we want freedom, we want freedom
News you should know about – A few days ago, in the 49th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising, many Tibetans, led by Buddhist Monks, started rebelling against Chinese rule.
Then the gate of the debating compound opened and this stream of maroon humanity poured out, several hundred monks. It was impossible to count but I think there were at least 300.
We thought it was part of the tradition but when you looked at the expression on their faces, it was a very serious business. They were pumping their hands in the air as they ran out of the temple.
The minute that happened we saw the police – two or three who were inside the compound – suddenly speaking into their radios.
They started going after the monks, and plain-clothes police – I don’t know this for sure but that’s what I think they were – started to emerged from nowhere.
There were four or five in uniform but another 10 or 15 in regular clothing. They were grabbing monks, kicking and beating them.
If we had gone to Sera monastery an hour earlier or an hour later, no-one would have known what these monks had done
One monk was kicked in the stomach right in front of us and then beaten on the ground.
The monks were not attacking the soldiers, there was no melee. They were heading out in a stream, it was a very clear path, and the police were attacking them at the sides. It was gratuitous violence.
There’s a lot of confusion right now, since Tibet is very hard for foreign journalists to correspond from and get into. You can get more info from the blog of students for a free tibet. I think the general feeling of what’s going on is this: the Chinese military has occupied and cracked down on the main city, Lhasa. Protesting has spread elsewhere. This is a big deal and a large blow to China’s carefully cultivated image of national unity in preparation for the 08 Olympic games. There are comparisons to Tiananmen Square, the American boycott to the Olympics due to Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan, and that “The wave of violent protests in Tibet could not have come at a worse time for the Chinese government”
James Fallows, a journalist for the Atlantic Monthly, is in China right now. He reports that the Chinese authorities have censored all internet, tv, or newspaper news of the events in Tibet. The great majority of the people of China don’t know what is really going on right now: the Chinese media is treating it as “small groups of hooligans have attacked soldiers in Lhasa but that things are under control.” (read here here and here)
Do we have a chapter of Students for a free Tibet here on campus?