Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dalai Lama Video on Chinese Disguised as Tibetan Monks in Lhasa Riots & Other Coverage

Click on the title to go to India Times video of the Dalai Lama speaking about Chinese police officers dressed as Tibetan monks and a man disguised as a Khampa in the violent protests in Lhasa on March 14. This is a well-known tactic used as an agent provocateur in previous protests within Tibet. In the brief video, the Dalai Lama points out that after examining photos that many of the monks appeared to be Han Chinese rather than native Tibetans. In the case of the man dressed as a Khampa yielding a sword, the Dalai Lama said that the sword was Chinese, not Khampa. Previously, HHDL called for an impartial international agency to investigate fully the events resulting in violence in Lhasa and other cities.

Meanwhile, today's NY Times in a lengthy article cited "proof" that the PRC had learned after interrogation of an unknown monk, that the Dalai Lama was behind the violent riots in Lhasa. No name, provenience or other details were given in the article regarding the monk's "confession." Frankly, I'm surprised that the NY Times published the article while neglecting to present a more balanced view of the increasing blog chatter about British spy evidence who have surveillance footage of Lhasa prior to the March 14 riot which indicates that Chinese police were distributing monks robes outside the Barkor.

The NT Times article stated:

Xinhua, the state-run news agency, said the Chinese police had a confession written by an unidentified monk who they said received orders from supporters of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

In what an article described as the confession, the monk said: “For the sake of protecting myself, (the Dalai Lama clique) asked me not to participate in the demonstrations in person, just in charge of stirring people up.”

The Chinese government has not held a news conference to identify the monk or explain the circumstances of the confession, so it was not possible to verify either the existence of the monk or of such a statement.

For weeks, China has said it has strong evidence that the riots and protests in Tibet and neighboring regions were orchestrated by the “Dalai clique.

Years ago in the late 1980's I was eating dinner in a Tibetan restaurant in NYC with a Tibetan friend. It was early so there weren't too many people in the restaurant. Two young Chinese men dressed in black suits came into the restaurant. Without sitting down, in English they began harassing the owner of the restaurant, an elderly gentleman, insulting him and behaving in a provocative manner while the man tried to keep his manners. Eventually, the Tibetan became so upset that his wife had to encourage him to go back into the kitchen to avoid any further confrontation. Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed the level of malevolence and hatred targeting the Tibetan man. Furthermore, there was a kind of arrogance of entitlement to harass him that I found shocking at the time.

Former Top Chinese official urges Chinese Government to Talk with the Dalai Lama

Bao Tong: Talk To The Dalai Lama
Radio Free Asia

Bao Tong gives a rare television interview. The text is excerpted from Radio Free Asia.

A former top official in China’s ruling Communist Party has called on the Chinese government to open talks with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, as a matter of urgency. Bao Tong, former aide to ousted late premier Zhao Ziyang, says both Tibetans and Han Chinese have suffered at the hands of a Maoist political philosophy. He wrote this essay, broadcast by RFA’s Mandarin service, from his Beijing home, where he has lived under house arrest since his release from jail in the wake of the 1989 student movement:

"Take harmony seriously; talk to the Dalai Lama".Bao Tong says. For complete text, click on the title above. Mr. Tong touches on some interesting analysis about the deeply entrenched philosophy of hidden communication on matters of human rights in China.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

An Appeal to the Chinese People from the Dalai Lama

Today, I extend heartfelt greetings to my Chinese brothers and sisters around the world, particularly to those in the People’s Republic of China. In the light of the recent developments in Tibet, I would like to share with you my thoughts concerning relations between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples, and make a personal appeal to all of you.

I am deeply saddened by the loss of life in the recent tragic events in Tibet. I am aware that some Chinese have also died. I feel for the victims and their families and pray for them. The recent unrest has clearly demonstrated the gravity of the situation in Tibet and the urgent need to seek a peaceful and mutually beneficial solution through dialogue. Even at this juncture I have expressed my willingness to the Chinese authorities to work together to bring about peace and stability.

Chinese brothers and sisters, I assure you I have no desire to seek Tibet’s separation. Nor do I have any wish to drive a wedge between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples. On the contrary my commitment has always been to find a genuine solution to the problem of Tibet that ensures the long-term interests of both Chinese and Tibetans. My primary concern, as I have repeated time and again, is to ensure the survival of the Tibetan people’s distinctive culture, language and identity. As a simple monk who strives to live his daily life according to Buddhist precepts, I assure you of the sincerity of my personal motivation.

I have appealed to the leadership of the PRC to clearly understand my position and work to resolve these problems by “seeking truth from facts.” I urge the Chinese leadership to exercise wisdom and to initiate a meaningful dialogue with the Tibetan people. I also appeal to them to make sincere efforts to contribute to the stability and harmony of the PRC and avoid creating rifts between the nationalities. The state media’s portrayal of the recent events in Tibet, using deceit and distorted images, could sow the seeds of racial tension with unpredictable long-term consequences. This is of grave concern to me. Similarly, despite my repeated support for the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese authorities, with the intention of creating a rift between the Chinese people and myself, the Chinese authorities assert that I am trying to sabotage the games. I am encouraged, however, that several Chinese intellectuals and scholars have also expressed their strong concern about the Chinese leadership’s actions and the potential for adverse long-term consequences, particularly on relations among different nationalities.

Since ancient times, Tibetan and Chinese peoples have lived as neighbors. In the two thousand year old recorded history of our peoples, we have at times developed friendly relations, even entering into matrimonial alliances, while at others we fought each other. However, since Buddhism flourished in China first before it arrived in Tibet from India, we Tibetans have historically accorded the Chinese people the respect and affection due to elder Dharma brothers and sisters. This is something well known to members of the Chinese community living outside China, some of whom have attended my Buddhist lectures, as well as pilgrims from mainland China, whom I have had the privilege to meet. I take heart from these meetings and feel they may contribute to a better understanding between our two peoples.

