China: Fire on the streets of Lhasa, Tibet

Tuesday update:

Zuola the former pioneering citizen reporter has made a monstrous effort in aggregating links to Chinese-language coverage and discussion of the ongoing situation in Tibet.

From Tibetan writer Woeser‘s blog, one reader writes at 00:17 on March 18:

作为藏人, 决不能就此放弃

As a Tibetan, I can never just give up
The Han have to choose: Tibet or the Olympics

Looking through Twifan for reports of unrest having spread to the provinces surrounding Tibet comes news from the Tibetan quarter in Chengdu, Sichuan‘s Wuhou district:

7:21 pm Monday, Fanfou user Qianlan:


Faint, it looks like we really are at war. Ximianqiao St and Wuhouci Rd. are all blocked off.

7:55 pm Monday, Fanfou user o8o8o8:

刚刚在群里收到的最新消息! 成都军区已经一级戒备了,正在往西藏调兵。 武侯祠横街南北两个方向路口完全交通管制,车辆不得进入;洗面桥横街东西两个方向完全交通管制,车辆不得进入;蜀汉街和另外一条小街直接就路上横了两辆警车把路堵死了。大概估算了一哈,有超过200名警察,超过100辆警车,包括各种警牌的和川OA,还有大概50辆左右的警用摩托,三个一组的编队在不间断巡逻,在武侯祠横街南北两个路口,各有一辆消防车。 武侯祠横街和洗面桥横街已经完全变成步行街了,没有任何地方车辆。走到街上全部是警灯的闪烁。这段时间不要到人多的地方去打堆堆,西藏运来的好多吨炸药运到成都来已经不见了,消失了 警报日前接内部消息:一{BANNED}分子潜入成都,妄图从事恐怖活动。 此人在国外学习爆破多年,技术出众,手段残忍。 成都各区已抽调得力干警

I was just in the crowd and got the latest info! Chengdu's military district has already gone on highest alert, and troops have now been dispatched toward Tibet. Wuhouci Rd. going both north and south have been completely sealed off, cars aren't allowed in. Ximianqiao St. going both east and west has been completely sealed off, cars aren't being allowed in. Shuhan Rd. and another side street are completely filled with police cars which have stopped all traffic. A rough estimate, there's over 200 police, and over 100 police cars of every kind. There's also around 50 police motorbikes, patrolling the streets non-stop in formations of groups of three. Where Wuhouci Rd. E meets Wuhouci Rd. W, there are also fire trucks. Both Wuhouci and Ximianqiao streets have completely become pedestrian streets, not a single car on either. Walking down the streets all you see are flashing police lights. Right now, you do not want to go into crowded areas and start pushing around. The tons of explosives they shipped here to Chengdu from Tibet aren't to be seen now, they've disappeared. Police sent out an internal notice warning a few days ago, that [bleep]ists had entered Chengdu in an attempt to carry out terrorist strikes. These people have spent years overseas studying demolitions and are highly skilled at it, with cruel methods. Experienced police from all over Chengdu have been transferred here.


超过500人组成专案工作组开展紧急排查工作,目前此人尚未抓获。 奉劝各位这几天尽量减少外出,避免发生意外。 从昨日起成都警方以及军区已经对城区部分地区实施封闭检查 不要往人多的地方去活动 , 没事请呆家里!

Over 500 people have already been used to set up an emergency inspection working group, and at present nobody has been arrested. It's advised that everyone do their best to not go outside over the next few days and prevent the occurrence of any accidents. Starting yesterday, Chengdu police and the army have already locked off parts of the city and are doing inspections. Keep your activities away from areas with large numbers of buildings; if possible, please stay at home!

