On this date, Communist Chinese troops sealed off three of Lhasa’s largest monasteries after Tibet’s biggest protests in almost 20 years deteriorated into violence, with shops and police cars set ablaze.
The most serious violence was touched off about 11 am today, Lhasa time, when monks from the Ramoche monastery prepared to stage a demonstration. According to Jane Macartney of the Times of London, police tried to stop the monks from entering the streets. Then a police car parked outside the monastery gate was set on fire as hundreds of Tibetans rallied around the monks. The protesters were demanding greater freedom of religion before the Beijing Olympic Games.
On Monday, March 10th, about 300 monks from Drepung Monastery on the outskirts of Lhasa had peacefully marched toward Barkhor Street in the central city, but Chinese People’s Armed Police stopped them before they reached the city. Police arrested monks suspected to be “ringleaders”. All the monks were seeking the release of fellow Drepung monks, who apparently had been detained as they tried to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s receipt of the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal in October, 2007.
(↑)Footage posted on the exile Tibetan Web site TibetOnline.tv in December 2011 of a crackdown by Chinese security forces in Tibet in 2008 indicates that the level of repression against Tibetans appears to be much more serious than generally acknowledged by the international community. Analysts believe it was leaked by someone in China, perhaps within the security apparatus, to show the true scale of repression in Tibet and nearby areas in China. _____________________________________________________
On March 13, China’s Foreign Ministry had accused the Tibetan monks of trying to cause social unrest and said the situation in Lhasa was stable. “We are resolutely opposed to any plots attempting to separate Tibet from China,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.
The Chinese Public Security Bureau imposed carte-blanche censorship of YouTube, the BBC, CNN, the Guardian, and other sites carrying video footage of the Tibetan people’s protests against the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
This video, produced by the Tibetan Government-in-exile in 2009, includes previously unreleased footage showing bound and defenseless Tibetans being brutally beaten in Lhasa in March 2008. _____________________________________________________
Ironically, by objecting to the above video produced by the Tibetan Government-in-exile and then blocking YouTube to make sure that no one in China’s borders could see the footage, the Chinese government made international headlines and ensured that millions more people will see and hear about the atrocity.
Tibet had varying degrees of autonomy from China until the Chinese Communist Party came to power in 1949. China invaded the country a year later and annexed the region in 1951.
- Wikileaks defies Chinese “Great Firewall” with 120 pictures and videos [viewer discretion advised]