There is trouble in Tibet. And some reports indicate that things are only going to get worse in the near future.
Protests over Chinese Rule, controlled by both police and Chinese military, have spread beyond Lhasa, according to recent reports, and the Dalai Lama has called for an international inquiry into the deaths of many protesters.
The clashes in Aba, known as Ngawa in Tibetan, happened around 1200 local time on Sunday, according to Kate Saunders of the International Campaign for Tibet….
“According to reliable reports the police opened fire,” said Ms Saunders, who is in London but said she had indirect phone and web access to eyewitness accounts. “We know there have been deaths.”
She said that more than 1,000 monks had been on the streets of the town, which is home to a large monastery.
Accounts of how many people died differ, but she said the most reliable eyewitness source put the toll at seven.
Reuters news agency cited an unnamed police officer in Aba saying that Tibetans had thrown petrol bombs, burned a police station, and torched vehicles during the clashes.
As you probably know, the Chinese plan to send the Olympic Torch up to the top of Mt. Everest, and it would travel through Tibet. In fact, a colleague of mine (who shall remain nameless) is planning to go to Tibet soon, to visit sites along the base of Everest that are linked with this ceremony, representing his country and dropping off various offerings of scientific international unity, etc. etc., with the Chinese and the Tibetans.
But I think the Chinese are being taken a bit by surprise. They don’t really own Tibet …. they just think they do …. and weaving the territory into carefully laid Olympic plans is proving tricky.
There is now a “midnight deadline” set (for tonight) of as yet unspecified meaning, after which a refreshed military crackdown is feared. According to James Miles, possibly the only western journalize in Lhasa:
From our hotel rooftop, crouching low as is now the norm, I saw a patrol of troops disappearing around a corner. They appeared to have two Tibetan women with them. Under arrest? Escorting them home? It was impossible to tell. For the first time since the rioting began on Friday there was no sign during the day of any attempt to gather on the streets.
One Tibetan said that he saw troops with rifles clustered on a nearby rooftop.
Polite officials from the Tibetan government’s Foreign Affairs Office visited the hotel yesterday. One said he wanted to relay the concerns of his bosses about my welfare. He was concerned too about the supply of food and offered to help if I wanted to leave before my permit expired. It might be difficult, he said, to arrange a ticket because so many were trying to leave Tibet. I thanked him for the offer. The two officials headed back to their car, which they said they had had to leave parked a distance away because of the security cordon.
The worry now is about tonight’s deadline. Will this be followed by knocks on doors and sweeping, indiscriminate arrests? Many Tibetans keep pictures of the Dalai Lama in their homes. I imagine now that they are busy secreting them.
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