And from MSN Live Spaces user XK83 at 9:21 am:

我单位作为这条街上最重要的国有单位,门口已换成武警把守,进出单位需要工作证和身份证,并在单位保安的确认下才可进入,院内不时会有武警进来巡逻 ,


Anti-terror, front line (1)

Lianghui is on, riots in Lhasa. The official statement is that Dalai Groups are inciting riots. 13 dead (as of 03/17), many injured.
March 17, Tibetan Affairs Office to Chengdu, Kangding Hotel, gathering place for Tibetans in Chengdu–traffic controls on Wuhouci St., PAP armed and doing street patrols.
And at #1 on this street just happens to be where I work. The apartment I rent? Also on this street.
Though I'm off on business, mom is still at home in Chengdu, and my office is there, so through regular phone calls back I've gathered the following information:
Beginning on the 17th, this part of Chengdu, which is where the most number of ethnic Tibetans live, has been under lockdown; no cars allowed to enter, and many camouflage-wearing PAP who came in on over 10 vehicles are armed and doing patrols.
The office has stopped counting if people show up late, and nobody is allowed to do overtime at night, and people are going home early.
Kangding hotel right across from my home (a 3-star hotel opened by a Tibetan), according to rumors, has already had some of its higher-ups arrested, and there've been incidents of bloodshed (unconfirmed, this is just what everyone is saying)
There's word out of Tibet too, that ten tons of explosives were brought into Chengdu and then disappeared……a friend of a friend in Tibet told him that. Stay away from plazas, the train station, or places with lots of people.
Use public transportation with caution.

More updates coming soon.

From Sunday, independent blogger Mr. Jun aims for a more rounded perspective in his post ‘The Lhasa Riots–How are we to look at them?’


– 拉萨暴乱是有阴谋的。
– 达赖图谋藏独。
– 拉萨暴乱的另外意义是阻止奥运的进行。

– 阻碍奥运是错误的,根据过去的经验显示,杯葛奥运是一定会失败的。
– 没有任何一个国家会接受西藏是个独立的国度。

– 以暴力阻止暴力,是很没有说服力。

I often feel that when you look at something from different angles, you get different views. If you look at someone from front-on, you might think he looks a little obnoxious; but then you look at him from the side, and you might just see someone with a heart of gold. Just like the riot incidents in Lhasa, depending on which way we look at them, we have different conclusions.


..looking at this from this Chinese side:
-there's a conspiracy behind the Lhasa rioting.
-it's the Dalai Lama's plot for Tibetan independence.
-another purpose to the Lhasa riots is to prevent the Olympics from being held.

…and from overseas?
-interfering with the Olympics is a mistake; past experience shows that boycotting the Olympics is guaranteed to fail.
-there isn't a single country which would accept Tibet as an independent nation.

And Lhasa and Tibet's views?
-Stopping violence with violence, there's nothing persuasive about it.




Peace is hard to maintain, because there are two sides to it. If peace on one side is broken, neither side will be able to just let it go. A lot of Lamas have been imprisoned, this is how one side began to destroy the peace. The incidents of rioting are the other side's resistance due to dissatisfaction with seeing Lamas imprisoned. That neither side has reached a consensus is the origin of the mistake, and that division comes from lack of understanding, this is what history tells us clearly. And with the Olympics this incident will be used to say just how sacrosanct the Olympics themselves are, and that nobody should touch them!

A people's awakening movement, as I see it, is a right a people ought to have, and that not all powers should be given to a leader. In ancient China, the emperor's decisions were absolute, including going to war. People's opposition votes weren't recognized by the emperor, because the people had no right to choose. But this doesn't suggest that the people should have all the power, and this is why division of power must be balanced.

Back to the topic of ‘which side?’. If one looks at Chinese media, well, there might be some exaggeration, especially now with China suppressing Tibet with military power, and China being the source of these incidents, which is why it's better to not completely trust what China has to say on this. For Tibet and Lhasa, they are one of the sources of these incidents, but at the same time they are the victims. They might also be exaggerating, but as they are the victims, their degree of reliability is still much higher.

Ken at Kadfly, one of the last few foreigners to enter Tibet before the violence broke out and the area shut down, has added to his earlier collection of tourist photos of the unrest and destruction with an update Monday that the Tibetan violence had generally stopped:

Today people returned to the streets of Lhasa in droves. There are tons of Chinese police and army in the city but they are letting people wander without too much difficulty. Schools were also open today – hopefully all this means that there will not be any further escalation of the situation. Since the 14th things have quieted down dramatically – aside from a few booms and bangs we haven't been able to hear much from where we are. We have heard, however, that the authorities have been conducting night-time arrests in other parts of the city, but this is not confirmed.


