Updated – Tibet: New Protests, New Arrests In Tongren, and Growing Solidarity

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

The Associated Press has more details about the protests in Tongren yesterday, including information on arrests and the use of force by Chinese police and paramilitary:

Monks on Thursday called for the release of fellow Buddhist clergy. They were joined by area residents at a local market, according to the center, which is based in the seat of the Tibetan governmment-in-exile in the Indian town of Dharmsala.

The center said police who were rushed to the scene began beating participants, despite efforts at mediation by a senior monk.

Receptionists reached by phone at Tongren hotels confirmed the protest, saying a crowd had gathered near the local county government offices. “Today there’s no more protests. Those people were all seized,” said one receptionist.


The women refused to give their names for fear of retaliation by authorities, who have reportedly offered rewards for information on people leaking news of protests and crackdowns to the outside.


A worker at a Tibetan restaurant in downtown Tongren near the monastery said police attacked protesters indiscriminately. “They were randomly beating people,” said the woman, who gave her name as Duoma.

link: http://ap.google.com/article/A…

The AP reports that the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy has put the number of people arrested at over 100.

Meanwhile, Tibetans have received support from Japanese Buddhists at the Zenkoji temple in Nagano, which was supposed to have been the start of the Olympic Torch relay in Japan, but which has now been removed from the relay route:

A city official, Koichi Yajima, said the monks were concerned about the safety of the temple and its worshippers should the relay spark the kind of angry demonstrations witnessed so far in Europe and the United States.

An official at the temple’s secretariat said the monks and worshippers were also concerned about the treatment of fellow Buddhists in Tibet.

“There has been a lot of talk about the Tibet issue and the public opinion is heightening,” she said. “We are Buddhists just like them. We hear words of concern from many people every day.”

link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl…

Given this recent statement by Japanese Buddhist leaders, this recent action can hardly be surprising:

Solidarity isn’t only being expressed by fellow Buddhists, but also by fellow human rights campaigners. Actress Mia Farrow of Dream for Darfur spoke out yesterday on the IOC’s handling of the Olympic games with respect to China and human rights. Dream for Darfur’s report card gave the IOC an “F”, as Farrow explained in an interview with the Chicago Tribune:

They flunk. They chose Beijing to be their host. How can China host the Olympic Games at home while underwriting genocide in Sudan?

link: http://chicagosports.chicagotr…

Asked whether the focus on Tibet vis a vis the Olympic games is helping or hurting the cause of ending the genocide in Darfur, Farrow had this to say:

I think we all agonize for the Tibetans in their long struggle for what is rightly theirs. The fact they jumped into this window of opportunity we envisioned when my son and I wrote the piece, “Genocide Olympics,” is welcome. That no one from Darfur could attend or show up in numbers [to protest] is precisely the point. Darfur’s people could not be there. They are stranded in camps, living amid deplorable conditions.

The crack-down in Tibet highlights a systemic injustice in the Chinese government, one that extends to Darfur, to the jailing of activists like Hu Jia, and to the intimidation of Chinese citizens who may wish to speak to journalists regarding events they have witnessed. It is an injustice covered by secrecy and drowned out by a propaganda machine that rachets up tried-and-true ethnic conflict to divert the attention of its citizens.

But even the Chinese government may feel it has gone to far on the propaganda front, as AFP reports:

BEIJING (AFP) – China has urged its citizens to rein in their “patriotic fervour” in a sign control-conscious Beijing may be growing uncomfortable with a nationalist outburst over Tibet as the Olympics approach.

A dispatch issued late Thursday by state-controlled Xinhua news agency called Western media coverage of recent unrest in Tibet “despicable” and backed a subsequent wave of Chinese indignation on the Internet.

But it also said nationalist energies should remain “rational” and focused on building the nation.

“Patriotic fervour should be channelled into a rational track and must be transformed into real action toward doing our work well,” said the report, published only in Chinese, suggesting it was meant for domestic consumption.

The statement appeared to fit a pattern in which the government — which swiftly quashes any expressions of public opinion it does not like — gives free rein to attacks on foreign targets when it serves Beijing’s political interests, only to reel them in when they threaten to spiral out of control.