The twentieth century witnessed enormous changes in many parts of the world and Tibet too was caught up in this turbulence. Soon after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the People’s Liberation Army entered Tibet finally resulting in the 17-point Agreement concluded between China and Tibet in May 1951. When I was in Beijing in 1954/55, attending the National People’s Congress, I had the opportunity to meet and develop a personal friendship with many senior leaders, including Chairman Mao himself. In fact, Chairman Mao gave me advice on numerous issues, as well as personal assurances with regard to the future of Tibet. Encouraged by these assurances, and inspired by the dedication of many of China’s revolutionary leaders of the time, I returned to Tibet full of confidence and optimism. Some Tibetan members of the Chinese Communist Party also had such a hope. After my return to Lhasa, I made every possible effort to seek genuine regional autonomy for Tibet within the family of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). I believed that this would best serve the long-term interests of both the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.

Unfortunately, tensions, which began to escalate in Tibet from around 1956, eventually led to the peaceful uprising of March 10, 1959, in Lhasa and my eventual escape into exile. Although many positive developments have taken place in Tibet under the PRC’s rule, these developments, as the previous Panchen Lama pointed out in January 1989, were overshadowed by immense suffering and extensive destruction. Tibetans were compelled to live in a state of constant fear, while the Chinese government remained suspicious of them. However, instead of cultivating enmity towards the Chinese leaders responsible for the ruthless suppression of the Tibetan people, I prayed for them to become friends, which I expressed in the following lines in a prayer I composed in 1960, a year after I arrived in India: “May they attain the wisdom eye discerning right and wrong, And may they abide in the glory of friendship and love.” Many Tibetans, school children among them, recite these lines in their daily prayers.

In 1974, following serious discussions with my Kashag (cabinet), as well as the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the then Assembly of the Tibetan People’s Deputies, we decided to find a Middle Way that would seek not to separate Tibet from China, but would facilitate the peaceful development of Tibet. Although we had no contact at the time with the PRC – which was in the midst of the Cultural Revolution – we had already recognized that, sooner or later, we would have to resolve the question of Tibet through negotiations. We also acknowledged that, at least with regard to modernization and economic development, it would greatly benefit Tibet if it remained within the PRC. Although Tibet has a rich and ancient cultural heritage, it is materially undeveloped.

Situated on the roof of the world, Tibet is the source of many of Asia’s major rivers; therefore, protection of the environment on the Tibetan plateau is of supreme importance. Since our utmost concern is to safeguard Tibetan Buddhist culture – rooted as it is in the values of universal compassion – as well as the Tibetan language and the unique Tibetan identity, we have worked whole-heartedly towards achieving meaningful self-rule for all Tibetans. The PRC’s constitution provides the right for nationalities such as the Tibetans to do this.

In 1979, the then Chinese paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping assured my personal emissary that “except for the independence of Tibet, all other questions can be negotiated.” Since we had already formulated our approach to seeking a solution to the Tibetan issue within the constitution of the PRC, we found ourselves well placed to respond to this new opportunity. My representatives met many times with officials of the PRC. Since renewing our contacts in 2002, we have had six rounds of talks. However, on the fundamental issue, there has been no concrete result at all. Nevertheless, as I have declared many times, I remain firmly committed to the Middle Way approach and reiterate here my willingness to continue to pursue the process of dialogue.

This year, the Chinese people are proudly and eagerly awaiting the opening of the Olympic Games. I have, from the start, supported Beijing’s being awarded the opportunity to host the Games. My position remains unchanged. China has the world’s largest population, a long history and an extremely rich civilization. Today, due to her impressive economic progress, she is emerging as a great power. This is certainly to be welcomed. But China also needs to earn the respect and esteem of the global community through the establishment of an open and harmonious society based on the principles of transparency, freedom, and the rule of law. For example, to this day victims of the Tiananmen Square tragedy that adversely affected the lives of so many Chinese citizens have received neither just redress nor any official response. Similarly, when thousands of ordinary Chinese in rural areas suffer injustice at the hands of exploitative and corrupt local officials, their legitimate complaints are either ignored or met with aggression. I express these concerns both as a fellow human being and as someone who is prepared to consider himself a member of the large family that is the People’s Republic of China. In this respect, I appreciate and support President Hu Jintao’s policy of creating a “harmonious society”, but this can only arise on the basis of mutual trust and an atmosphere of freedom, including freedom of speech and the rule of law. I strongly believe that if these values are embraced, many important problems relating to minority nationalities can be resolved, such as the issue of Tibet, as well as Eastern Turkistan, and Inner Mongolia, where the native people now constitute only 20% of a total population of 24 million.

I had hoped President Hu Jintao’s recent statement that the stability and safety of Tibet concerns the stability and safety of the country might herald the dawning of a new era for the resolution of the problem of Tibet. It is unfortunate that despite my sincere efforts not to separate Tibet from China, the leaders of the PRC continue to accuse me of being a “separatist”. Similarly, when Tibetans in Lhasa and many other areas spontaneously protested to express their deep-rooted resentment, the Chinese authorities immediately accused me of having orchestrated their demonstrations. I have called for a thorough investigation by a respected body to look into this allegation.

Chinese brothers and sisters – wherever you may be – with deep concern I appeal to you to help dispel the misunderstandings between our two communities. Moreover, I appeal to you to help us find a peaceful, lasting solution to the problem of Tibet through dialogue in the spirit of understanding and accommodation.

With my prayers,

The Dalai Lama

March 28, 2008

The original text is found on the Dalai Lama's website

Where Does China Go From Here?