Original post:

Protests in Lhasa set to coincide with the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan people's unsuccessful uprising against PRC occupation of the former theocracy which began on March 10, the day on which what was being called the worldwide Tibetan people's uprising was stopped at the Indian border, turned violent on March 13 and may now be spreading to neighboring Gansu province.

As mainstream media struggle to bring out the latest developments, bloggers on the ground in Lhasa have been able to provide ongoing updates on the situation. Earlier in the week, the Time China blog linked to one European tourist's writing, photos and video from Lhasa just as the rioting had begun.

QQ blogger 24K Pure Love at 2:58 pm Friday:


Lhasa Riot

今天是2008年3月14,白色情人节“也是我到拉萨的第25天。 可今天的拉萨并不太平,外面到处是暴乱份子,以前在内地从来没见过这种场面。 用恐怖也来形容也不为过。
杀人,放火,仍石头““ 外面一片黑暗。 到处冒烟。
武警都出动了“ 大街上面空无一人,店面全部关门了` 马路上都是暴乱份子扔的石头“`

Today is March 14, 2008, White Valentine's's also the 25th day since I came to Lhasa. But something's not quite right in Lhasa today. There are rioters everywhere, the kind of scene I'd never seen before back inland. To say this is terror doesn't even cover it.
People killed, fires lit, rocks thrown….it's all black outside, smoke everywhere.
The PAP are out in force..there's not a person to be seen on the main streets, shops are all shuttered up, and the streets are full of rioters throwing rocks…

QQ blogger ‘I Love Blue Sky’, who appears to be involved in the travel industry, 4:01 pm Friday:


Lhasa's March Upheaval

哎,那这旅游还咋做啊 ,

Starting yesterday, there was word that several temples had been closed off,
Even Mt. Everest
So what am I supposed to do for this trip?
What else is there for tourists here in Lhasa to see?

Today, I heard there's been another disturbance at Jokhang Temple,
It's terrifying. Friends keep calling,
Telling me not to go wandering around,
Please, what's so bad about Stability and Unity?
Do you have to go making trouble?
The clients are here in Lhasa, but they're not allowed to go wandering around, what am I going to do for this tour?


We're all on edge here now,
The tour company is asking what's going on,
Here in Lhasa they're telling us to say that the temples are being renovated
Do they really think the walls are that air-tight?

Another QQ blog, Friday, 6:01 pm::


Lhasa is a great place

拉萨暴动…学校禁校…生日泡汤… 市里面打的那叫一个猛!军车一辆一辆的,手榴弹一颗一颗的扔,大昭寺周围被炸开花了,步行街被武警封了,温州商贸诚也被封了,石油公司貌似炸毁了… 长这么大没见过这世面…达lai真ta妈牛b!真希望赶紧把我们学校炸了!我转到人大去我!

Lhasa is rioting…school was closed…spoiled my birthday…fighting in the city is brutal! Army cars keep going by, hand grenades keep getting thrown around, the area all around Jokhang is being blasted, pedestrian streets have been closed by the PAP, Wenzhou Trade St. has been closed too, it seems the gas stations have been blown up…old as I am I've never seen anything like this…the Dalai is really fucking something! I hope he hurries and blows our campus up too! I'll transfer to Renmin U!

From another QQ blog at 6:25 pm:


Lhasa, tyranny of a sacred place

今天的拉萨没有莪想的那么圣洁了,在拉萨一直被人尊敬的拉萨成了暴政的源头,今天呆在岛里真的很郁闷,拉萨市好几家服装店被烧毁,全岛的居民都不准出岛,喇嘛扪跟警察打起来了,死伤现在还不知道,说实话长这么大莪真实是见过那么多的装甲车,还有那么多的坦克和大部队,莪想不明白眼前的这一切是为什么? 还说把莪扪汉人杀了`?全岛和拉萨市里的店都关门大吉了,因为都是莪扪汉人开的店…

Lhasa today doesn't have the sanctity I thought it would; the Lhasa people once always revered has become a fountainhead of tyranny. I'm quite bummed to be staying on the island today; a good number of clothing shops in Lhasa have been burnt down, and everyone here on the island isn't allowed to leave. The lamaists have been fighting with police, don't know if any have been killed. To be honest, as old as I am I have never seen so many armored vehicles before, so many tanks and so much military. What I can't figure out is just what all this that I'm seeing is for. People are even saying they're killing us Han Chinese? All the shops on the island and in Lhasa are closed or are going to go bankrupt, because those shops were opened by Han, us…


