Archive for the ‘Lhasa’ Category

Chinese Relentlessly Patrol A Subdued but Jittery Lhasa

April 15, 2008

Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, April 15, 2008; Page A01
LHASA, China — Two elderly Tibetan women lay prostrate before the Potala Palace on a recent day, venerating the 1,000-room hilltop monument that was once the seat of an independent Tibetan government and the Dalai Lama‘s winter residence.
About 30 feet away, two helmeted Chinese guards observed the display of traditional Buddhist devotion. Elsewhere in the Tibetan capital, other guards barred entrance to the city’s most celebrated temples. Residents moved about their business, nervous and subdued.
One month after the explosion of violence that catapulted remote Tibet into the international spotlight, protests over Chinese policies here continue to unfold in many parts of the world, undermining China‘s effort to make the 2008 Beijing Olympics a display of progress at home and amity abroad.

But here in Lhasa, the most visible outcome has been relentless street patrols by men in People’s Armed Police uniforms who carry automatic rifles, check Tibetans’ identification cards at random, and guard intersections and gasoline stations.

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China: Tibetans planning suicide attacks

April 1, 2008
By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING – China on Tuesday accused “Tibet independence forces” of planning to use suicide squads to trigger bloody attacks — the lastest in a string of accusations that have taken aim at supporters of the Dalai Lama.

Riot police try to detain Tibetan activists protesting outside ...
Chinese troops resisting Tibetan monks and other suicide attackers….
REUTERS/Adrees Latif (NEPAL)

The prime minister of Tibet’s government-in-exile denied the claims, saying Tibetans are committed to a “nonviolent path.”

“To our knowledge, the next plan of the Tibetan independence forces is to organize suicide squads to launch violent attacks,” Public Security Bureau spokesman Wu Heping said Tuesday.

“They claimed that they fear neither bloodshed nor sacrifice,” Wu told a news conference.

Wu offered no firm evidence to support his claims.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama and his supporters of orchestrating anti-government riots in Lhasa last month as part of a campaign to sabotage the August Beijing Olympics and promote Tibetan independence.

The 72-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner has denied the charge, condemning the violence and urging an independent international investigation into the unrest and its underlying causes.

Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche of Tibet’s exiled government reiterated that position Tuesday.

“There is no question of suicide attacks,” said Rinpoche. “There is absolutely no doubt in our mind that we want to follow the nonviolent path.”

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China arrests suspects in Tibetan riots

March 31, 2008
By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer 

BEIJING – China lashed out at the Dalai Lama on Monday, accusing him of being a hypocrite who has deceived the west about his political agenda as authorities announced they had detained suspects in four deadly arson cases in Tibet.

Jiang Zaiping, the vice chief of the Public Security Bureau in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, said investigators have taken into custody suspects responsible for arson attacks on three shops — including a clothing outlet where five young women were burned to death — and one in nearby Dagze county, the Tibet Daily newspaper reported Monday.

The fires killed a total of 12 people, state media has reported.

Authorities have taken 414 suspects into custody in connection with the anti-government riots, Jiang was quoted as saying. Another 298 people have turned themselves in, he said.

The Tibetan regional government also announced that the families of two of the women killed were given compensation of $28,170, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

It did not say how many suspects were involved in the four arson cases or give any other details.

An official who answered the telephone at the Lhasa Public Security Bureau said no senior officials were available to give details. He refused to give his name. It was unclear how many suspects had been directly involved in the four arson cases.

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Activists: New Tibet protests break out

March 29, 2008
By JOE McDONALD, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING – Fresh protests broke out in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on Saturday as foreign diplomats wrapped up a tightly controlled visit organized by Beijing, a radio broadcaster and Tibetan activists reported.

A protest began Saturday afternoon at Lhasa’s Ramoche monastery and grew to involve “many people,” said Kate Saunders of the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet.

Citing unnamed witnesses in the city, Saunders said the situation calmed down after a few hours. She had no information on injuries or arrests.

People also protested at the Jokhang Temple, a major Buddhist site in Lhasa, the government-in-exile of the Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, said on its Web site. The India-based government gave no other details.

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Monks put face on China’s Tibet problem

March 28, 2008
By CHARLES HUTZLER, Associated Press Writer

LHASA, China – China‘s Tibet problem got a human face this week in images of crying, red-robed monks, giving international concern a new focal point just as Beijing gears up for the arrival of the Olympic torch.