“The Chinese government pledged to the world that there will be no restrictions on media reporting and movement of journalists up to and including the Olympic Games—a pledge that’s completely undermined by its conduct in Tibet,”

Francine Prose, President of PEN American Center.

The following excellent discussion taken from You Tube took place on PBS News Hour on March 26, 2008. Both videos are well worth watching.

Donald Lopez - University of Michigan Professor of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies. Author of a number of books on Tibet.

Jeffrey Bader - Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute. He held Asian posts at the State Department and the National Security Council Staff during the Clinton Administration.

Abrahm Lustgarten - Writer at Fortune Magazine and author of "China's Great Train: Beijing's Drive West and the Campaign to Remake Tibet". He has visited Tibet 5 times since 2002

China has a well documented history of human rights abuses. In order to secure the Olympics in Beijing, China promised the IOC to improve its human rights record as well as allow greater freedom of speech for writers & journalists.

The lack of regulation regarding the environment, treatment of prisoners, manufacturing practices using toxic substances, illegal trade in human organs derived from executed prisoners, censorship of the media, long standing subjugation of Tibetan people and other minorities, funding of weapons to Sudan in exchange for oil, and over all denial of religious expression, does not warrant China's desire for participation on the world stage unless widespread changes occur internally. It's clear that party old liners bearing the heritage of the Cultural Revolution need to be replaced by a younger generation who are committed to China's psychological and moral expansion. Economic development alone without a moral or civil base will always result in the primitive behavior of war lords and despotic rulers who value greed above human values. Such attitudes have traumatized Chinese people for centuries. I believe that millions of Chinese people want to see these changes enacted in favor of a more open society. By refusing to consider options put forth by its own citizens and recognize world opinion, China is headed toward continued social unrest, especially in regard to Tibet. It is in China's interest to consider seriously the Dalai Lama's middle-way approach instead of engaging in tiresome rhetoric about the "dali clique" that undermines China's image in the world.

Profile of Three Tibetan Writers Imprisoned by China

The following three Tibetan writers are listed on Pen American's site. I have not been able to find any names of writers more recently arrested. There are 43 Chinese writers who have been arrested in association with the upcoming Olympics. Their names are on the Pen site. The three listed below are part of Pen's advocacy cases for Tibetan writers. Like Amnesty International, Pen is responsible for the release of numerous writers unjustly imprisoned for their writing.

Dawa Gyaltsen Tibetan dissident arrested in November 1995 for writing pro-independence pamphlets which were posted in April 1995 as part of widespread protests against the Chinese authorities. Dawa was charged with carrying out “counter-revolutionary propaganda” and is now serving a 15-year prison sentence. He is currently being held in the notorious Drapchi Prison in Lhasa. He was reportedly severely tortured under interrogation, and has suffered numerous forms of abuse in prison, including beatings, psychological stress, and lack of access to fresh air. When he was first arrested, he was handcuffed and thrown into a dark room without food for ten days.

Jamphel Gyatso Monk from Drakar Trezong monastery in Qinghai Province, where he was on the editorial team of the monastery’s journal, The Charm of the Sun and Moon. Jampel was arrested on January 16, 2005 and sentenced to three years re-education through labor (RTL). He is currently being held in Topa RTL Camp at Huangzhong Dzong, near Xining.

Tibet Autonomous Region: Dolma Kyab
dulma kyabProfessional Background
Dolma Kyab is a writer and teacher in his native Tibet. Born in 1976 in Ari Village, Qilian County, Tsochang Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province, he received an extensive education. Having attended the local primary school and then the county middle school, he joined a Teacher's Training Center in 1995 and served as a teacher at a middle school in Qilian County. He later continued his studies at a university in Beijing and in 2003, he traveled to India to learn English and Hindi. He returned to Tibet in May 2004, where he taught history at a middle school in Lhasa.

Impassioned by his interest in writing, Dolma Kyab maintained a commentary manuscript written in Chinese, entitled Sao dong de Ximalayashan (Himalaya on Stir); it is comprised of 57 chapters he had written on various topics: democracy, sovereignty of Tibet, Tibet under communism, colonialism, religion and belief, and so forth. Alongside this manuscript, he began writing another on the geographical aspects of Tibet, and though comparatively short, it made mention of sensitive topics, like the location and number of Chinese military camps in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). His pen name is Lobsang Kelsang Gyatso.

Current Status
Dolma Kyab was moved to the Seilong Labor Camp in Xining in early July 2007. PEN has received reports that he is in very poor health.

Case History
On March 9, 2005, Dolma Kyab was arrested in Lhasa at the middle school where he was teaching history and taken to the TAR Public Security Bureau Detention Center, popularly known as “Seitru” in Tibetan. He was held pending trial at Seitru on charges of “endangering state security;” on September 16, 2005, he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Lhasa People's Intermediate Court. A subsequent appeal made by his family was rejected on November 30, 2005, and the 10-year sentence was upheld.

Upon declaration of sentence, Dolma Kyab was supposed to be transferred to Chushul (Chinese: “Qushui”) Prison, but prison officials refused to accept him because he had contracted tuberculosis while detained at Seitru. In March 2006, he was reportedly transferred to Chushul Prison after some medical treatment.

March 17, 2008:
PEN to China: Let Free Press Tell True Story in Tibet

PEN to China: Let Free Press Tell True Story in Tibet"

New York, Toronto, Stockholm, March 17, 2008—
Writers from Canada, the United States, and China joined today in denouncing “suffocating restrictions” on the press and on the flow of information from Tibet, where a week of protests and repression has reportedly resulted in as many as 100 deaths in Lhasa and other Tibetan cities. Warning that news blackouts, communications interruptions and censorship remove a critical deterrent to human rights abuses and increase suspicions of official wrongdoing, the representatives of PEN Canada, PEN American Center, and the Independent Chinese PEN Center demanded the Chinese government provide immediate and unfettered access to the Tibet Autonomous Region and all traditionally Tibetan areas in Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan provinces to international journalists; restore phone and Internet access; and end all domestic censorship of international news feeds and Internet reports from Tibet.

