Archive for the ‘monks’ Category

Prison Terms Cripple Myanmar Democracy Movement

November 16, 2008

In a devastating week for Myanmar’s democracy movement, dozens of its members have been sentenced to length prison terms, as the military-ruled government locks away writers and Buddhist monks — as well as musicians, a poet and at least one journalist.

By MICK ELMORE, Associated Press Writer

By the weekend, more than 80 had received sentences of up to 65 years — a move that seemed designed to keep them jailed long past the upcoming elections, activists and analysts said Sunday.

“They are clearing the decks of anyone who is likely to challenge their authority ahead of the election” in 2010, Larry Jagan, a Bangkok-based newspaper columnist and Myanmar analyst, said of the generals who rule the country.

Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Twenty-three ... 
Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Twenty-three pro-democracy activists arrested during anti-junta demonstrations in Myanmar last year were each sentenced to 65 years in jail.(AFP/MYANMAR NEWS AGENCY/AFP)

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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’s True Face

March 19, 2008

 The Host of the Olympics or the Thug of Tibet?

By Wei Jingsheng
The Washington Post
Wednesday, March 19, 2008; Page A15 
As what the Dalai Lama has called “cultural genocide” goes on in Tibet, it is wholly unacceptable that Jacques Rogge, the head of the International Olympic Committee, refuses to take a stand against the Beijing government’s current crackdown on Tibetan protesters. In fact, this is completely at odds with the “spirit of the Olympics.”

Chinese riot police march through the city of Kangding, located ...
Chinese riot police march through the city of Kangding, located around 400 kilometres (250 miles) west of Chengdu in Sichuan Province March 17, 2008. Chinese officials declared a “people’s war” of security and propaganda against support for the Dalai Lama in Tibet after the worst unrest in the region for two decades racked the regional capital Lhasa over the past few days, killing at least 10 people. The convulsion of Tibetan anger at the Chinese presence in the region came after days of peaceful protests by monks and was a sharp blow to Beijing’s preparations for the Olympic Games in August, when China wants to showcase prosperity and unity.
Far more than Steven Spielberg, who quit his advisory role for the Summer Games because of China‘s unwillingness to pressure the Sudanese government on genocide in Darfur, the IOC has a special obligation to act. Since promised improvements in China’s human rights were a quid pro quo for awarding the Games to Beijing, how can it proceed as if nothing happened when blood is flowing in the streets of Lhasa?
 Steven Spielberg 
Above: Steven Spielberg, seen in 2006, cut his ties with the Beijing Olympics. The director, while working for China, came to believe that China is not doing enough to help end the conflict in Darfur. (Associated Press photo).And if the Dalai Lama resigns from all his public positions in response to the violence, as he said yesterday that he might, the prospect of resolving the Tibet issue peacefully will be even more hopeless. We will feel very sorry if that comes about — for Tibet and for China.

If the IOC doesn’t move to put pressure on Beijing consistent with its obligations, it risks this Olympics being remembered like the 1936 Games in Berlin. Already, the spirit of the Olympics in Beijing has become associated with the word “genocide,” thanks to Spielberg and the Dalai Lama. Indeed, if the IOC and the rest of the world do not pressure Beijing to stop the crackdown and improve human rights now, a boycott of the Games will widely be seen as justified.

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Peace and Freedom wishes to thank  Wei Jingsheng  who we consider a special friend.

The writer, a recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, lives in exile in Washington. He was first arrested in China in 1979 for his activities with the “Democracy Wall” movement and was released in 1993 nine days before the International Olympic Committee voted on Beijing’s bid for the 2000 Games. He was arrested in March 1994 for “plotting against the state” and released in 1997.

China Condemns Pro-Tibet Protests World-Wide

March 17, 2008
By AUDRA ANG, Associated Press Writers

BEIJING – China accused Tibetan supporters of the Dalai Lama of attacking its embassies around the world, vowing Monday to protect its territory as it clamped down on anti-government protests in Tibet.

Tibetan monks shout slogans during a protest in New Delhi March ...
Tibetan monks shout slogans during a protest in New Delhi March 17, 2008. China said on Monday it had shown great restraint in the face of violent protests by Tibetans, which it said were orchestrated by followers of the Dalai Lama seeking to wreck the Beijing Olympics in August.REUTERS/Adnan Abidi (INDIA)

The Foreign Ministry comments were the first comments by the central government since Tibetan protests against Chinese rule began on March 10. They came just hours before a midnight deadline set by Chinese authorities for protesters in the Tibetan capital Lhasa to surrender or face harsh consequences.

