Tibet Crisis Continues + ACTION ITEMS

In case you haven’t heard, there’ve been protests in Tibet the last few days marking the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising. These are some of the biggest demonstrations the country’s seen since the 1980s. The Chinese government has clamped down hard and violence has broken out.

Violent protests erupted Friday in a busy market area of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as Buddhist monks and other ethnic Tibetans clashed with Chinese security forces. Witnesses say the protesters burned shops, cars, military vehicles and at least one tourist bus.

The chaotic scene marked the most violent demonstrations since protests by Buddhist monks began in Lhasa on Monday, which was the anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. The ongoing protests have been the largest in Tibet since the late 1980s, when Chinese security forces repeatedly used lethal force to restore order in the region.

The developments prompted the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, to issue a statement, saying that he was concerned about the situation and appealing to the Chinese leadership to “stop using force and address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people.”

This particular media report skipped the last part of his statement: “I also urge my fellow Tibetans not to resort to violence.”

It’s a shame to see the patience of such a peaceful country tested so ruthlessly. Even loyalty to a principle as pure as nonviolence can be broken under some circumstances. It seems that 50 years of slow motion genocide qualifies.

Times of London reports today:

In the Barkhor market that winds around the Jokhang temple, Tibet’s holiest site, they reported the bodies of two Tibetan men and two Tibetan women. The body of a Tibetan man was seen in the Lugu district and a Tibetan woman lay dead on Qingnian Road, near the city centre. They said all appeared to have been shot but no monks were seen among the dead.

Many ethnic Han Chinese, a minority in Tibet, were wounded in attacks by Tibetans hurling rocks and bricks as they vented their anger against Beijing rule. Residents said a number of Han had been killed but no figures were available as the city was engulfed in chaos.

One Han Chinese was stabbed by a Tibetan directly in front of the institute of traditional Tibetan medicine, a witness said. The Lhasa Municipal People’s Hospital said nine of the wounded were receiving treatment for injuries ranging from stab wounds to head injuries.

One nurse said: “We have given people stitches and others have been bandaged. Most of the injured were Han Chinese.” Long after night fell, fires blazed across the city as mobs of angry young Tibetans set light to shops and cars owned by Han Chinese. “There is smoke everywhere still, even this late at night,” said one resident.

ACTION ITEM 1: Petition to China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Guangya Wang. Preview:

Hundreds of Tibetans inside Tibet have carried out protest demonstrations over the past two days, marking the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising. Protests of this scale are rare inside Tibet because of the absolute lack of political space. With the Olympic spotlight on China, Tibetans inside Tibet see this as a critical opportunity to challenge China’s rule in Tibet and to demand freedom.

It is critical that the protesters receive the full support of the global community. Please show the Chinese government that the whole world is watching and demand the immediate release of all Tibetans who have been detained in these peaceful protests.

ACTION ITEM 2: Tell Congress to support Tibet. The U.S./Bush response so far has been weak. This morning, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said he’s “not aware” of any high-level contact between the U.S. and Chinese governments over this yet, although the U.S. ambassador has “urged restraint” in dealing with protesters. In any event, we can and should do better. What with the genocide Olympics going on, China is supposed to be on its best behavior.

Click here for further actions. If you have others, please give me links and I’ll update.

Here’s hoping no more blood is shed and a fair solution can be found.


  1. http://www.dailykos.com/story/

    and blue


  2. please visit the International Campaign for Tibet.

    Today I received this email from them.  Its most important suggestions to help (if you go to the email you get the links):

    1. Contact you member of Congress and ask that they call on China to release all detainees, and allow international media access to Lhasa.

    2. If you know any tourists in Lhasa, or others who may have direct knowledge of what is happening in Tibet, please contact us immediately at [email protected].

    3. Events of support are happening around the U.S. and Canada. To join a rally at a Chinese consulate or embassy in your area, please click here to review the list of local Tibet Support Groups holding demonstrations.

    And please share this email with friends that you know would like to help. We need as many people with us now as possible.

    Thanks for reading and supporting this struggle.

    The easiest, first step seems to me to circulate the ICT email widely.

  3. if this is true:

    Demonstrations erupted for the second consecutive day in the city of Xiahe in Gansu Province, where an estimated 4,000 Tibetans gathered near the Labrang Monastery. Local monks had held a smaller protest on Friday, but the confrontation escalated Saturday afternoon, according to witnesses and Tibetans in India who spoke with protesters by telephone.

    Residents in Xiahe, reached by telephone, heard loud noises similar to gunshots or explosions. A waitress described the scene as “chaos” and said many injured people had been sent to a local hospital. Large numbers of military police and security officers fired tear gas while Tibetans hurled rocks, according to the Tibetans in India.


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