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Thinking About Tibet

Flag of Tibet

It’s been a while since I’ve been in contact with friends from, or thought about Tibet.

Chinese friends, even well educated ones, often tell us that Tibetans are “better off under China’s care”.

However, every Tibetan’s narrative belies this as ugly Chinese propaganda.

Living in Ithaca, New York which is one of the Dalai Lama’s cities of refuge (he visits here) as well as an “auspicious” location in which Tibetans settle, we have quite a few Tibetan refugees living and working among us.

We watch the news here in the USA and see diverse protestors who “occupy Wall Street”, realizing that they will not be shot and killed for their beliefs. Some supporters would have us believe that this is America’s equivalent to “Arab Spring”, forgetting that no one will be executed.

Our standards for protest begin at a much higher level than did the protestors in those Arab Nations. Some, certainly not all, of these young people have homes and families to return to that have refigerators and color televisions and probably many have ipods, or pads or whatever the latest technological develpments are…because these are their basic standards…This is my “guess”.

See below for the Wall Street Journal‘s article on one type of protest going on in China.


Tibetan Monk Sets Himself on Fire

 Associated Press

BEIJING—Another Tibetan Buddhist monk set himself on fire in a protest against Chinese rule over the Himalayan region, in the 10th self-immolation this year, a British rights group said.

The monk set himself ablaze early Tuesday outside a Tibetan monastery in southwestern Sichuan province‘s Ganzi prefecture, the London-based Free Tibet group said.

The group said it was unable to confirm the monk’s age or name. It was unsure of his condition and whereabouts.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Wednesday that the ministry had noted reports about the alleged incident, but was unable to confirm it had happened.

The ministry has condemned the immolations and accuses Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, and his supporters of encouraging them. Ms. Jiang reiterated the government stance, telling reporters at a regular press briefing that “inciting people to kill themselves in such a cruel manner is a violent and terrorist activity.”

At least nine Tibetans in their late teens and 20s have self-immolated since March, with five or more of them dying from their injuries. All but one of those occurred in Aba, a town in Sichuan near Tibet that has been the site of a series of protests.

Most of those protests have been led by monks who are fiercely loyal to the Dalai Lama, who fled the Himalayan region in 1959 amid an abortive anti-Beijing uprising and is reviled by China’s communist government.

The self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile has described the self-immolations as tragic acts and called for the international community to urge Beijing to open a dialogue on its policies in Tibet and traditionally Tibetan regions of western China.

A woman who answered the phone at the Ganzi Public Security Bureau said she was unaware of the incident and hung up the phone.

A man reached by telephone at the Ganzi Monastery said, “I don’t know, I’m sorry,” when asked about the alleged immolation and hung up.

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