“The Chinese government will unwaveringly protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a news conference.

The protests that began in Tibet have spilled over to neighboring provinces and even to the capital Beijing where students staged a sit-down demonstration on Monday. There have been sympathy protests around the world as well, many of them outside of Chinese diplomatic missions.

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Tibetan monks hold anti-China protest in Washington

March 16, 2008
by Michael Mathes 

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Tibetans including robed monks protested at Beijing‘s embassy in Washington Saturday to decry China‘s deadly crackdown on demonstrators in their homeland.

Protesters, many from Tibet, shout chants during a rally sponsored ...
Protesters, many from Tibet, shout chants during a rally sponsored by Amnesty International in 2007 outside the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC. Tibetans including robed monks protested at Beijing’s embassy in Washington Saturday to decry China’s deadly crackdown on demonstrators in their homeland.
(AFP/File/Tim Sloan)

About 150 demonstrators, many draped in Tibetan flags or wearing prayer shawls, gathered in a park across the street from the embassy and chanted “Shame, shame, China shame” and “Stop the killings in Tibet.”

Tibet’s exiled government said Saturday that about 30 people had been killed during unrest in Lhasa. State-run Xinhua news agency earlier said 10 people died in the unrest, citing government officials from Tibet who blamed “mobs” for the violence.

Many protestors carried banners demanding China’s army leave Tibet or calling for scrapping of the Beijing Olympics, as monks chanted prayers for those killed in the protests in Tibet marking the anniversary of a 1959 uprising that forced the Dalai Lama into exile.

The embassy in a tony northwest Washington neighborhood was closed for the weekend, and a minimal city police force stood watch but was not seen intervening.

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China’s selection to host the Olympics
this summer has riled human rights
activists world-wide.

In this image made from video and provided by APTN, authorities ...
In  this image made from video and provided by APTN, authorities walk down an avenue, Friday, March 14, 2008, in Lhasa, Tibet. Police fired tear gas to disperse Buddhist monks and others staging a second day of protests Saturday in western China in sympathy with anti-Chinese demonstrations in Lhasa, local residents said.(AP Photo/APTN)

Eyewitness Accounts: Anti-China Rioting in Tibet Clashes

March 14, 2008

 There have been violent clashes between protesters and security forces in Tibet’s main city of Lhasa as rallies against Chinese rule, said to be the largest in 20 years, continue.

Witnesses have been describing the protests and the Chinese security forces’ response.  

The following accounts are from the BBC:

“Well it’s early evening here, and the old Tibetan quarter of Lhasa still is very much in the control of the ethnic Tibetans who have been rioting for the last several hours since midday.

Car burning after clashes in Lhasa, 14 March 2008

The unrest began earlier this week

Some of them are still attacking Chinese properties, shops, restaurants, owned by ethnic Chinese. Some of them are looting those shops, taking out the contents and throwing them on huge fires which they’ve lit in the street.

Now I think the big question on everybody’s mind is what’s next? The troops for the time being are still standing there and we don’t know what’s holding them back.

It could be a political question, indecision in Beijing over how to handle this, because if they do move in there could be bloodshed and that could have implications for the holding of the Olympics.”

–James Miles, The Economists

“The street is pretty much in flames. I saw a huge amount of military in the town.

It went crazy all of a sudden. All the Chinese shops were put on fire by Tibetans.

Tanks in the street. Tear gas. I saw people being carried away on stretchers and ordinary Tibetans going crazy.”

–Anonymous eye witness


“We saw policemen, uniformed policemen, which were unusual – we hadn’t seen them in any of the temples in the days before but there were two of them at least there visible crackling into their radios.

As the monks ran down suddenly people, policemen just appeared almost as if out of nowhere and started beating, pulling and kicking them as they streamed down towards the main entrance of the temple.”

–Anonymous eye witness


“I just returned from Lhasa yesterday. I was in Lhasa for about 6 days, and I had just arrived at the famed Sera Monastery to see the debating monks, when they suddenly stormed out of their ‘debating courtyard’ and rushed for the entrance of the temple.