The Chinese government has long prevented international journalists from reporting freely from Tibet. For instance, CNN reports its crews have been allowed into the region only twice in the past 10 years and never without tight controls on conversations and interviews. No international journalists have been allowed to enter or report from Tibet since Buddhist monks staged peaceful demonstrations last week to protest continuing restrictions on religious and cultural activities in Tibet, and there have been reports of significant interruptions of telephone and Internet service in Lhasa and other Tibetan areas since then, impeding the flow of first-hand reports and other information as violence spread and the number of deaths rose. Meanwhile, satellite broadcasts focusing on events in Tibet this past week have reportedly been jammed in Beijing and other Chinese cities, and entire news sites such as the LA Times and The Guardian have been shut down, leaving China’s citizens in the dark about the unfolding tragedy.

“This is reminding us of what happened both in Lhasa in March and in Beijing in June 19 years ago,” recalled Dr. Yu Zhang, Secretary-general of Independent Chinese PEN Center. “As the truth of bloody Lhasa event in 1989 was little known beyond the region due to the governmental restrictions on the press, Chinese people could prepare nothing to prevent the similar bloodshed from being reproduced in Beijing and elsewhere in China a few months later. It is unforgivable to allow history to repeat itself when the whole world is now watching Beijing for its promise of the press freedom and openness once more.”

“‘One World, One Dream’ is the motto of the Beijing Olympics,” noted Nelofer Pazira, president of PEN Canada. “But it seems that Tibetans are not included in that dream, as the denial of their human rights and now this violent crushing of these protests indicate. And the rest of the world is not being allowed to know that.”

“The Chinese government pledged to the world that there will be no restrictions on media reporting and movement of journalists up to and including the Olympic Games—a pledge that’s completely undermined by its conduct in Tibet,” said Francine Prose, President of PEN American Center. “Even with the limited information emanating from Tibet, it is clear the Chinese government has responded aggressively to what apparently began as peaceful demonstrations. The Chinese government’s suffocating restrictions on news reporting only fuel suspicions that its actions go beyond what is necessary to protect public safety and amount to another violent crackdown on free expression and dissent.”

PEN American Center, PEN Canada, and the Independent Chinese PEN Center are among the 145 worldwide centers of International PEN, an organization that works to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere, to fight for freedom of expression, and represent the conscience of world literature. On December 10, 2007, the centers launched We Are Ready for Freedom of Expression, an Olympic countdown campaign to protest China’s imprisonment of at least 38 writers and journalists, including three Tibetans, and to seek an end to internet censorship and other restrictions on the freedom to write in that country.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Washington Post and Wall Street Journal Weigh In on the Tibetan Crisis & Beijing Olympics

Two prominent editorials recently appeared yesterday and today in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal reflecting on the fate of the Beijing Olympics and Tibet.

Sally Jones, sports editor for the post, on Weds, March 26 had some interesting facts to point our in her "IOC Needs to Step In Or Perhaps Move On." The most interesting item here is her mention of the US State Department's warning on pervasive surveillance and unwarranted searches for US travelers to China. This coupled with a warning that many buildings constructed for the Olympics are lacking in safety precautions "such as emergency exits, fire suppression systems, carbon monoxide monitors, locks or alarms," may cause travelers to the Olympics to reconsider their decision. Here is the complete article.

At this point, the Beijing Games are shaping up as a disaster. The violent police action in Tibet and other events of the past two weeks make one wonder if the Chinese government is fundamentally unfit to host an Olympics. Officials there have violated the basic spirit of the event and reneged on every promise they made to the International Olympic Committee about their willingness to accommodate the world. When anyone publicly tries to hold them to account - such as our State Department, that "bad-tempered" Nancy Pelosi or the Dalai Lama - they charge critics with trying to "sabotage" the Games. The only event they seem interested in hosting is the "Totalitarian Propaganda Back-flip."

To review: Officials have issued an edict forbidding live broadcasts from Tiananmen Square during the Games. This is only the latest piece of good news, to go along with the deaths in Tibet, the jailing of dissidents for merely writing on the Internet, and bulletins about food so contaminated and air so polluted they could harm the athletes.

Still another event spectators apparently can enjoy in Beijing is the 10,000-meter Surveillance Sweep. The U.S. State Department last week issued a bulletin warning that spectators should expect "on-site or remote technical monitoring at all times," even in their hotel rooms. Furthermore, those rooms may be broken into and searched without visitors' knowledge. That will be easy to do: According to the State Department, so many Beijing structures were thrown up so hastily (by forced labor) that they might collapse, and lack basic protections such as emergency exits, fire suppression systems, carbon monoxide monitors, locks or alarms. China called the State Department bulletin "irresponsible" and denied unusual surveillance measures.

The result of all this is that the term "boycott" is being seriously kicked around. Over the weekend, European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering refused to rule it out if the Chinese government continues to take such a hard line in Tibet. But a boycott comes with too much collateral damage to athletes and spectators. There is a better alternative: threaten to move the Games out of China altogether. There still is time to send them to another city, one that embraces the spirit of the Games. Sydney could host them; so could Athens.

In the lead-up to Athens four years ago, the IOC got tough with Greek organizers when they didn't show progress on various issues such as stadium plans and security. Why hasn't it applied the same pressure over China's far more significant broken promises? A few stadium construction delays weren't acceptable, but apparently a hundred dead Tibetans are?
The centerpiece of China's bid seven years ago was a promise to make progress on human rights and to open the country to world media coverage. Chinese officials practically begged for the Games and made all kinds of assurances. But instead, the direct opposite has happened - the Games actually have caused a significant pre-Games crackdown, abuses that range from sweeping arrests of dissidents to the strong-arming in Tibet, where as many as 130 may have died, according to the exiled Tibetan government.

