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UK protesters mark anniversary of Tibetan uprising

March 8, 2009

From CNN

Protesters draped themselves in the colorful flag of Tibet and shouted slogans at the Chinese embassy in London on Saturday at the start of a demonstration to mark the 50th anniversary since the Tibetan uprising against China.

“Tibetans in Tibet — we are with you!” they shouted. “China, China, China — out, out, out!”

The small but fervent group marched from the embassy through west London to Trafalgar Square, where they were due to hear a speech by Thomas Shao Jiang, a Chinese dissident who was one of the student organizers of the Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing in 1989.

“I think it’s important that Tibet is kept in the world’s eye,” protester Chris Last told CNN amid placards declaring “50 years too long” and “We are Tibetans, not Chinese.”

While Tibet is technically autonomous from the central Chinese government, its current government is directed from Beijing. The Dalai Lama, traditionally the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan Buddhists, lives in exile in India.

Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Beijing’s rule that sent the Dalai Lama into exile.

Protest organizers said the march was meant to draw public attention to what they say is a deepening crisis a year after China cracked down on protests across Tibet.

“(British Prime Minister) Gordon Brown and other world leaders must respond urgently and publicly to the Tibet crisis by taking immediate action,” said Stephanie Brigden, director of Free Tibet. “They should demand that China calls off its security stranglehold in Tibet as an essential first step towards backing the Dalai Lama’s initiative in finding a long-term and negotiated settlement to China’s occupation.”

Tibetan Buddhists say they resent the slow erosion of their culture amid an influx of Han Chinese, the largest ethnic group in China. That resentment spilled over last March, when Buddhist monks initiated peaceful anti-Chinese protests in the regional capital, Lhasa, on the 49th anniversary of the uprising.

The protests soon turned violent, with demonstrators burning vehicles and shops. Some protesters advocated independence from China, while others demonstrated against the growing influence of the Han Chinese in the area and other regions of China with ethnic Tibetan populations.

The subsequent crackdown left 18 civilians and one police officer dead, according to the Chinese government. Tibet’s self-proclaimed government-in-exile put the death toll from the protests at 140.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of fomenting the discord in his homeland — a charge he denies.

“The Dalai Lama demanded the establishment of the so-called ‘Greater Tibetan area’ on a quarter of the Chinese territory, to drive away Chinese army stationed there guarding the Chinese territory, and to drive away Chinese people of other ethnic groups who lived there for generations. Is such a person a religious figure?” Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Saturday.

“The conflict between him and us is not religious conflict, human rights conflict, ethnic conflict, nor cultural conflict,” Yang said. “The conflict is whether or not to maintain China’s unification, and whether or not to permit Tibet to be separated from the Chinese territory.”

The Dalai Lama has said he does not advocate violence or a separate and independent Tibet. He has said he wants a genuine autonomy that preserves the cultural heritage of the region.

“I’m just disgusted with the way the Chinese behave towards the Tibetans. Even if you accept that Tibet has been swallowed up by China, why can’t they give to them autonomy, respect their religion, their culture?” protester Bob Hunt said Saturday. “These are peaceable people, one of the most peaceable people in the world.”

Protester Shobha Trivedi said she hoped the protest march would make people more aware of the situation inside Tibet.

“I feel as a human being, what (the) Chinese are doing for 50 years, nobody’s bothering with it,” she said. “And it’s a real shame on everyone.”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Dorjay Nima permalink
    March 9, 2009 8:10 am

    Ni Hao Li Yutong

    If Tibet has been “part of China” for as long as you claim why
    1) did the Hanzu need to invade Tibet in October 1950 and kill 1.2 million Tibetans?
    2) did USA & UK maintain bilateral foreign relations with Tibet for more than 100 years (and sign bipartite treaties)?
    3) did the UK Embassy in Nanjing issue a Tibetan delegation with visas in a Tibetan passport in 1948?
    4) do the international committe of jurists regard the Hanzu invasion of Tibet in 1950 (and subsequent occupation) as illegal
    5) have the Hanzu tried to make Tibetan scholars re-write the history of Tibet proving that they have a legitimate claim over Tibet?

    China has never got over the humiliation of having to pay an annual tribute of 50,000 rolls of silk to Tibet from AD 763 when the Emperor in Xi’an was replaced by a Tibetan

    If one goes far enough back in history one can equally argue that China is part of Tibet

    Dont get me wrong I love China, its people and its culture but its occupation of Tibet is morally and legally reprehensible

  2. Dava permalink
    March 9, 2009 6:10 am

    Dear Yutong, We’ve been to Tibet and we’ve talked to the farmers and nomads and Lhasa cadres. It’s clear you have not done this yourself, so the reason we ought to be listening to your advice in the matter would be what precisely?

    And, um, you’re allowed to have gripes about the French while Tibetans are not permitted to have gripes about the Chinese occupation and systematic exploitation of their country? The reasoning would be what exactly? (OK, well, being anti-French helped the Americans get more patriotic for awhile, so you thought you’d try this tactic too?)

    We would really appreciate some clear thinking about history, not just hearing you repeat the kind of surrogate history you learn in your particular school, although we’re curious to know more about why you find it satisfactory enough to throw back at us as if we were supposed to have reason to regard it as true. I strongly recommend that you do your best to get a broader education than you’ve been offered so far. I mean this in all sincerity.

    But hell, I’m only fooling myself if I think you will even see my response. You 50 centers just crawl from blogspot to blogspot planting your idiotic comments, never looking back, completely unwilling to hear what anyone else has to say. Your comments never in any meaningful way respond to what you read in the blogspot. You don’t read. You’re just spreading government-sponsored propaganda, thrilled to have a job to do after mastering the cut-and-paste function on your IBM. I’ll save all those choice adjectives springing up in my mind for another time. Have a nice day.

    Yours,
    Dava

  3. Li Yutong permalink
    March 8, 2009 9:45 pm

    Tibet is a part of China several hundreds of years before United States being established, several hundreds of years before 1860 – English and French armies broke into the Summer Palace (Yuan Ming Yuan in Chinese) and killed thousands of Chinese and filled up the Louvre with Museum with their   stolengoods.

    What a joke of CNN/BBC/whoever has no basic history sense at all saying something like 50 years…

    Go to Tibet by yourself, talk with the Tibetan herdsmen/farmers who don’t have any financial support from western country, you will know what the truth is. Tibetans are different with Tibetan politicians and those Lamas who lost their God-Like powers 50 years ago, who can kill *ANY* slaves without *ANY* kind of judgment or approval. Then you will know the truth is not like what CNN/BBC talking about.

Trackbacks

  1. And The Anti-Tibetan, Chinese Propaganda Comments Begin… Again « Precious Metal: the blog

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