The Buddha Halls were immediately shut in our faces by security officials. Members of our group saw monks being beaten and kicked by the security forces that swarmed all over the temple precincts.

The monks were forced to sit in rows, surrounded by a double-phalanx of riot cops, brandishing clubs.

Our group was ushered out of the temple, and as we headed back in the direction of central Lhasa, we passed incoming troop-carriers ferrying camouflaged army regulars, with other army units marching in on foot from close locations.

All roads leading in were closed off. ”

–John; Tourist


“I was in Tibet from the 6th to the 12th of March, and was also witness to the monks fleeing from Sera Monastery and being beaten by police.

Our group was denied access to the monastery, and we were told that all the tourist access has been cut off.

We were told not to take any photos by our Chinese guide, and there were police staring at us as we waited in our bus watching the monks trying to get out of the monastery.”

–Leslie from Canada 


Dalai Lama urges China to stop using force as several killed in Tibet

March 14, 2008

DHARAMSHALA, India (AFP) – The Dalai Lama said Friday he was “deeply concerned” over the situation in Tibet and appealed to China to “stop using force” several people were killed in the biggest protests against Chinese rule in two decades.

Tibetan Buddhist monks walk past police cars near Labrang Monastery, ...
Tibetan Buddhist monks walk past police cars near Labrang Monastery, Gansu Province. Gunfire was heard in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, according to the US embassy who citied several reports from American citizens.(AFP/Mark Ralston)

“I am deeply concerned over the situation that has been developing in Tibet following peaceful protests in many parts of Tibet, including Lhasa, in recent days,” Tibet’s exiled Buddhist spiritual leader said in a statement from India.

“These protests are a manifestation of the deep-rooted resentment of the Tibetan people under the present governance,” said the Nobel peace laureate.

“I therefore appeal to the Chinese leadership to stop using force and address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people through dialogue with the Tibetan people.”

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Nepali police charge at demonstrating Tibetan monks and protesters ...
Nepali police charge at demonstrating Tibetan monks and protesters with batons at Baudha in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu March 14, 2008. The Tibetan refugees residing in Nepal were showing their solidarity with the demonstrating Tibetans in China. Shops were set on fire in violence in Tibet’s capital of Lhasa on Friday, China’s Xinhua news agency reported after days of rare street protests in the contested region.
REUTERS/Gopal Chitrakar (NEPAL)

Buddhist monks clash with police during protest in Cambodia

December 18, 2007

Buddhist monks clashed with Cambodian police officers Monday in Phnom Penh. (Tang Chhin Sothy/Agence France-Presse)
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP): Dozens of Buddhist monks kicked, punched and hurled bottles at baton-wielding police in Cambodia’s capital Monday at a demonstration to demand religious freedom for monks in neighboring Vietnam.

The clashes erupted as about 40 monks approached the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh to submit a petition against authorities’ alleged mistreatment of Buddhist monks in the communist country.

The protesters accused Vietnamese authorities of arresting and defrocking several ethnic Cambodian monks over the past few months.

Authorities let only a few state-sponsored religious organizations operate in Vietnam, a situation that has led to altercations there with some groups including Buddhists.

A large part of southern Vietnam, known in Cambodia as Kampuchea Krom, used to be part of Cambodia’s Khmer empire centuries ago. Many ethnic Cambodians still live there.

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Cambodian monks fight police at Vietnam embassy

December 17, 2007

PHNOM PENH (AFP) – About 40 Cambodian Buddhist monks fought with police, knocking one unconscious before being beaten back with batons, as they tried to hand a petition to Vietnam‘s embassy, officials said Monday.

The Buddhists had marched to the embassy to hand over a letter calling on Vietnam to free Cambodian monk Tim Sakhorn, who was arrested by the communist country nearly five months ago.

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Burma: After the Uprising; Junta Crackdown

October 24, 2007

 By Jill Drew
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, October 24, 2007; Page A01

RANGOON, Burma, Oct. 23 — She does not know if the police have her picture. But that uncertainty has not eased her fear.

Twice soldiers have entered this woman’s Rangoon neighborhood. They came at night, with photos taken during pro-democracy demonstrations. “They look at everyone and then they take you,” she said in a low voice, speaking on condition she not be identified. “I don’t sleep.”

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