A Chinese man walks past a police notice board which reads 'Who ...
A Chinese man walks past a police notice board which reads ‘Who took part in March 14 riots, surrender yourself and ask people provide information about the rioters’ on display in Lhasa, capital of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, Friday, March 28, 2008.
(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Tibetan Buddhist monks speaks to foreign journalists at Jokhang ...
Tibetan Buddhist monks speaks to foreign journalists at Jokhang temple in Lhasa. China on Friday let the first foreign diplomats visit Tibet following deadly riots there, amid debate in Europe over whether the Chinese crackdown should trigger a boycott of the Olympics opening.(AFP/CNA)

The outburst by 30 monks at Lhasa‘s holiest shrine dealt a setback to the government’s plans to use a three-day trip for foreign reporters to show that protests and deadly anti-Chinese rioting in the Tibetan capital two weeks ago had subsided.

“We are like prisoners here. There are soldiers all over the place,” the monks shouted as officials tugged at the foreign reporters to leave the Jokhang Temple. The monks called for the return of the Dalai Lama from exile and an end to religious restrictions: “We want freedom.”

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China says Tibet monks won’t be punished

March 28, 2008

By John Ruwitch

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will not punish a group of Tibetan monks for disrupting a government-organized foreign media tour of Lhasa and voicing support for the Dalai Lama, a senior official said in a bid to allay fears of repercussions.

Tibetan student activists try to resist police detainment while ...
Tibetan student activists try to resist police detainment while protesting outside the United Nations building in Kathmandu March 28, 2008. About a dozen pro-Tibet protesters jumped the wall of a building housing the office of the United Nations in Nepal on Friday, seeking United Nations intervention following the unrest in the Himalayan region.
REUTERS/Adrees Latif (NEPAL)

Baema Chilain, vice-chairman of the Chinese-controlled Tibet Autonomous Region, also said “separatists” were planning to disrupt the Olympic torch relay in Tibet.

However, he pledged to ensure the flame’s security there and on its planned ascent of Mount Everest, the state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday.

On Thursday, about 30 monks at the Jokhang Temple, one of the holiest in Tibet, shoved their way into a briefing and spent about 15 minutes telling reporters the government was lying about recent unrest. They also rejected Chinese claims the Tibetan spiritual leader was directing the rash of protests.

A Tibetan woman dressed in traditional Qiang minority attire ...
Tibetan woman dressed in traditional Qiang minority attire stands in her home in Baima township located around 200 kilometres (124 miles) north of the city of Mianyang, Sichuan province, March 28, 2008. Mountainous areas of Sichuan are home to many ethnic Tibetans who have long lived next to Han Chinese and other ethnic groups, but recent weeks have seen riots and protests against the Chinese presence in Sichuan and neighbouring provinces.
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China blasts Dalai Lama, Pelosi on Tibet

March 24, 2008
By CARA ANNA, Associated Press Writer

CHENGDU, China – China accused the Dalai Lama on Sunday of stoking Tibetan unrest to sabotage the Beijing Olympics and also berated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying she is ignoring the truth about Tibet.

Tibetans rally to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet, outside ...
Tibetans rally to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet, outside the U.N. office in Katmandu, Nepal, Monday March 24, 2008.(AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)

This month’s violence in Tibet and neighboring provinces has turned into a public relations disaster for China ahead of the August Olympics, which it had been hoping to use to bolster its international image.

The Chinese government said through official media that formerly restive areas were under control and accused the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, of trying to harm China’s image ahead of the summer games.

“The Dalai clique is scheming to take the Beijing Olympics hostage to force the Chinese government to make concessions to Tibet independence,” said the People’s Daily, the main mouthpiece of the Communist Party.

The Tibetan spiritual leader called the accusations against him “baseless,” asserting that he supported China’s hosting of the summer games.

“I always support (that) the Olympics should … take place in Beijing … so that more than 1 billion human beings, that means Chinese, they feel proud of it,” he said Sunday in New Delhi, India.

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China offers its own version of protests

March 23, 2008
By CARA ANNA, Associated Press Writer Sat Mar 22, 7:09 PM ET

CHENGDU, China – With restive Tibetan areas swarming with troops and closed to scrutiny from the outside world, China’s government turned up efforts Saturday to put its own version of the unrest before the international public.

Paramilitary police march in a street in Zhongdian, in a Tibetan ...
Paramilitary police march in a street in Zhongdian, in a Tibetan area known as Shangri-La, in China’s southwest Yunnan province Saturday March 22, 2008. Thousands of troops have moved into Tibetan areas of western China following last week’s anti-government riots in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa.(AP Photo/Greg Baker)

Information barely trickled out of the Tibetan capital Lhasa and other far-flung Tibetan communities, where foreign media were banned and thousands of troops dispatched to quell the most widespread demonstrations against Chinese rule in nearly five decades.