The Olympics aren't supposed to be political. But they aren't supposed to be a force of evil, either.

Up to this point, the IOC has soft-pedaled these events under the rationale that "engagement" with Chinese officials is better than nothing. President Jacques Rogge defends the decision to send the Games to China, saying they are an opportunity to expose a fifth of the world's population to the "Olympic ideal." But it's safe to say the Olympic ideal isn't getting through to the Chinese people. Only the McDonald's billboards are. On Monday, Yang Chunlin was sentenced to five years in prison for "inciting subversion." His crime? He posted on Internet sites under the theme, "We don't want the Olympics, we want human rights."

The party Beijing is preparing to throw bears no resemblance to any recent Olympics: shootings, beatings, jailings, buggings, environmental crimes and paramilitary police flooding the streets? You can pretty much bet that this isn't what Coca-Cola or the other dozen corporate sponsors had in mind when they signed up for the Olympics back in 2001.

These corporations have paid hundreds of millions of dollars for an Olympics that is turning into an international black eye. They're forking over huge fees to a Chinese government that essentially is harming their reputations. Corporate directors are easy targets, but in fact they can be great philanthropists and good international citizens. General Electric has donated $4 million for the relief of Darfur victims, and Coke is involved in clean-water initiatives. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson prize their status as responsible, open, and friendly to customers and the environment.

But at the moment, they appear weak-willed, un-American and complicit in Olympic abuses for the sake of a buck, thanks to the IOC's inaction and, frankly, seeming indifference. "Whatever abuses take place from this point forward is more of an indictment of the international community," says Arvind Ganesan of Human Rights Watch.

One company has a greater interest in the Beijing Olympics than any other. General Electric is both an Olympics sponsor and the parent company of NBC, the network that paid a combined $2.3 billion for the rights to the Athens, Turin and Beijing Olympics - only to be told it can't broadcast live from Tiananmen Square. As the Games approach, the Chinese authorities appear increasingly nervous at the prospect of any form of public expression. Even an aside of "Free Tibet" by the singer Bjork during a concert drew a stiff response. When an group of American Boy Scouts were supposed to appear at an exhibition baseball game March 15, they were prevented taking the field by police, who also canceled any form of on-field entertainment, including the singing of the national anthems.

"We're proud to be a sponsor and our plans aren't changing," GE spokeswoman Deirdre Latour said. "Our position overall is that the Olympics are a force for good. Of course, we're watching all of the issues carefully."

The attitude of GE is that once the Games begin, the feel-good moments will take over and everyone will forget about the rifle butts and jail cells. "When you're sitting in that stadium and all the countries walk in, you'll see the power of bringing everyone together," Latour said.

That's obviously what the Chinese government hopes, too - and intends to enforce by censoring NBC.

Will NBC accept the censorship? Latour said, "That's a question for the IOC." GE's role, she says, is merely to fund the Games. "The role of a sponsor isn't take up cause X, Y and Z," she said, "it is to do what we can within our sphere of responsibility."

But corporate sponsors are the IOC - they pay for 70 percent of its budget - and the IOC has been unpardonably weak in its dealings with Beijing. The bottom line is that the IOC appears willing to turn a blind eye to human-rights abuses in order to gain entry to a market that represents a fifth of the world's population.

"Throughout history, there have been other Olympics that were contentious," Latour said. Such as? "Well, Germany," she says.
Berlin in 1936? This is the company we want to be in?
The IOC must quit hiding behind the notion that the Olympics are apolitical. It's a fallacy. In a previous era, a stronger IOC banned South Africa from participation for years because of its apartheid policies. Over time, the Olympics have been of arguable value, sometimes corrupt, sometimes on the right side of issues and sometimes on the wrong side. But they've never actually hurt anybody. Until now.

It's time for the IOC to make the Chinese government live up to its word, and to the Olympic charter and spirit. Otherwise, take the Games away from Beijing.


The Cry of Tibet
March 28, 2008; Page A12

Mr. Wang, a Beijing-based writer, was the organizer of the recent 12-point statement on Tibet by 30 Chinese intellectuals. (See poetrymind earlier post for the text of this petition) This article was translated from the Chinese by Princeton University Prof. Perry Link.

The recent troubles in Tibet are a replay of events that happened two decades ago. On Oct. 1, 1987, Buddhist monks were demonstrating peacefully at the Barkor -- the famous market street around the central cathedral in Lhasa -- when police began beating and arresting them. To ordinary Tibetans, who view monks as "treasures," the sight was intolerable -- not only in itself, but because it stimulated unpleasant memories that Tibetan Buddhists had been harboring for years.

A few angry young men then began throwing stones at the Barkor police station. More and more joined, and then they set fires, overturned cars and began shouting "Independence for Tibet!" This is almost exactly what we saw in Lhasa two weeks ago.

The fundamental cause of these recurrent events is a painful dilemma that lives inside the minds of Tibetan monks. When the Chinese government demands that they denounce their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, monks are forced to choose between obeying, which violates their deepest spiritual convictions, and resisting, which can lead to loss of government registry and physical expulsion from monasteries.

From time to time monks have used peaceful demonstrations to express their anguish. When they have done this, an insecure Chinese government, bent on "annihilating unstable elements" in the "emergent stage," has reacted with violent repression. This, in turn, triggers violence from Tibetans.

In recent decades, the Chinese government's policy for pacifying Tibet has been to combine the allure of economic development on the one hand with the threat of force on the other. Experience has shown that this approach does not work.

