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May 28 2009
New images of burning of wild animal
pelts in dramatic act of dissent
New images received from Tibet depict thousands of
dollars worth of wild animal pelts being burned in the
Tibetan area of Amdo, eastern Tibet, in a dramatic assertion
of Tibetan identity at the height of the current crackdown
on dissent. The photographs were taken in February 2009,
during Tibetan New Year, at a time when Tibetans sought
to mark the festival by mourning those killed in the
protests. This was in defiance of the Chinese authorities'
attempts to enforce celebration of the New Year. (The
images, along with this report, can be viewed at http://www.savetibet.org/media-center/ict-news-reports/new-images-burning-wild-animal-pelts-dramatic-act-dissent)
The burning of the wild animal furs as an expression
of Tibetan loyalties was originally inspired by a statement
made by the Dalai Lama during a major religious festival
in 2006 in which he said he felt "ashamed"
when he saw Tibetans wearing the pelts of endangered
animals such as tigers or leopards.
Immediately after he made the comments, Tibetans all
over Tibet began to burn animal skins - in monetary
value the equivalent of burning family cars or houses.
Their actions were expressions of loyalty both to the
Dalai Lama and to the Tibetan Buddhist culture, which
advocates compassion for all sentient beings. This is
the first known instance of wild animal pelt burning
linked to the protests that broke out across Tibet in
The animal pelts were burnt on February 9, 2009 in
a village in Tsolho (Chinese: Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture in Qinghai province in February, and the
images have only just reached Tibetan exiles. A Tibetan
source told ICT said that they believed the pelts had
a monetary value of more than 100,000 yuan (at least
US$14,000). Estimates of GNP per capita per year in
Tibet range from US$65 to US$200.
The Tibetan source who provided the images said: "The
purpose of the action is to show that Tibetans will
give up wearing animal skins completely and that they
did not want to celebrate the New Year in 2009, because
everyone thought it was a very black year for all Tibetan
people in and outside of Tibet. Also by organizing this
action, they would like to show their solidarity for
the people who have sacrificed their precious lives
for the freedom of Tibet after the violent crackdown
in Lhasa last year and across Tibetan areas inside Tibet
by the Chinese military forces."
The Chinese authorities had attempted to persuade Tibetans
to celebrate Tibetan New Year in order to convey an
impression of normalcy. The Tibetan writer Woeser expressed
Tibetans' widespread feelings on 'no Losar' in a blog
published earlier this year: "With events in Tibet
that started last year and still haven't stopped, there
are countless ordinary Tibetans still living and dying
under the barrels of the People's Armed Police guns,
countless ordinary Tibetans who are still behind bars,
and so how can their friends and families be happy in
their grief to see in the new year? The absurdity is
that the authorities do not see this." (A full
translation of the blog, 'A Great 'Civil Disobedience'
spreading throughout all of Tibet' appears in A Great
Mountain Burned by Fire: China¹s Crackdown in Tibet,
Chinese authorities encourage Tibetans to wear furs
to showcase the "exotic" Tibetan culture.
This has included encouraging - or requiring - Tibetans
at official events or performances to adorn themselves
with expensive hats and robes made of pelts from endangered
animals such as tigers or leopards.
Following the Dalai Lama's comments three years ago,
many Tibetans had stopped wearing such adornments and
critised those who did. (ICT reports at: https://nl.savetibet.org/news/newsitem.php?id=1172
A Tibetan blogger commented: "Obviously wearing
fur has become an expression of one's political standpoint,
and [at one festival in 2007 in eastern Tibet] the high
officials on their platform were watching to see which
people from which parts of Tibet had "political
consciousness". But the people watching the performances
were wearing considerably less fur than in previous
years; many wore colorful cotton where once they wore
fur trim." (http://woeser.middle-way.net/?action=show&id=191).
The Tibetan source who provided the new images of wild
animal pelt burning this year said that the protests
that have swept the Tibetan plateau since March, 2008,
were an expression of the frustration and resentment
against the vilification of the Dalai Lama by the Chinese
authorities. He told ICT: "It is not possible even
to say the name of His Holiness The Dalai Lama in the
presence of officials. But despite their propaganda,
we all know how highly honored and respected His Holiness
is in the world, and if he makes a speech anywhere,
so many people are waiting to hear about it. But all
information about His Holiness the Dalai Lama is shut
down inside Tibet. If the authorities noticed a small
picture of him somewhere in your work place or home,
you would be in jail for a while. That is the real situation
in Tibet today. Many of Tibetan people are dying without
hearing anything about His Holiness The Dalai Lama."
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May 26 2009
6 Tibetans Seriously Wounded in Protests
Dharamshala: At least 6 Tibetan women have sustained
serious gunshot wounds after Chinese security forces
opened fire at a group of Tibetans in Tawu County, who
were venting their anger against China's forceful relocation
of tens of thousands of local Tibetans, sources reported
The Public Security Bureau officials and People's Armed
Police indiscriminately fired at Tibetan residents of
Tawu and Nyagchu County in Karze Tibet Autonomous Prefecture,
at around 11 a.m. (local time) on Sunday, 24 May.
The sources attributed the incident to China's construction
of a major hydroelectric dam between Nyagchu and Tawu
County, which is resulting in a large-scale displacement
of local Tibetans. The government coerced local residents
of Tawu County to sign a document as it begin to plan
the construction work in early 2008.