The Chinese government was attempting to fill the vacuum with its own message. It disseminated footage of Tibetan protesters attacking Chinese and accusations of biased reporting by Western media via TV, the Internet, e-mail and YouTube, which is blocked in China. The communist government’s leading newspaper called to “resolutely crush” the Tibetan demonstrations.

The media barrage underscored that the government campaign is moving into a new phase of damage control ahead of the much-anticipated Beijing Olympics in August.

While China’s rigorous policing of the Internet is far from foolproof, its official Internet is pervasive and there is no easy access to an alternative in the country. The difficulty of confirming what is going on inside Tibet may also be hindering a stronger world reaction.

“They’ve successfully managed the messages available to the average Chinese citizen, and this has fueled broad public support for a heavy-handed approach to controlling unrest,” said David Bandurski, a Hong Kong University expert on Chinese media. “There will be no nuances to Tibet coverage.”

CNN’s bureau in Beijing has been deluged in recent days by a barrage of harassing phone calls and faxes that accuse the organization of unfair coverage. An e-mail to United Nations-based reporters purportedly from China’s U.N. mission sent an Internet link to a 15-minute state television program showing Tibetans attacking Chinese in Lhasa.

A slideshow posted on YouTube accused CNN, Germany‘s Der Spiegel and other media of cropping pictures to show Chinese military while screening out Tibetan rioters or putting pictures of Indian and Nepalese police wrestling Tibetan protesters with captions about China’s crackdown.

Though of uncertain origin, the piece at least had official blessing, with excerpts appearing on the official English-language China Daily and on state TV.

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China issues Most Wanted list of rioters

March 21, 2008
By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer 

BEIJING – China issued a “Most Wanted” list of 21 rioters Friday — shown in grainy photos waving knives and fighting during last week’s violence over Chinese rule in Tibet. Thousands of troops continued to push into western China to contain unrest.

A woman walks past as paramilitary police march in a street ...
A woman walks past as paramilitary police march in a street in Zhongdian, in an area known as Shangri-La, in China’s southwest Yunnan province Friday March 21, 2008. Thousands of troops converged on foot, in trucks and helicopters in Tibetan areas of western China on Friday as the government stepped up its manhunt for protesters in last weeks anti-government riots in Tibet’s capital.
(AP Photo/Greg Baker)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave support to the Tibetan cause on a visit to the Dalai Lama, calling China’s crackdown “a challenge to the conscience of the world.”

Her criticism added to a chorus of international concern over Beijing‘s harsh response to the anti-government protests, as China sought to blame supporters of the Tibetan spiritual leader for unrest that is posing the biggest challenge in two decades to Beijing’s control of Tibet.

“If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China’s oppression in China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world,” Pelosi told a cheering crowd in Dharmsala, India, seat of the Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile.

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Chinese troops converge in Tibetan areas

March 21, 2008
By GREG BAKER, Associated Press Writer

ZHONGDIAN, China – The government stepped up its manhunt Friday for protesters in last week’s riots in the Tibetan capital, as thousands of troops converged on foot, in trucks and helicopters in Tibetan areas of western China.
Chinese paramilitary police unload equipment on a road on the outskirts of Hutiaoxia, southeast of Zhongdian, in China's Yunnan province Thursday, March 20, 2008. Hundreds of paramilitary troops were setting up camp in the town, which is on the road to Zhongdian, a city in a Tibetan area of Yunnan known as Shangri-La. (AP Photo/Greg Baker)

The violence in Lhasa — a stunning show of defiance against 57 years of Chinese rule — has sparked sympathy demonstrations in neighboring provinces, prompting Beijing to blanket a huge area with troops and warn tourists and foreign journalists to stay away.

China‘s communist leadership, embarrassed by the chaos and international criticism of its response, has blamed the unrest on the Dalai Lama and his supporters and vigorously defended its reputation as a suitable host for the Beijing Olympics.

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with the Dalai Lama in India and called on the world to denounce China’s crackdown in Tibet.

Photos of 21 men wanted in connection with the Lhasa riots were posted on major Chinese Internet sites.

A resident in Qinghai province said about 300 troops were in the town of Zeku after monks protested Thursday outside the county government office. The woman, who did not want to give her name for fear authorities would harass her, said she did not dare leave her home and could not provide details of the demonstration.

Telephones at Zeku’s government and public security bureau rang unanswered.

In the largely Tibetan town of Zhongdian, in the far north of Yunnan province, some 30 armed police with batons marched in the main square as residents went about their daily life. Overnight, another two dozen trucks of riot police had arrived, adding to a presence of about 400 troops.

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