The most efficient route to peace in Tibet is through the Dalai Lama, whose return to Tibet would immediately alleviate a number of problems. Much of the current ill will, after all, is a direct result of the Chinese government's verbal attacks on the Dalai Lama, who, for Tibetan monks, has an incomparably lofty status. To demand that monks denounce him is about as practical as asking that they vilify their own parents.

It should be no surprise that beatings of monks and closings of monasteries naturally stimulate civil unrest, or that civil unrest, spawned in this way, can turn violent.

Why aren't these simple truths more obvious? Phuntsog Wanggyal, a Tibetan now retired in Beijing who for years was a leading Communist official in Tibet, has observed that a doctrine of "anti-splittism" has taken root among Chinese government officials who deal with religion and minority affairs, both in central offices in Beijing and in Tibet. Having invested their careers in anti-splittism, these people cannot admit that the idea is mistaken without losing face and, they fear, losing their own power and position as well.

Their ready-made tag for everything that goes wrong is "hostile foreign forces" -- an enemy that justifies any kind of harsh or unreasoning repression. When repeated endlessly, anti-splittism, although originally vacuous, does take on a kind of solidity. Careers are made in it, and challenging it becomes impossible.

I am a supporter of the Dalai Lama's "middle way," meaning autonomy for Tibet in all matters except foreign affairs and national defense. This arrangement eventually would have to mean that Tibetan people select their own leaders -- and that would be a major change from the way things are now. Tibet is called an "autonomous region," but in fact its officials are all named by Beijing, and are all tightly focused on their own personal interests and the interests of the Communist Party. Tibetans can clearly see the difference between this kind of government and self-rule, and there is no way that they will support bogus autonomy.

It follows -- even if this is a tall order -- that the ultimate solution to the Tibet problem must be democratization of the Chinese political system itself. True autonomy cannot come any other way.

It is time for the Chinese government to take stock of why its long-term strategy in Tibet has not worked, and to try something else. The old problems remain, and they are sure to continue, perhaps in places like the "Uighur Autonomous Region" of Xinjiang, if a more sensible approach is not attempted.

Inside Tibet by Tibetan Writer, Tsering Woeser

Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser has been reporting daily on the developments in Tibet in her blog. Following are an insider's on-the-spot views of the unrest in Tibet.Woeser is a foremost Tibetan writer who writes in Chinese. She is currently under house arrest in Beijing with her husband for speaking with reporters.

For the full text in Epoch Times, click here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

China Slams Jail Door on Olympic Dissent

Here's a story reprinted from THE STAR about three Chinese human rights activists outspoken about the Beijing Olympics. Mr. Hu Jia (above), was tried last week and is awaiting his sentence. Today, Yang Chulin was sentenced to five years in prison. Human rights activists represent may different socio-economic groups within China, from journalists, human rights lawyers, writers, farmers, factory workers, as well as ethnic minorites such as Tibetans and Uyghirs.

China slams jail door on Olympic dissent
Mar 25, 2008 04:30 AM
Bill Schiller
Asia Bureau

BEIJING–In the darkest of ironies, as the Olympic torch was lit in Athens yesterday, a court in China sentenced a man to five years in prison after he dared to say the principle of human rights is more important than the Olympic Games.

Unemployed former factory worker, Yang Chunlin, 54, gathered more than 10,000 signatures on a petition last year, appealing against illegal seizures of land from poor farmers by powerful local officials in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang.

The petition letter began: "We want human rights, not the Olympics."

Yang was promptly arrested July 6 and charged with trying to subvert state power – a broad charge frequently used against those who openly criticize the government.

After Yang's trial last month – which lasted less than a day – Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch said she feared that, "soon it will be official that objecting to the Olympics is a crime in China."

In fact, prosecution of outspoken Chinese citizens has picked up pace in the final months before the Games.

Yang's is the third case of a well-known dissident to come before the courts in recent weeks.

Last month, democracy activist and writer Lu Gengsong was sentenced to four years for "inciting to subvert state power."

And last week well-known activist Hu Jia was hauled before the courts, but he has yet to be sentenced.

Hu Jia is perhaps best-known for his work in helping HIV/AIDS victims. He and his wife Zeng Jinyan had been kept under house arrest for months in Beijing, before he was finally arrested on Dec. 27.

Yang Chunlin's 5-year sentence yesterday, comes only weeks after Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, publicly scoffed at suggestions that any citizen might be sentenced for saying human rights were more important than the Olympics.

"People in China enjoy extensive freedom of speech," Yang told reporters during an official visit by British Foreign Minister David Milibank. "No one will get arrested because he said that human rights are more important than the Olympics. This is impossible.

"Ask 10 people from the street to face public security officers and ask them to say `human rights are more important than the Olympics' 10 times or even 100 times, and let's see which security officer would put him in jail."

During Yang's time in jail, the group China Human Rights Defenders claimed he was chained for days in a fixed position and forced to clean the waste of other inmates.

Yesterday, as Yang was being led away from court, a scuffle broke out between police and his family, and Yang was pushed to the floor and shocked with electric batons, according to his lawyer Li Fangping.

Yang now has 10 days to decide whether he will appeal, Li told The Associated Press.

While Yang was being sentenced in China, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge was insisting to reporters in Athens that it was "right" to have awarded the Olympic Games to China, saying the event would act as a "catalyst" for change.

He said it wasn't in his or the IOC's job to dictate directives to a sovereign state, or to engage it in political discussions.

Still, human rights campaigners decried the yesterday's sentencing.

"Yang Chunlin's 5-year sentence darkens the lighting of the Beijing Olympics torch," Sharon Hom of Human Rights in China, told the Star from New York.

"Imprisonment for peacefully expressing your views – protected by the Chinese Constitution and international human rights law – undermines any claim to the `human rights' progress cited IOC President Jacques Rogge," she said.

China has made it clear that it will not brook any embarrassing protests highlighting political or social problems during the Games.

But human rights campaigners have vowed to seize the opportunity to protest while the world's eyes are on China.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Where Are They Now?

NEWS ALERT: "China Bars Olympics Coverage From Tiananmen Square"
[NY Times, March 24, 2008]

One of the greatest moments in human history ever recorded. This is the face of China that embodies the true spirit of China's aspiration to be a part of the world. The Olympics scheduled for 2008 seems but a small flicker by comparison.

The Other China: When Chinese Speak Out on Behalf of Tibet

Angel, 2007
by Gonkar Gyatso (Tibetan artist, b.1961 Lhasa, now in exile)

One of the conversations happening among Buddhist groups is whether or not "protest," especially in the calls to boycott the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, actually benefits the Tibetan people. Is participation in protest dharmic? Social activism in the form of grassroots networking combined web 2.0 technologies has dramatically widened the definition of "protest" my generation participated in with the Civil Rights movement and the anti-war movement in the 1960's and 70's. Everyone can determine what they can bring to a cause, what "upaya" or skillful means they have at their disposal.

In recent days, several articles have appeared regarding Chinese human rights advocates response to both the Tibetan situation and China's involvement in Sudan which illuminate a broader public opinion than mainstream Chinese rhetoric would have one believe.

The following article, "Abuses Belie China Pledge on Rights, Critics Say" [NY Times, August 8, 2007], appeared on the first anniversary before the opening of the Olympic games in Beijing in August 2008. The article states:

Amnesty International said several political advocates in Beijing were under threat of close surveillance or house arrest. At the same time, authorities are persecuting Chinese journalists, the group said. And the police are sweeping up vagrants and other Beijing residents under a controversial policy that allows officers to detain people for up to four years without trial, it said.

The report described the detentions as part of a citywide “cleanup” operation to prepare for the Olympics.

Chinese Olympic officials have said that advocacy organizations should not exploit the Games to further their own agendas, but the government also appeared to be growing accustomed to criticism from a range of groups. On Monday, Jiang Xiaoyu, an executive vice president for the Beijing Olympic Committee, said that “we are mentally prepared that such voices will become louder in the future.”

"Tibet crisis: Chinese intellectuals Speak Up" [Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | March 23, 2008] gives the full text of the petition sent by Chinese intellectuals cited by the NY Times in yesterday's article on "Intellectuals in China Condemn Crackdown" [NY Times, March 24, 2008]

Leading Chinese intellectuals and writers have released a petition that suggests twelve ways to deal with the Tibet crisis. The petition, which indicates a major shift in the intellectual scene of China, has appeared on several websites.

According to a report, the petition states, "Chinese voices are being raised in China in response to the way Beijing [Images] has handled the protests that began on March 10."

The report added that the signatories include Chinese writers Wang Lixiong, Liu Xiaobo and Yu Jie, Professor Ding Zilin from the pressure group Tiananmen Mothers as well as other scholars, lawyers and artists.

The creative Chinese petition states that the language used by the Chinese government to describe the Dalai Lama is not "in keeping with the situation, nor is it beneficial to the Chinese government's image."

"As the Chinese government is committed to integrating into the international community, we maintain that it should display a style of governing that conforms to the standards of modern civilization," the petition adds.

The letter is signed by 29 signatories and displays courage on their part. It urges the Chinese government to "stop the violent suppression" in Tibet, and appeals to the Tibetan people not to engage in violent activities.

It also urges the Chinese government to end the propaganda and news blockade, saying: "The one-sided propaganda of the official Chinese media is having the effect of stirring up inter-ethnic animosity and aggravating an already tense situation. This is extremely detrimental to the long-term goal of safeguarding national unity."

The petition also points out that the current protests are widespread, unlike the protests that erupted in March 1989.

The writers say: "This deterioration indicates that there are serious mistakes in the work that has been done with regard to Tibet. The relevant government departments must conscientiously reflect upon this matter, examine their failures, and fundamentally change the failed nationality policies."

The Chinese intellectuals want the government to have a dialogue with the Dalai Lama to "eliminate animosity and bring about national reconciliation". They have also appealed for calm and reflection among Chinese people.

The twelve suggestions for dealing with the Tibetan situation are as follows:

1. At present the one-sided propaganda of the official Chinese media is having the effect of stirring up inter-ethnic animosity and aggravating an already tense situation. This is extremely detrimental to the long-term goal of safeguarding national unity. We call for such propaganda to be stopped.

2. We support the Dalai Lama's [Images] appeal for peace, and hope that the ethnic conflict can be dealt with according to the principles of goodwill, peace, and non-violence. We condemn any violent act against innocent people, strongly urge the Chinese government to stop the violent suppression, and appeal to the Tibetan people likewise not to engage in violent activities.

3. The Chinese government claims, "There is sufficient evidence to prove this incident was organised, premeditated, and meticulously orchestrated by the Dalai clique." We hope that the government will show proof of this. In order to change the international community's negative view and distrustful attitude, we also suggest that the government invite the United Nation's Commission on Human Rights to carry out an independent investigation of the evidence, the course of the incident, the number of casualties, etc.

4. In our opinion, such Cultural-Revolution-like language as "the Dalai Lama is a jackal in Buddhist monk's robes and an evil spirit with a human face and the heart of a beast" used by the Chinese Communist Party leadership in the Tibet Autonomous Region is of no help in easing the situation, nor is it beneficial to the Chinese government's image. As the Chinese government is committed to integrating into the international community, we maintain that it should display a style of governing that conforms to the standards of modern civilization.

