Friday, March 21, 2008

Are Tibet’s villages at risk of Chinese retaliation?

The Chinese government is doing what it can to impose a complete blackout of news out of Tibet. Many Tibetans have been in open rebellion against Chinese rule. March is the anniversary of the 1959 uprising against Chinese annexation of their country. The 1959 rebellion was brutally suppressed.

Despite their efforts, stories, pictures and video clips have leaked out but these are primarily from urban areas. Out of sight is the countryside and small villages that may feel the full brunt of retaliation by the Chinese armed forces out of sight of the world. This from today’s Guardian:
The Dalai Lama said yesterday that he feared villagers in remote parts of Tibet were "facing death" from Chinese troops intent on seeking retribution for last week's protests, but emphasised that he was prepared to meet Chinese leaders to resolve the crisis.

Speaking to journalists in the office of his long yellow bungalow in the north Indian town of Dharamsala, the Buddhist religious leader warned that columns of army trucks were being sent across the Tibetan plateau, with troops deployed in many villages as unrest flared in far-flung corners of the country.

"There are many remote places cut off from the world where the only sign is Chinese troop movement. I am really worried that a lot of casualties may happen. Then [there are] no medical facilities. So I am appealing to the international community, please think about these helpless unarmed innocent people who simply love Tibetan culture and are not willing to accept others' bullying. These are now facing death."

There is no doubt the fallout from last Friday's deadly riots has been bloody. The Dalai Lama's government-in-exile puts the number of dead at "about 100". China says 16 people were killed.

The reincarnation of the "compassionate Buddha" denied allegations by the Communist party in Beijing that he had masterminded the protests from his home in northern India, where he has lived since he was forced to flee during a failed uprising in 1959.

The demonstrations, he said, had been spontaneous and "frustration had burst out" in Tibet. "People know they will suffer more. More Chinese soldiers, more arrest, more torture. In spite of that people are expressing loudly."

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