifice the livelihoods of many, many ethnic Han Chinese in the city for the sake of letting the rioters vent their anger. And then being able to move in gradually with troops with rifles that they occasionally let off with single shots, apparently warning shots, in order to scare everybody back into their homes and put an end to this.
What I did not hear was repeated bursts of machine gun fire, I didn't have that same sense of an all out onslaught of massive firepower that I sensed here in Beijing when I was covering the crushing of the Tiananmen Square protests in June, 1989. This was a very different kind of operation, a more calculated one, and I think the effort of the authorities this time was to let people let off steam before establishing a very strong presence with troops, with guns, every few yards, all across the Tibetan quarter. It was only when they felt safe I think that there would not be massive bloodshed, that they actually moved in with that decisive force.
Ethnic Chinese in Lhasa are now very worried people. Some who had been there for many, many years expressed to me their utter astonishment that this had happened. They had no sense of great ethnic tension being a part of life in Lhasa. Now numerous Hans that I spoke to say that they are so afraid they may leave the city, which may have very damaging consequences for Lhasa's economy, Tibet's economy.
Originally posted by wwssii
reply to post by HowlrunnerIV
obviously you have a better knowldge of english than me. LOL.
so, now, please tell me what is the reason for the rioters to protest in such a barbarian way in your great opinion.
U.S. Brigandish Pressure upon S. Korea under Fire
and answer this question i posted above "there are more than four millions of tibetans, why are there only hundreds of them taking to the street?"
The Tibetan government-in-exile says that 130 people died in and around the Himalayan region during clashes that began on 10 March.
Officials in Beijing have previously put the death toll at 19.
Neither of the figures can be independently verified.
Foreign journalists remain banned from Tibet.
Eyewitnesses Recount Terrifying Day in Tibet
How a Protest Became a Rampage
BEIJING, March 26 -- In the moment, Canadian backpacker John Kenwood recalled, he was "young and stupid, and it was all adrenaline." He was running, one in a mob of 200 or so, screaming "Free Tibet!" and chasing riot police down a narrow street in downtown Lhasa in the early afternoon of March 14.
It was a heady feeling, being part of a howling pack that had forced police to turn tail and run, some dropping their shields as they fled a barrage of rocks. Then the Tibetans in the crowd slowed and began turning back, grinning and patting one another on the back.
The ebullient mood did not last long. The pack broke into smaller groups, gathering rocks and pulling out knives, looking for the next target.
"There was no more crowd to be part of. It looked like they were turning on everybody," said Kenwood, 19, describing the scene to reporters last week when he arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal, after 10 days in the Tibetan capital. "It wasn't about Tibet freedom anymore."
What he witnessed next was a violent rampage unlike any in decades in Lhasa, a city where Tibetan Buddhism's most revered temples sit among office buildings and concrete markets built by Chinese bent on developing the remote Himalayan region. Hundreds of mostly young Tibetans broke up into roaming gangs and attacked Chinese passersby and vandalized shops, killing 19 people and injuring more than 600 over two days.
During the riots, looters set fire to a clothing store, burning to death five young employees who were huddled on the second floor. Most police officers kept their distance while the center of Lhasa descended into chaos.
Nearly two weeks later, there are still more questions than answers about what sparked the violence. But several witness accounts suggest that what began as a small protest by Buddhist monks on the morning of Friday, March 14, turned quickly into ethnically charged rioting, possibly fueled by rumors that monks had been roughed up by police. Some outside experts cite another factor behind the uprising: Tibetans' awareness that the world is following news of their cause more closely as China prepares to host the Olympics in August.
Police and paramilitary troops have blanketed Lhasa, looking for ringleaders. Hundreds of Tibetans have been arrested or turned themselves in to police in a bid for leniency. There are rumors that outsiders orchestrated the attacks, echoing the official Chinese government claim that the Dalai Lama, the exiled Buddhist leader, is to blame. For his part, the Dalai Lama has condemned the violence and said repressive Chinese policies fueled the explosion.
Whatever the reasons, the people of Lhasa have been left to deal with the repercussions.
Zhu said implementing the central government's guidelines would also be a challenge for local officials who are accustomed to being judged on growth above all else and are fearful of the economic impact of tighter environmental controls.