5. We note that on the very day violence erupted in Lhasa (March 14), the leaders of the Tibet Autonomous Region declared that "there is sufficient evidence to prove this incident was organized, premeditated, and meticulously orchestrated by the Dalai clique." This shows that the authorities in Tibet knew in advance that the riot would occur, yet did nothing effective to prevent the incident from happening or escalating. If there was a dereliction of duty, a serious investigation must be carried out to determine this and deal with it accordingly.

6. If in the end it cannot be proved that this was an organized, premeditated, and meticulously orchestrated event but was instead a popular revolt triggered by events, then the authorities should pursue those responsible for inciting the popular revolt and concocting false information to deceive the Central Government and the people; they should also seriously reflect on what can be learned from this event so as to avoid taking the same course in the future.

7. We strongly demand that the authorities not subject every Tibetan to political investigation or revenge. The trials of those who have been arrested must be carried out according to judicial procedures that are open, just, and transparent so as to ensure that all parties are satisfied.

8. We urge the Chinese government to allow credible national and international media to go into Tibetan areas to conduct independent interviews and news reports. In our view, the current news blockade cannot gain credit with the Chinese people or the international community, and is harmful to the credibility of the Chinese government. If the government grasps the true situation, it need not fear challenges. Only by adopting an open attitude can we turn around the international community's distrust of our government.

9. We appeal to the Chinese people and overseas Chinese to be calm and tolerant, and to reflect deeply on what is happening. Adopting a posture of aggressive nationalism will only invite antipathy from the international community and harm China's international image.

10. The disturbances in Tibet in the 1980s were limited to Lhasa, whereas this time they have spread to many Tibetan areas. This deterioration indicates that there are serious mistakes in the work that has been done with regard to Tibet. The relevant government departments must conscientiously reflect upon this matter, examine their failures, and fundamentally change the failed nationality policies.

11. In order to prevent similar incidents from happening in future, the government must abide by the freedom of religious belief and the freedom of speech explicitly enshrined in the Chinese Constitution, thereby allowing the Tibetan people fully to express their grievances and hopes, and permitting citizens of all nationalities freely to criticize and make suggestions regarding the government's nationality policies.

12. We hold that we must eliminate animosity and bring about national reconciliation, not continue to increase divisions between nationalities. A country that wishes to avoid the partition of its territory must first avoid divisions among its nationalities. Therefore, we appeal to the leaders of our country to hold direct dialogue with the Dalai Lama. We hope that the Chinese and Tibetan people will do away with the misunderstandings between them, develop their interactions with each other, and achieve unity. Government departments, as much as popular organizations and religious figures, should make great efforts toward this goal.


Wang Lixiong (Beijing, Writer)

Liu Xiaobo (Beijing, Freelance Writer)

Zhang Zuhua (Beijing, scholar of constitutionalism)

Sha Yexin (Shanghai, writer, Chinese Muslim)

Yu Haocheng (Beijing, jurist)

Ding Zilin (Beijing, professor)

Jiang Peikun (Beijing, professor)

Yu Jie (Beijing, writer)

Sun Wenguang (Shangdong, professor)

Ran Yunfei (Sichuan, editor, Tujia nationality)

Pu Zhiqiang (Beijing, lawyer)

Teng Biao (Beijing, lawyer and scholar)

Liao Yiwu (Sichuan, writer)

Wang Qisheng (Beijing, scholar)

Zhang Xianling (Beijing, engineer)

Xu Jue (Beijing, research fellow)

Li Jun (Gansu, photographer)

Gao Yu (Beijing, journalist)

Wang Debang (Beijing, freelance writer)

Zhao Dagong (Shenzhen, freelance writer)

Jiang Danwen (Shanghai, writer)

Liu Yi (Gansu, painter)

Xu Hui (Beijing, writer)

Wang Tiancheng (Beijing, scholar)

Wen kejian (Hangzhou, freelance)

Li Hai (Beijing, freelance writer)

Tian Yongde (Inner Mongolia, folk human rights activists)

Zan Aizong (Hangzhou, journalist)

Liu Yiming (Hubei, freelance writer)

In late February, prominent Chinese human rights activist, Wei Jingsheng, wrote an open letter to Ms. Mia Farrow commending her for her work on behalf of Darfur. Mia Farrow has engaged in a highly effective campaign to bring world-wide recognition to China's involvement in the Darfur crisis. In fact, if you want to know how to orchestrate a grass roots effort, Ms. Farrow's website offers a huge "to do" list. The full text is available on her home page at One paragraph jumped out at me--. Mr. Jingsheng writes,

Wherever human rights are endangered, the speakers for the local authorities have a common tune: it is an internal affair, do not intervene. But you know the truth: human rights issues are never an isolated, local or internal affair.

The notion that China's internal affairs have no bearing on world events is no more realistic than justification for America's involvement in Iraq as a fait accompli response to the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9.11. What superpowers do with their aggressive policies takes a huge toll in human suffering for generations to come. Global citizens have the
right to question and analyze the intention behind these acts against humanity. When artists and intellectuals become engaged, the wheels are turning towards public exposure and greater awareness. If China were so sure of itself, why are foreign journalists not allowed inside Tibet to speak directly with informants? Why are Chinese oppositional voices and Human Rights advocates either jailed or harassed?


There's a different kind of torch being passed here than the Olympic torch that has more to do with universal harmony and goodwill--the torch of freedom of expression.

[A note on the Tibetan artist's vision in Angel.Gonkar Gyatso superimposes the well know Abu Ghraib figure on top of the central deity figure of Chenrezig rendered in traditional Tibetan tik-se line drawing. Employing a patchwork of multiple colors and textures, the artist seems to imply that the tortured individual is part of a greater whole or represents numerous others. Thus, those individuals who are tortured become not only the object of compassion but the very vehicle of compassion itself, as angels or messengers of compassion.]