This year the Chinese authorities again reinforce their
relocation plan, which was vehemently opposed by the
Tibetans who refused to leave their ancestral lands
Subsequently, on 5 May 2009, the Chinese government
dispatched a large number of armed police to the region
and destroyed homes of some families, including those
of Ati Gyatso Tsang and Chego Pezi Tsang.
Earlier, the authorities convened a meeting and erected
a stone pillar in their plan to relocate the residents
of Wara Mato town to another place. Expressing strong
opposition to the forced relocation policy, the angry
residents led by an old woman named Lhamo, who is believed
to be aged above 70, refused to move saying they are
owner of the land and destroyed the pillar.
Consequently, as residents from Tawu and Nyagchu districts
gathered in the region to protest the arrival of large
number of troops on the morning of 24 May, the army
fired shots leaving six Tibetan women seriously wounded.
Those wounded have been identified as Tsering Lhamo,
Rigzin Lhamo, Dolma, Kelsang, Dolkar and Khaying.
But sources could not tell whether those injured are
dead or alive as they were forcibly taken away after
the firing incident.
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May 25 2009
China displaces tens and thousands
of Tibetans in Tawu County
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD)
received reliable information that the Tibetans in Tawu
County protested against a construction of a major hydroelectric
dam that resulted in a displacement of tens and thousands
of local Tibetans.
Currently the Chinese government is undertaking a construction
of a major hydroelectric dam between Nyag-chu and Tawu
County, which is resulting in a large-scale displacement
of local Tibetans in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
(TAP), Sichuan Province, much against their
The local Chinese authorities on 24 May 2009 issued
orders to local Tibetans to assemble at Tawu County
headquarter for a public announcement. During the meeting,
the local Tibetans were told about Chinese governments
plan to re-settle them to some other place so as to
clear the way for the construction of hydroelectric
Just moments after the announcement of dam construction,
local Tibetans in the gathering immediately broke up
into major protest against the government plans. They
were reportedly shouting slogans to the local authorities
that, this place has been our ancestral dwelling
place for countless generations and therefore we dont
want to leave our homes. We are not going to move away
to any other places come what may.
Within moments, Chinese security personnel consisting
of both Public Security Bureau (PSB) and Peoples
Armed Police (PAP) lobbed tear gas and carried out violent
means to disperse the agitating crowd. During the crackdown,
six Tibetans including a 70-year-old woman, Guru Dolma,
Rigzin Dolma and others sustained serious injuries at
the hands of Chinese security personnel. The seriously
injured Tibetans were taken away in a van to a nearby
hospital but there was no information about their well-being
and health condition.
Since the commencement of the dam construction in last
year in Tawu County, the Chinese authorities had been
forcing local Tibetans to re-locate and abandon their
ancestral homes and those who defy official decree were
beaten and tortured. Of late, 5 May 2009, the Chinese
security forces as well as construction workers have
been stationing in Wara town to push ahead the construction
of the dam.
The TCHRD expresses serious concern at the plight of
Tibetans in Tawu County and urges the international
community to pressurize the Chinese government.
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May 22 2009
Chinese rule in Tibet is built
on ethnic inequality and perpetuates a self-serving
elite, a groundbreaking new report by Beijing academics
By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
The Telegraph (UK)
The report, written by scholars in Beijing, has been
hailed by both Tibetans and Chinese as a revealing look
at the troubled region. It suggests that a new Tibetan
"aristocracy" has seized power in the region.
Unlike Tibet's previous rulers, who were supported by
the tribes and by the monasteries, the new Tibetan ruling
cadres are funded by Beijing in return for absolute
To mask their shortcomings, and reinforce their power,
they have spread propaganda blaming the Dalai Lama for
Tibet's social problems, the report concludes. "They
use every opportunity to play the separatism card,"
said Phun Tshogs Dbang Rjyal, a Communist party member
in Tibet who is quoted by the report.
Four students at Beijing University, China's most prestigious
academic institution, travelled through Tibet in the
aftermath of widespread riots in March 2008. Their conclusions
provide a more balanced look of Tibet's social problems,
highlighting problems in the local government and the
education system, than any account previously published
It was commissioned by Gongmeng, or the Open Constitution
Initiative, a think tank founded in 2003 by some of
China's most prominent liberal lawyers and university
professors. "This is the first independent analysis
of the situation in Tibet from within China," said
Nicholas Becquelin, a research director at Human Rights
Watch. He added that the report was a break from a series
of "highly ideological" reports. "This
is a factual analysis of the underlying social factors,"
Last years unrest began in Lhasa but quickly spread
through Tibet and its neighbouring regions, leading
to an armed response by Chinese soldiers and the loss
of over 140 lives, according to the Tibetan government-in-exile.
China has previously blamed the Dalai Lama for fanning
the violence, and said that over 100 agents of Tibet's
religious leader had organised the protests.
Senior Communist Party figures, such as Feng Lanrui,
a former State Council strategist, are part of the think
tank's circle of advisors. It also highlighted the tensions
caused by a drive to industrialise the region and move
Tibetans from farms into the cities. Once unskilled
Tibetans have moved to Lhasa, it concludes, they find
it hard to compete for jobs with better-educated Han
Yang Ziyun, the editor of the report, said the report
had won support on internet forums, but has not yet
been published formally. "We are not sure how it
will be received," she said.