It remains to be seen whether, after stoking the flames of ethnic pride and nationalism, the Chinese government can reign in netizens whose vitriol fills the inboxes of independent media organizations and the search engines on YouTube.

Please keep all sides of this conflict in your thoughts, prayers and meditations.

UPDATE  The New York Times is reporting that Tibetan journalist and writer Jamyang Kyi has been detained:

The reporter, Jamyang Kyi, 42, an announcer at the state-run television station in Qinghai, a western province bordering Tibet, was escorted from her office on April 1 by plainclothes police officers in the city of Xining, according to colleagues and friends. The authorities also confiscated her computer and a list of contacts, they said.

Her husband, Lamao Jia, who is also a journalist and a writer, said he had received no word from his wife for more than a week and did not know where she was being held. “She is in serious trouble,” he said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “I’m very worried for her safety. I’m very sorry. I can’t say more.”

There has been no official confirmation of the detention.

Although she has worked in the Tibetan-language division of Qinghai Television for two decades, Jamyang Kyi is better known for her singing and song-writing, especially among overseas Tibetans. She has traveled and lectured abroad, appearing with other Tibetan performers, some of them prominent exiles.

She is also a respected intellectual and blogger who has written about women’s rights and the trafficking of girls. Chukora Tsering, a researcher at the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Dharamsala, India, said he knew of nothing in her music or writings that might have provoked the authorities. “She is completely apolitical, but she is a proud Tibetan,” he said. “Still, given her background, we are not entirely surprised she has been detained.”

link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04…

I’ll provide updates as soon as more information on Jamyang Kyi is available.


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  1. to pressure the International Olympic Committee to cancel the Tibet leg of the relay:

    China is preparing to take its tainted torch up Mount Everest and through Tibet in May and June. Allowing the Olympic torch to go to Tibet at a time when Tibetans are living under martial law and being shot in the streets for peacefully protesting will only provoke tensions and lead to more bloodshed.

    As an official sponsor of the torch relay and one of the most powerful corporations in the world, Coca-Cola can pressure the International Olympic Committee to remove Tibet from the torch relay route. Please send the letter below to Coca-Cola President, Neville Isdell, urging him to save Tibetan lives by using his influence to cancel the Tibet leg of the torch relay.


    Sample letter:

    I am deeply concerned about Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the Chinese government’s Olympic torch relay, which includes running the torch through occupied Tibet.

    Given the current conditions in Tibet where Chinese forces are shooting at unarmed protesters, raiding monasteries and nunneries and imprisoning thousands of innocent Tibetans for doing nothing more than speaking out for freedom, it is unconscionable for your corporation to sponsor China’s torch relay.

    The Chinese government has already stated it will increase ‘security measures’ for this leg of the torch run, which will undoubtedly result in further arrests, beatings, torture and killings of innocent Tibetans. On April 9th, the Governor of Tibet threatened that “if anyone dares disrupt the Olympic torch relay they will be treated harshly and with no leniency.” As we have seen in the past month, Tibetans are committed to speaking out for their freedom at this critical time. Therefore, taking the Olympic torch to Tibet is an act of serious provocation that will lead to certain bloodshed and further repression.

    As a signatory to the U.N. Global Compact, Coca-Cola has promised to “support and respect the protection of international human rights” and ensure that Coca-Cola is “not complicit in human rights abuses.” If you do not take action on this issue, Coca-Cola will have blood on its hands for any Tibetan lives that are lost due to the Chinese government’s increased military crackdown.

    It is common sense for a corporation to refuse to participate in a nationalist exercise in an occupied nation with a restive population living under martial law. Such an exercise will only inflame a volatile situation, and reflect negatively on Coca-Cola’s brand name.

    We expect you recognize this and will do the right thing, not just for the sake of the people of Tibet but for your own reputation. Therefore, we are calling on you in the strongest possible terms to urge the International Olympic Committee to cancel the Tibet leg of the torch relay.

    The petition can be signed here.

    • kj on April 18, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    GrannyHelen for docuDharma’s first Pulitizer.  

  2. As you probably already know, they are also covering the story at the Committee to Protect Bloggers.

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