Tibet smolders after riots Posted by: McQ
on Saturday, March 15, 2008
Various reports have the death toll at as few as 10 and as many as 100.
The protests, sparked by the anniversary of the failed 1959 uprising that sent Tibet's Dalai Lama into exile, are the latest embarrassment to hit 2008 Olympic-host China, which has attracted international criticism over its human rights record.
I'd guess this is only the beginning of attempts to embarrass China prior too and during those games. It is a perfect but uncommon opportunity that few who wish to protest China are going to let pass.
And, of course, that's the power of protesting now. These groups know the eyes of the world will be turned on these games and they hope to demonstrate what they claim - China is a repressive regime that violently oppresses its citizens and those whose countries it has occupied.
Of course China sees the games as its long awaited chance to present a different face to the world, and given its newfound economic prosperity and the Olympics, feels now is that the time is right for that.
Those differences obviously promise some extremely visible confrontations if the protesters have their way, and, one would think, they believe that China will be forced to either allow the protests or resort to form and violently repress them. My guess is they're almost counting on them to resort to form and give lie to the claim by the Chinese government that things, in terms of human rights, are better there now.
Stay tuned for more of what is now happening in Tibet as the games approach. Also note that CNN is reporting based on what Chinese bloggers and some human rights organizations are able to get out of Tibet since CNN has not yet received permission to enter the country.
The protests had been largely peaceful until Friday, when monks from Ramoche Temple on the north side of Lhasa attempted to march to the capital, rights groups said.
Police used gunfire and tear gas to quell the Lhasa protest, according to witnesses, human rights groups and Xinhua.
Demonstrators set fire to vehicles and shops. One source said late Friday that up to a third of the city may be on fire and that power lines had been cut.
A main market in Lhasa, Tromsikhang Market, was set on fire, said Kate Saunders, a spokeswoman for the International Campaign for Tibet. The market has many Chinese traders, and she said Tibetans have been concerned about the influx of Chinese into the area.
Apparently Tibetans in exile also tried to stage protests in India as well. However I only report this because I was fascinated by the name of the police spokesperson who is quoted:
In India, Tibetans planned a protest Saturday at the Jama Masjid, old Delhi's principle mosque. In Nepal, about 100 Tibetan exiles said they were starting a hunger strike in protest.
At least 12 Tibetan refugees — including some monks — were arrested Saturday for obstructing traffic in front of the United Nations office in Kathmandu, Nepali police said.
"They were arrested because they were obstructing the road in front of the U.N. office," police spokesman Sushil Bar Singh Thapa told CNN. "They will be released by evening."
OK, so I have a weird sense of humor and yes the "l" ruins it but still, at first glance ...
Anyway, watch for more of the same in the coming months from various groups as we near the date of the games in Beijing. As for the "Free Tibet" crowd here, I'm sure this will cause them to go out and buy new T-shirts and bumper stickers.