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May 21 2009
Deaths of two Tibetans after torture
Over the past year, since protests broke out on March
10, 2008, the Chinese government has sought to block
all information reaching the outside world on the torture,
disappearances and killings that have taken place across
Tibet. A full accounting of Tibetans who died in protests
since March 2008 is not yet possible as a result, and
due to the intense climate of fear in the region (see
report A Great Mountain Burned by Fire: Chinas
Crackdown in Tibet, http://www.savetibet.org/media-center/ict-press-releases/a-great-mountain-burned-fire-chinas-crackdown-tibet).
This report gives details of the deaths of two Tibetans
in different areas of Tibet as a result of being subjected
to excessive brutality in custody. These are not isolated
incidents; many other deaths following torture have
occurred, but full details are often not known.
The account of 28-year old Tendars death reached
the outside world after the Tibetan government in exile
made a video available which featured disturbing images
of his body after torture. There are now fears for the
safety of his step-father after news of the death became
known. His mother is reportedly under close police surveillance.
Tendar was taken into custody on March 14, 2008, after
he tried to help an elderly monk who was being beaten
In a separate incident, Paltsal Kyab, a 45-year old
nomad, died in May, 2008, after being taken into police
custody following a protest in his hometown on March
17, 2008. Paltsal Kyab, who left five children, had
told protestors not to burn any buildings and to follow
the non-violent path. But he was taken into custody
and died after brutal beatings in detention.
A Tibetan writer referred to Paltsal Kyabs death
in a collection of writings called Eastern Snow Mountain
that was banned immediately after publication: To
say that someone has been beaten to death, isn't this
something that should never have to be said in this
day and age? To say that someone has been beaten to
death is something that recalls the terror of the "Democratic
Reform" era [of the late 1950s/ early '60s].
The Killing of Tendar
Twenty-eight year old Tendars death following
torture after his arrest for trying to help an elderly
monk was featured in a video released by the Tibetan
government in exile in March (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiZL9zvQ3Sc
A Tibetan blogger writing in Chinese described the images
as follows: One of his legs was cut with many
bloody knife wounds and a nail had been driven in to
a toenail on his right foot. A great deal of flesh had
been cut away from his bottom, where the wound was rotting
and infested with insects. Where his waist had been
beaten with electric batons, the flesh had started to
decay. There were many wounds on his back and on his
face. One of the wounds was covered with transparent
tape. Because he had not received any medical care,
he was already on the verge of death.
The Chinese government reacted strongly to the release
of the video, blocking Youtube for a period after it
was publicized internationally, and stating that the
Dalai group fabricates information about Tibet.
(Lhasa riot footage has been doctored,
China Daily, March 27, 2009, http://eng.tibet.cn/news/today/200903/t20090327_465187.htm).
Chinas response to the video ensured that more
people knew about Tendars death, although full
details have not been made public until now. The account
below is compiled using testimony from several sources.
There are now fears for the welfare of Tendars
retired step-father, who is in his early sixties, since
news of the death reached the outside world.
Tendar worked in the customer services department of
a Chinese telecommunications company and lived in Lhasa.
On March 14, when Tibetan protests turned violent on
the streets of Lhasa, Tendar witnessed an elderly monk
being beaten by Chinese security personnel. Although
details of what happened are sketchy, according to reports
by Tibetans who know Tendar, and others in Lhasa on
that day, it seems that Tendar tried to help the monk,
by telling the police to have mercy on him. He did so
at a time that armed police were opening fire on the
rioters. Tendar was shot and fell to the ground. Still
conscious, he was taken away by police. A Tibetan source
who was in Lhasa after the incident and spoke to Tibetans
who know Tendar said: The injury didnt appear
to be life-threatening. I was told that he was taken
to the Lhasa General Hospital that is run by the Peoples
Liberation Army. While he was at the hospital, a team
of four to five Chinese security personnel visited him
every four to six hours. During those times they took
turns in beating him while interrogating him about his
involvement [in the March 14 protests]. They were using
iron rods and cigarette butts to burn his skin. He was
tortured repeatedly and his condition deteriorated rapidly.
At this time, none of Tendars family or friends
knew where he was, a pattern consistent with the wave
of disappearances that took place after March 14, and
that is still occurring in some areas. Through connections,
Tendars family managed to locate him. When they
were allowed to visit, he was in shock, and in
excruciating pain. Every movement of his body would
cause him to scream with pain, said the same Tibetan
source. He was unable to walk and his body appeared
to be paralysed from the waist down. Tendar said that
he had witnessed a Tibetan monk at the hospital being
beaten to death with iron bars by security personnel.
He begged to be taken home.
The same Tibetan source said: While at hospital,
Tendar had tried to kill himself twice by jumping off
the window from his room. He had managed to drag his
body to the window but was unable to get out as he could
not move the lower part of his body.
The Tibetan source believes that Tendar was only released
to his family as the authorities knew there was no hope
of his recovery. This is consistent with other cases
where Tibetans have died after torture; the authorities
seek to avoid being responsible for a persons
death while they are under their charge. His relatives
attempted to get medical care for him but hospitals
were reluctant to take him into their care due to the
political sensitivity of a patient who had been involved
on March 14. Tendar was finally admitted to the Peoples
Hospital near the Potala Palace, where he was immediately
taken into intensive care. The Tibetan source said:
Some of the nursing staff had tears in their eyes
when they saw the serious nature of his injuries.
Tendar spent 20 days in hospital and his condition continued
to deteriorate. He became unconscious, and medical staff
told his family that there was nothing more they could
do for him. Tendars family had to pay a medical
bill of 90,000 yuan ($13,000) before they could take
Tendar died at home 13 days later, on June 19, 2008.
Video footage obtained by the Tibetan government in
exile depicts vultures at his sky burial site at Toelung,
west of Lhasa. The same Tibetan source, who is no longer
in Tibet but who spoke to eyewitnesses, said: One
could see on his body the marks of iron rods. His body
was nothing but bone and skin. When his body was being
prepared for the vultures [a ritual called Jhador in
Tibetan], a slender metal bar or long nail about one-third
of a meter in length was found inserted through the
bottom of his leg. This appeared to be one of the torture
instruments used during interrogation.
The story of Tendars death is well-known in Lhasa
and has even been written about by Tibetan bloggers
in Chinese. Many people who did not know Tendar but
who had heard about him came to mark his death at important
dates afterwards. Those who were fearful of attending
these occasions due to being seen by security personnel
sent money and Khatags [white Tibetan blessing scarves],
said the same source.
A Tibetan writer said: Several hundred Tibetans
came to his funeral services. Many came out of deep
sympathy for a stranger who suffered a terrible tragedy.
At the funeral service, the mother of this youth said
sadly, I cry not only for my son who died a tragic
death, I cry even more for those sons who are being
tortured. As a mother, I cant imagine the torments
and suffering my son endured in prison.
According to different Tibetan sources, there are a
number of cases over the past year where Tibetans were
initially injured by either gunfire or beatings while
being taken into custody. Although these initial injuries
did not appear to be life-threatening, torture following
detention has in these cases led to dramatic deterioration
and death. Tibetans taken into custody with bullet wounds
after March 14, 2008, were rarely given medical treatment
according to sources. According to anecdotal reports
from Lhasa, the worst torture was carried out by Peoples
Liberation Army and Peoples Armed Police troops
brought in from outside the city.
The death of Paltsal Kyab after torture
Shikalo [Jakpalo] a man in his forties from Charo
Xiang in Ngaba county, was beaten to death on false
charges. His precious life has fizzled out. This father
and cornerstone of his household leaves behind him a
widow and [five] orphans, weeping inside. This life-demeaning
disaster has ruined life for one household.
- Extract from The Eastern Snow Mountain (Shar Dungri),
a collection of writings from the Tibetan area of Amdo
that is the only known material in Tibetan on the 2008
protests to have been published in the PRC.
On May 26, 2008, two local township leaders in Charo
township, Ngaba (Chinese: Aba), Sichuan (the Tibetan
area of Amdo) came to tell the family of 45-year old
nomad Paltsal Kyab, also known as Jakpalo, that he was
dead. Although officials said that he had died of
natural causes while being held in custody following
a protest in the area on March 17, 2008, when the body
was released to the family there were clear signs of
torture and brutal beatings.
Paltsal Kyabs younger brother, Kalsang, who now
lives in exile, told ICT that according to witnesses
who saw his body, The whole front of his body
was completely bruised blue and covered with blisters
from burns. His whole back was also covered in bruises,
and there was not even a tiny spot of natural skin tone
on his back and front torso. His arms were also severely
bruised with clumps of hardened blood.
Paltsal Kyab, who was married with five children, was
taken into custody following a peaceful demonstration
that occurred in Charo on March 17, 2008. According
to anecdotal accounts from the area given to Paltsal
Kyabs brother, around 100 young Tibetans held
a protest on the main street because they believed
that the United Nations and foreign media chose not
to listen to and see the truth in Tibet. The Tibetans
began to talk about burning a building down. According
to his brother, Paltsal Kyab told the Tibetans that
it was important not to take this action, saying: We
Tibetans must follow His Holiness the Dalai Lamas
non-violent path. Our only weapon is our truth. The
building belongs to the government, but several Tibetan
and Chinese families are living in there. At least
three people in a building nearby testified to police
that Paltsal Kyab had persuaded the Tibetans not to
be violent, according to Kalsang.
After the incident, according to his friends, Paltsal
talked about going to the police station to tell officers
that he had not committed any violation such as destroying
buildings or cars, or harming anyone. But he heard from
his friends that his name was already on the wanted
list, and that individuals who were detained were being
badly beaten. Paltsal went to see a relative who was
ill out of town.
On April 9 last year, at around midnight, 11 police
raided Paltsals home, while a truckload of armed
soldiers waited outside. According to reports from the
family, one police officer pointed a gun at the head
of Paltsals 14 year old son and asked him where
his father was. His son replied that his father had
gone to see his relative who was ill. Paltsals
wife was then dragged out of her room and asked the
same question. She gave the same answer as her son,
but gave a different name of the relative. Because they
had given different names, the police claimed that they
were lying, and Paltsals son was taken into custody.
On arrival at the police station the teenager was slapped,
kicked and punched for hours during interrogation. He
was released the next day.
When Paltsal was told about his son, he came home immediately.
Kalsang said: Our family had heard that the Chinese
government says that people involved in protest must
surrender voluntarily and that people who did so would
be treated leniently, as opposed to people who are seized
by police. Paltsals relatives told him that he
was a father of five children so that it wouldnt
be possible for him to hide from police throughout his
life. Paltsal also knew that his son had been beaten
and interrogated. So he decided to surrender voluntarily.
On April 17 or 18, 2008, Paltsal went to the local police
station and gave himself up. He was held there for two
weeks and then transferred to a detention center in
Ngaba on April 27, 2008. The family heard nothing about
his condition or whereabouts until May 26, 2008, when
two local township leaders came to Paltsals home
to inform his wife and children of his death.
Paltsals family members were allowed to collect
his body from the detention center. Kalsang says: Upon
arrival, the relatives were told by the Ngaba police
that the cause of his death was sickness, not torture.
They also allegedly claimed that they had taken him
to a hospital twice because of his kidney and stomach
problems. But his relatives said that when Paltsal went
to the police station to surrender he was a normal healthy
man with no history of any major health problems. The
police officers never acknowledged the cause of death
as torture but they immediately started to offer money
to the family. The family was not allowed to take photos
of his body or tell anyone anything about what had happened.
Kalsang said that he was later informed by various sources
that his elder brother had been very badly tortured
in custody. Family members asked for permission to take
his body to Kirti monastery in Ngaba. It is important
in Tibetan culture for prayers to be said for a person
immediately after his death in order to help ensure
a peaceful transition. But the army refused permission.
Kalsang said: They even could not take Paltsals
body to Kirti monastery to pray for Paltsals soul.
Paltsal was given a traditional sky burial, with police
officers present, including two senior Tibetan police
officers. Kalsang said: It was obvious from the
condition of Paltsals body that he had suffered
an agonizing and painful death due to severe torture,
not of natural causes. Those preparing his body
for burial, which involves dismemberment, told the family
that there was severe damage to his internal organs,
including his small intestines, gall-bladder and kidneys.
A Tibetan writer from Ngaba, the Tibetan area of Amdo,
wrote anonymously about Paltsals death in a collection
of writings called Shar Dungri, or Eastern Snow Mountain.
The article, entitled, What human rights do we
have over our bodies? was written by a writer
who calls himself Nyen, The Wild One, from
Sichuan. He writes: To say that someone has been
beaten to death, isn't this something that should never
have to be said in this day and age? To say that someone
has been beaten to death is something that recalls the
terror of the Democratic Reform era [of
the late '50s/ early '60s]. Generally speaking, no-one
enjoys vengeance or continuing old
feuds. But for the young generation, the murder
of their father leaves an impression that cannot be
forgotten as long as they live. That is the certain
outcome of repression, beating and killing. We have
no wish for revenge or feuds.
We call for reaching a time in which the younger generation
will have no 'revenge' to seek or feuds
to settle. The young generation has not come into this
world for revenge or to settle feuds, but to see the
spectacle of a brighter tomorrow, to seek refuge in
a place enjoying the bright spring of freedom, democracy
(Translated into English by ICT. The full article
is published in the report A Great Mountain Burned
by Fire: Chinas Crackdown in Tibet', http://www.savetibet.org/media-center/ict-press-releases/a-great-mountain-burned-fire-chinas-crackdown-tibet).
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May 19 2009
Chinese think tank investigation
report of 3.14 incident in Tibet
Fools Mountain: Blogging for China
Chinese think-tank (Beijing Gongmeng Consulting Co.,
Ltd. ) established by Beijing University law professors,
and joined by several Beijing economics professors.
Following the unrest and demonstrations in Tibet which
started Mach 10th, 2009, they decided to see for themselves
what was really happening in Tibet by visiting Lhasa,
the capital of Tibet, and Labrang, outside Tibet Autonomous
Their findings are astonishing. They find that a new
Tibetan aristocracy has taken over power. This aristocracy
is even worse than the old Tibetan aristocracy. In the
old system the aristocracy was reliant on some sort
of accord and agreement with the people, since they
were dependent on the people to pay taxes. The new aristocracy
get all their funding directly for Beijing (Central
government) due to “stability” reasons, and thus they
do not have any incentive to care about the well-being
of Tibetans. They show how the new aristocracy cover
up their own shortcomings in governance and lack of
qualifications by pointing fingers at foreign forces
and the Dalai Lama. This new aristocracy came to power
in the cultural revolution.
In other parts of China, this type of unqualified leadership
was purged in the 80s, but in Tibet (due to their absolute
loyality to Beijing), they were kept in power, up untill
today. They point to specific educational policy problems
and find that the younger generation of Tibetans who
grew up in a “liberated” Tibet has stronger Tibetan
national identity than the elder generation.
The report can be found here: https://docs.google.com/Doc?id=df4nrxxq_91ctcf6sck
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May 15 2009
China's Zhao decries June 4 "tragedy"
from the grave
From Reuters - By Benjamin Kang Lim and Chris Buckley
BEIJING, May 14 (Reuters) - Two decades after his downfall
and four years after his death, reformist Chinese leader
Zhao Ziyang has broken the official silence on the 1989
Tiananmen crackdown, denouncing the killings of protesters
as a "tragedy".
In memoirs recorded secretly under house arrest, Zhao
has challenged China's cautious, current leaders just
before the 20th anniversary of June 4, when troops crushed
pro-democracy protests centred on Tiananmen Square in
He praises Western-style democracy and denounces the
armed quelling of the protests, when troops and tanks
pushed down Chang'an Avenue, shooting demonstrators
"On the night of June 3rd, while sitting in the
courtyard with my family, I heard intense gunfire,"
says Zhao. "A tragedy to shock the world had not
Zhao, who was head of the Communist Party in 1989,
rejects the government's claim that the student protesters
were part of an anti-Communist conspiracy.
"I had said at the time that most people were
only asking us to correct our flaws, not attempting
to overthrow our political system," Zhao says in
the book "Prisoner of the State", to be published
by Simon & Schuster in English this month ahead
of the 20th anniversary.
The memoirs, about 30 hours of tape, were given to
three confidants and smuggled out of China. A manuscript
was obtained by Reuters.
Zhao's account of Party elders pushing him from power
sheds rare light on the political warring behind the
protests that shook China 20 years ago, culminating
in his ouster and the crackdown that killed hundreds
on the streets of Beijing.
"I told myself that no matter what, I refused
to become the (Party) general secretary who mobilised
the military to crack down on students," he says.
Zhao had his eyes fixed on China's future when he secretively
recorded his memories throughout years under house detention
until his death in January 2005. He decries what he
saw as the mistaken conservative path taken by the Party
after 1989 and argues for a gradual transition to Western-style
"In fact, it is the Western parliamentary democratic
system that has demonstrated the most vitality,"
"If we don't move toward this goal, it will be
impossible to resolve the abnormal conditions in China's
China's current leaders brush aside the "disturbance"
of 20 years ago as a distant event with a settled official
verdict, and Zhao's book is sure to be banned by authorities
who will seek to stop copies of the Chinese edition
slipping into the mainland.
But Zhao remains a symbol of reformist rectitude to
sympathisers and, with even apolitical citizens eager
to learn about the Party's secretive ways, copies may
Bao Pu, a Hong Kong-based publisher and son of Zhao's
former top aide, said Zhao apparently wanted to give
his version of events to challenge the Party's official
condemnation of the Tiananmen protesters and its one-Party
"He did not leave instructions ... but clearly
he wanted his story to survive," said Bao, whose
New Century Press is publishing the Chinese edition
of the book.
"It's a crucial period of history that defines
modern day China. It contradicts the government's version
of the truth."
Bao Pu's father, Bao Tong, lives under police surveillance
in Beijing but has been allowed to meet foreign reporters.
BREAKING WITH DENG
The thread running through Zhao's memories of his rise
and fall is his tortured bond with Deng Xiaoping, the
wizened revolutionary veteran who steered China to market
reforms but rejected -- ultimately with force -- calls
for democratic change.
Deng is honoured by China as the pioneer behind the
country's economic success, and Zhao's account of double-crossing
and betrayal under Deng is likely to irk the country's
current leaders, who like to present an image of solid
Zhao rejects the notion Deng was instinctively in favour
of political relaxation but was led astray by conservatives.
"Deng had always stood out among the Party elders
as the one who emphasised the means of dictatorship.
He often reminded people about its usefulness,"
Deng's notions of democracy "were no more than
Deng was paramount among Party elders who dominated
behind the scenes while Zhao and his colleague, Hu Yaobang,
coaxed officials to break up rural communes and strictures
on private business that Communist leader Mao Zedong
made his legacy.
But by the late 1980s, Zhao found it increasingly difficult
to weave between conservatives enraged by the crumbling
of Soviet socialism and the advances of market reforms
and intellectuals and advisers who wanted to push past
barriers to economic and then political liberalisation.
Zhao says that in ousting him from power, Deng, then-premier
Li Peng and Party conservatives trampled on rules meant
to prevent a return to Mao's years of arbitrary, one-man
The remedy to China's problems, Zhao says, lies in
gradual but unceasing movement towards democracy.
"I believe the time has come for us to tackle
this issue seriously," he concludes.
(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing and
James Pomfret in Hong Kong; Editing by Nick Macfie and
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May 14 2009
FACTBOX: China's leaders in 1989
BEIJING - China's 1989 pro-democracy movement split
the Communist Party leadership and triggered a power
struggle that ended in a bloody crackdown on student
protesters in the pre-dawn hours of June 4, 1989.
Following are profiles of key leaders at the time:
* DENG XIAOPING, then the power behind the throne in
China, sent in tanks and troops to crush the student-led
demonstrations for democracy centered on Beijing's Tiananmen
Square on June 3-4 that year. He died on February 19,
1997, aged 92, after reviving the economy with a dramatic
tour of the south in 1992.
* ZHAO ZIYANG was toppled as China's Communist Party
chief and accused of splitting the Party for challenging
Deng's decision to crush the protests. Zhao refused
to repent and spent more than 15 years under house arrest
until his death in Beijing on January 17, 2005.
* JIANG ZEMIN rose from Communist Party boss of Shanghai,
where he quelled parallel protests without bloodshed,
to oust Zhao as national Party chief in 1989. Zhao's
political ghost haunted Jiang, who refused to end Zhao's
house arrest. Jiang held on to power for 13 years before
retiring as Party chief in 2002.
* LI PENG is known as the "Butcher of Beijing"
for declaring martial law on national television days
before the bloody crackdown. Li, then the premier, was
reviled by many and the butt of jokes but he was a political
survivor and went on to become parliament chief. Writing
in retirement, Li sought to wash his hands and clear
* BAO TONG, Zhao's top aide, was ousted from the Party's
elite Central Committee and was the most senior official
jailed for sympathizing with student protesters. He
lives under tight, round-the-clock police surveillance
and remains a thorn in the government's side as an outspoken
critic of the country's human rights record and the
slow pace of political reform.
* CHEN XITONG, Beijing mayor, supported the crackdown
and emerged as Jiang's main rival. Chen was ousted in
an anti-corruption campaign in 1995 and sentenced to
16 years in jail. He has reportedly been released on
* HU JINTAO, now China's top leader, was Party secretary
in Tibet in 1989. He declared martial law in Lhasa in
March 1989, following clashes between Tibetan protesters
and police. Hu was selected by Deng in 1992 as heir
apparent to Jiang.
* WEN JIABAO, then director of the General Office under
the Communist Party's Central Committee, accompanied
Zhao to Tiananmen Square, where Zhao made an emotional
appeal to protesting students to leave. While Zhao was
ousted days later, Wen not only survived, but went on
to become premier in 2003.
(Compiled by Benjamin Kang Lim and Lucy Hornby; Editing
by Nick Macfie and Dean Yates)
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May 7 2009
Chinese lawyers instrumental
in Tibetan monk's release
Dharamsala, May 7 - Two Chinese human rights lawyers,
Li Fanping and Jiang Tianyong, have hands in the release
of Jigme, 42, a monk who spoke on camera of his ordeals
after the last years March unrest, reported Times
Li Fangping was quoted by Times Online as saying, He
was released partly because there was insufficient evidence.
Even though he spoke about how he was tortured after
the March 14 incident, this was insufficient to make
a criminal case. He is now released on bail.
Mr Li said that the appearance of lawyers to argue
on Jigmes behalf was vital factor in his release.
When the police told him that lawyers had come
forward to help him, he said he wanted legal representation.
Before we even had time to see him, he had been released.
Acording to Times Online, Jigme was released on May
2 and returned a day later to his monastery, half a
year after dozens of police raided his quarters and
took him away for the second time in a year.
The duo also represent Trulku Phurbu Tsering, a prominent
Tibetan Buddhist leader facing charges of illegal possession
of arms. It is the second time in recent weeks that
the two lawyers have come forward to help a detained
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May 6 2009
Chinese Scholars Discuss Tibet
with the Dalai Lama
Phayul| By Bhuchung D Sonam
Waldorf Astoria, New York City: In his continuous effort
to build a viable connection with Chinese people, His
Holiness the Dalai Lama met with over 120 scholars and
dissidents. They include Harry Wu, Dr. Yang Jian Li,
Xu Wen Li, Hu Ping, and many others.
My body looks the same, but one organ missing,
began His Holiness referring to his gallbladder operation
last year. But my health is very good.
After a big round of applause, the Tibetan leader drove
straight to the heart of the matter by appealing to
the Chinese people to investigate thoroughly
about Tibet-China problem by going to Tibet.
If 60-70 percent of the Tibetans are happy in
Tibet, we have nothing to complain, the Dalai
Lama said, who further mentioned that if that is not
the case, then the Chinese Government must realize that
things are not right inside Tibet.
Since the Chinese Communist Party refuses to accept
the reality in Tibet, the 73-year-old Tibetan leader
said that the Chinese scholars, intellectuals and students
must make Tibetan issue clear to Chinese people living
Massive Chinese official propaganda has created a huge
misunderstanding between the Chinese and Tibetans, sometimes
leading to animosity.
I always try to meet with Chinese intellectuals.
Because the Tibetan problem must be solved between Han
brothers and sisters and Tibetans and no one else,
the Nobel laureate said.
While responding to a question from Xu Wen Li about
Tibetan demand for Greater Tibet, the Dalai
Lama said that for a cultural survival and for practical
realistic reasons all of Tibet must be united.
We are not talking about independence. Hence
if I talk only about a section of Tibet it will not
be right. I am fighting for rights mentioned in the
constitution [of China.] All of Tibet must be given
equal rights in terms of culture and tradition,
His Holiness said.
According to the 1989 Nobel laureate, it is important
for China to gradually move towards a more open democratic
society but not in the footsteps of Soviet Union.
The Communist Party has reigned long enough,
the Dalai Lama said. Now it is time for a retirement.
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May 1 2009
A Manifesto on Freedom Sets
Chinas Persecution Machinery in Motion
By Michael Wines| New York Times
BEIJING Behind the west Beijing apartment building
where Liu Xia keeps a fifth-floor flat, the police have
built a guardhouse. Its purpose is not to protect Ms.
Liu, who seeks no safeguarding. The house is for the
guards who watch her.
Inside, they take notes to record her comings and goings.
When she ventures out, a guard picks up the phone. Soon,
a sedan with darkened windows carrying a man with a
telephoto-lens camera is trailing her.
During a recent chat in a nearby teahouse, Ms. Liu
wondered aloud why she unnerves Chinas rulers
enough to merit her own guardhouse. She is not active
in politics, she said, and does not even use a computer.
I take photos, paint paintings, write poems, read
books, cook food, she said with a mirthless laugh.
But, of course, she knows why. She is married to Liu
Xiaobo, a writer, philosopher and democracy advocate.
On Dec. 10, Mr. Liu and 302 others issued a manifesto,
called Charter 08, that urged Chinas Communist
Party to abandon monopoly rule and establish a multiparty
system of government.
The police seized Mr. Liu two days before Charter 08
was released. He has been locked ever since in a windowless
room about an hours drive north of central Beijing.
He is denied access to lawyers, to pen and paper and,
except for two brief visits, to his wife.
He is allowed to ask for books. His latest request
was for the works of Kafka.
Perhaps Mr. Liu sees himself in Gregor Samsa, the Kafka
protagonist who, transformed into a giant pest, is locked
in a room in the hope that out of sight
will become out of mind.
But his captors plight is also surreal. Signed
by leading intellectuals, including some with links
to the Communist Party, Charter 08 has been called the
most important political statement since the 1989 Tiananmen
Increasingly, Liu Xiaobo is no ordinary dissident,
but an international cause. And the crackdown on him
and his wife shows signs of becoming a public-relations
dilemma for Chinese leaders.
If they dont suppress this matter, its
influence will keep growing, said Zhang Zuhua,
a political theorist who helped Mr. Liu and others draft
the charter. But the more they suppress it, the
more its influence will grow.
Mr. Zhang also has a police guard, and a sedan that
follows him. He has been warned that he is under investigation
and should not make political waves.
Charter 08 concerns party rulers, some contend, because
it posits an alternative to their monopoly just as China
is integrating with an overwhelmingly democratic world.
Among the 20 largest economies, China is alone in enshrining
single-party rule in its Constitution. Russia and China
both persecute political opponents. But only China is
visibly agitated by Charter 08s premises: that
people should elect their leaders, divide power among
governments branches and make the military answerable
Freedom is at the core of universal human values,
the charter states. The government exists for
the protection of the human rights of its citizens.
And, it states, The most fundamental principles
of democracy are that the people are sovereign, and
the people select their government.
Mr. Liu and Mr. Zhang first drafted those phrases more
than three years ago with about eight other friends.
Their inspirations, Mr. Zhang said in an interview,
were the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence,
Frances 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man
and of the Citizen and Taiwans 1980s democracy
Mr. Zhang says their goals are evolutionary, not revolutionary.
Most of the signers witnessed the destruction of Chinas
last pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989;
some, including Mr. Liu, were participants in that movement.
Twenty years later, Mr. Zhang said, we
all think that China will head toward liberal democracy
eventually. But the problem is that we cannot use such
sacrificial means again. So how to find a better way
toward democratization thats more suitable to
People must come up with a constructive view.
Thats the main idea behind Charter 08, he
Such manifestos are hardly new. In December 1978, the
Fifth Modernization, a proposed liberalization of the
political system to go with Chinas other moves
toward modernity, was posted on Beijings Democracy
Wall and its author was handed a 15-year prison
sentence. Evidence of the document was wiped from Chinese
Whether Charter 08 and Mr. Liu will meet similar fates
remains unclear. Thirty years later, party leaders appear
equally determined to retain power, but more cautious
Censors have deleted Charter 08 from Chinese-language
Internet pages and chat rooms, and some Web sites publishing
pro-charter bloggers have been shut down. Without mentioning
the charter, party leaders have railed against multiparty
democracy and separation of powers as Western-imposed
erroneous ideological interferences.
Many of the charters original signers have been
interrogated; some have lost prominent positions or,
in one case, been transferred from Beijing to remotest
Mr. Liu, the only signer to be detained, is officially
under residential surveillance, suspected
of inciting subversion. But his secret confinement,
lacking even a written explanation, meets no legal standard,
his lawyer said.
Mr. Zhang says the aim of the authorities is to smother
the charter with a minimum of force and international
outcry. They make a very precise calculation,
he said. If they can manage to suppress this matter
by arresting only Liu Xiaobo, then thats the best
deal for them.
Yet Charter 08 continues, slowly, to gain adherents.
Mr. Zhang says considerably more than 8,000 Chinese
citizens have joined the original 303 signers, representing
a swath of society well outside the clique of political
dissidents. Another tranche of signatures is imminent.
In Beijing, the police recently searched the flat of
a man who printed T-shirts with Mr. Lius face
on the front and Charter 08 on the back.
In Nanying, a central city of about a million, an oil
refinery worker named Liu Linna handed out perhaps 100
copies of the charter on April 4 before the police seized
Seeing how severely Charter 08 was blocked on
the Internet, I could not stand it, she said.
So I decided, if I cant talk about it on
the Web, then I must spread the word on the streets.
Liu Xia says her husband passes his time in detention
watching sports his captors recently installed
a television and lying in bed, planning his legal
defense. It is a familiar role. Mr. Liu spent two years
in prison after the 1989 Tiananmen protests, and three
years in a labor camp starting in 1996 for challenging
single-party rule and advocating negotiations with the
Dalai Lama over Tibet.
Liu Xia and Mr. Zhang meet weekly to play badminton.
Their sedans follow them to the game and wait outside
the court until they have finished. Then the automobiles
follow them home.
Jonathan Ansfield contributed reporting.
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