"Local environmental NGOs do not dare criticise local governments for their unscientific decisions," Zhu said. "Some local governments are reluctant to implement or are even working against environmental laws."
He also listed seven tasks as the major environmental protection work in the coming five years. The most important task is water pollution control, with focus on drinking water security. The second is to step up urban environmental protection, especially the pollutants control in cities.
my photo of the Chinese soldiers in the shield formation and the Tibetan man burning the Chinese flag might be very powerful, but do they really tell the story of what happened that day any better than a bus of civilians being stoned and a man lying on the pavement after having been brutally attacked? No, but these other photos would have taken too much effort to explain to an audience that has become used to the narrative of a bad China and a good Tibet.
--> picture which was referred to[/] -->
And on the subject of the shield formation photo that made it to the front page of the New York Times:
I don't think any news outlet that has used it has also reported that moments after the photo was taken, Tibetans charged and the line broke, with the soldiers dropping their shields and helmets. A few minutes later when I was taking pictures of their gear and was prepared to follow the crowd that had broken through towards Ramoqe Monastery, a Tibetan woman on her way back told me not to go as someone had been stoned to death there.
Claude Balsiger - Lhasa, Tibet - 28.3.2008
Tibet außer Kontrolle
Eyewitness: Tibet out of control
As the tension between the Tibetan monks versus Chinese control escalates, we hear a 25-year-old Swiss tourist's version of events after a week in the capital, Lhasa
Paving stones fly from a footpath across the entire street, landing in a side street, where a group of fifty armed policemen are covering behind their plastic shields. The stones have a terrible weight. You can hear the power and destruction of punctilious dim thuds. Shields break like glass as the crowd overpower their aggressors. The police can't maintain their position anymore and try to escape through the little streets.
Meanwhile, an old Chinese man tries to get through the crowd on his bicycle rickshaw. The crowd notice him all too soon and tear him off his bike, throwing him backwards over the barriers on the ground. As if the punches weren't enough, three men pick up stones and blindly hurl them at the old man in their anger.
Is there anyone who is more peaceful than the Tibetans? With the violence-free Dalai Lama as their example and head? And look at the lurid, murderous people they had become in these hours. The violence and cold-bloodedness required to kill another with bare hands and stones is unimaginable.
Tibet, the 'great game' and the CIA
by Richard M Bennett
Global Research, March 25, 2008
Given the historical context of the unrest in Tibet, there is reason to believe Beijing was caught on the hop with the recent demonstrations for the simple reason that their planning took place outside of Tibet and that the direction of the protesters is similarly in the hands of anti-Chinese organizers safely out of reach in Nepal and northern India.
Similarly, the funding and overall control of the unrest has also been linked to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and by inference to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) because of his close cooperation with US intelligence for over 50 years.
"Democratic Imperialism": Tibet, China, and the National Endowment for Democracy
by Michael Barker
Global Research, August 13, 2007
People familiar with Asian history will be aware that during Tibet’s popular uprising against their Chinese occupiers in 1959, his Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama (then aged 23), escaped from his homeland of Tibet to live in exile in India. Subsequently, the Dalai Lama formed a Tibetan government-in-exile, and to this day the Dalai Lama and his government remain in exile. The Dalai Lama’s tireless efforts to draw international attention to the Tibetan cause received a welcome boost in 1989 when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and since then the Dalai Lama has been able to demand sustained media attention (globally) to his ongoing non-violent struggle for a free Tibet. This part of Tibetan history is fairly uncontroversial, but a part of Tibet’s story that less people will be familiar with is Tibet’s historical links to the US’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Indeed, as Carole McGranahan (2006) notes “[t]he case of Tibet presents a mostly unexplored example of covert Cold War military intervention.”
While in recent years far more information has been made available concerning the CIA’s violent linkages with Tibetan forces, to date only one article has examined the connection between Tibet’s current independence campaigners and an organization that maintains close ties with the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
The Tibet Card
by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
Global Research, March 27, 2008
It seems that the US government excels at propaganda for it continues to win over the very people it has betrayed and caused to be killed; buying their trust, it offers a friendship that is only self-serving. Oblivious to the past havoc wreaked by the CIA in Tibet, the innocent gather around the storm, stare into the eye, ready to be sucked into it, says Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich.