If you believe the crackdown by Chinese authorities on pro-democracy demonstrations in Tibet that have killed as many as 100 and injured dozens more are the result of the oppressive and thuggish nature of the Communist government, you’re wrong.
At least, according to the Chinese government:
China accused the Dalai Lama on Sunday of orchestrating the recent anti-government riots in Tibet in a bid to mar the Beijing Olympics and overthrow the area’s communist leaders.
The accusations came as Tibetan areas were swarming with troops and closed to scrutiny from the outside world. With foreign media banned, information barely trickled out of the Tibetan capital Lhasa and other far-flung communities.
The Chinese government was attempting to fill the information vacuum with its own message, saying through official media that formerly restive areas were under control. It accused the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, of trying to harm China’s image ahead of the summer games.
That Lama guy is one fantastic magician. It’s amazing how he can “orchestrate” the beating, clubbing, and shooting, of his own followers by Chinese police.
“The evil motive of the Dalai clique is to stir up troubles at a sensitive time and deliberately make it bigger and even cause bloodshed so as to damage the Beijing Olympics,” said the Tibet Times, calling it “a life-and-death struggle between ourselves and the enemy.”
The attack on the Dalai Lama — who advocates non-violence and denies being behind the March 14 riots in Lhasa — is an attempt to further demonize him in the eyes of the Chinese public, which is strongly supportive of the Olympics.
Most of those injured and killed in the original protests in Llahsa were monks. And we know all about those bloodthirsty, safron eating, sand sculpturing religious fanatics. How dare they march peacefully to commemorate the Chinese crackdown of 1959. What were they trying to prove? That the Chinese government are a bunch of goons?
“The Dalai clique is scheming to take the Beijing Olympics hostage to force the Chinese government to make concessions to Tibet independence,” said the People’s Daily, the main mouthpiece of the Communist Party.
China raised its death toll by six, to 22, with its official Xinhua News Agency reporting Saturday that the charred remains of an 8-month-old boy and four adults were pulled from a garage burned down in Lhasa last Sunday — two days after the city erupted in anti-Chinese rioting. The Dalai Lama’s exiled government says 99 Tibetans have been killed, 80 in Lhasa, 19 in Gansu province.
The violence has become a public relations disaster for China ahead of the August Olympics, which it has been hoping to use to bolster its international image.
The “rioting” was a direct response to police beating and clubbing thousands of monks who were marching and chanting peacefully. There is also quite a bit of resentment that has been building up against the ethnic Han Chinese who dominate the economic and political landscape of Tibet. Native Tibetans are second class citizens in their own country.
Not all westerners are blaming China. Where else but the New York Times would we find the victim being blamed because their tactics are putting pressure on the thugs:
It has been clear since the mid-1990s that the popular internationalization of the Tibet issue has had no positive effect on the Beijing government. The leadership is not amenable to “moral pressure,” over the Olympics or anything else, particularly by the nations that invaded Iraq.
The Dalai Lama should have closed down the Hollywood strategy a decade ago and focused on back-channel diplomacy with Beijing. He should have publicly renounced the claim to a so-called Greater Tibet, which demands territory that was never under the control of the Lhasa government. Sending his envoys to talk about talks with the Chinese while simultaneously encouraging the global pro-Tibet lobby has achieved nothing.
When Beijing attacks the “Dalai clique,” it is referring to the various groups that make Chinese leaders lose face each time they visit a Western country. The International Campaign for Tibet, based in Washington, is now a more powerful and effective force on global opinion than the Dalai Lama’s outfit in northern India. The European and American pro-Tibet organizations are the tail that wags the dog of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
I can’t begin to tell you how upset I am with the Chinese losing face because they murder protestors.
And it isn’t just the Times, it is the curious detatchment of the Bush State Department which seemingly is sending the signal “Can’t you handle this problem with a little less noise?”
China’s violent crackdown on protesters in Tibet is having powerful political reverberations in Washington, where the White House is weighing how far to go in condemning the Chinese government, even as it defends President Bush’s decision to attend the Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Mr. Bush has long said the United States and China have “a complex relationship,” and that complexity was on full display this week. While his administration has called for an end to the violence, and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, phoned her Chinese counterpart to urge restraint, Mr. Bush himself has remained silent.
In the meantime, the presidential candidates are speaking out, as is the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. On Friday, Ms. Pelosi visited the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, at his headquarters in Dharamsala, India — and poked a finger in the eye of Beijing.
Rather than a poke in the eye, the Bush State Department delivers a nudge in the ribs and a wink. The President wants that photo-op with other world leaders who will similarly ignore the beastly treatment of Tibetans by the Chinese government so that the games can go on unimpeded by any silly, moralistic issues like killing demonstrators.
Somewhere, someone has got to have a backbone and speak a little truth to the powers in Beijing. Bit given China’s up and coming status as a world player, it seems no one wants to take the chance of offending the Commissars lest they retaliate by downgrading your hotel accommodations.