The Chinese government allocates funds every year for development in Tibet, but to this day what has it really gotten? This kind of domestic tyranny is supposed to make China more developed? When I first came to Lhasa my feeling was that this place is simple, a place suited to personal development, and a palace suited to making money…because there were too many big business opportunities here, like mineral extraction over the past two years, which has also created a lot of wealth for the Tibet and makes the opening of the Qinghai-Tibet railway not even look like news.

Also on QQ, ‘Ice Dragon’ at 6:26 pm:



March 14, 2008: Lhasa's Lama's rebel

This afternoon, PAP, traffic police and riot police all marched into Potala Palace Square to the Lhasa Department Store tower junction
Tanks, armored vehicles and firetrucks all moved into the front of Potala Palace
At present, riot police have injured dozens and killed severalcorrection:dozens of riot police have been injured and several killed
One fire truck has been blown up
Countless civilian cars have been blown up, and dozens of shops have been torched
Over a hundred Sichuanese have been killed
Jokhang Temple and Ramoche Temple have both already been burnt down!
A friend just called to say: all small and large hospitals in Lhasa are already full with patients!
(last night, several hundred Sichuanese got beaten in front of Jokhang Temple, 13 died at the scene, and 80 more were seriously hurt)

Another QQ blogger's post from 6:56 pm:


Regarding the riots today in Lhasa


I often see the news about the war in Iraq, or attacks happening somewhere, and at the time I just sigh inside, reminded how lucky I am to be Chinese, where here it's at least peaceful, at least there are no battles, and people don't have to live their lives in fear of battle! But the riots which took place in Tibet today just make me see very clearly that in fact some people don't want our China to be a calm and peaceful place! I wonder, when people in other countries see the news about our battles here in China, will they feel the same thing that I did when I saw the news on Iraq?


When those insane dalais gathered in the street today and surrounded and viciously beat those Han Chinese, while they used lighters to light fire to shop after shop, while they threw molotovs at cars parked on the sides of the road, I really felt afraid, and that this is inconceivable. What you are destroying is the very place that you live in. Aren't you followers of the Living Buddha? You think this is something your Living Buddha instructed you to do, to destroy the very place that you live in? I think that most of these people haven't thought about this, and that most of them have been deceived by the words of certain people who would see the motherland split! But if you just think about it, just who was it that made Tibet the developed place it is today? Who set up the bridge between Tibet and the whole world? And who is it that sends qualified people each year from every sector to educate the children of Tibet with knowledge and culture? AND who is it that sends aid from every developed city in the motherland each year to assist Tibet? I think you seem to have forgotten all this……

At 9:18 pm on Zoer's QQ Space:


Lhasa is rioting! System reinstall has failed!


March 14, Lhasa's lamas have finally “uprisen” again
Smashing cars, lighting fires, and other stuff I don't even know what
Even with my build
I can't easily get through the gaps in the PAP and army human wall
And I definitely don't want to end up cannon fodder beneath the tracks of the armored vehicles
Sigh..Lama, why can't you be more law-abiding like other monks?
Everyone knows you don't do anything
Just always making a commotion
Been learning from Hibiscus Sister on how to get attention have ya? The price is a little high, don't ya think?

Sunday update 2:

Davesgonechina at Tenement Palm continues his translation roundups of microblog posts on the situation in Tibet which people continue to put onto sites like Fanfou and Jiwai; on the latest batch he has now written:

Special Note: This is the perfect opportunity for Tibet internet activists like Oxblood Ruffin and concerned netizens everywhere to engage Chinese people on the Internet in discussions about what is going on. As I previously outlined in a primer to engage Chinese people, these are channels where one can register a free account and launch dialogues with Chinese individuals about Tibet. Many of the people I've included below are neither kneejerk nationalists or xenophobes, and some of them know some English too. It wouldn't hurt to try. You can respond by clicking on the username link at the beginning of each tweet, sign up, and talk back.

**One reader has written in asking to know why there are no apparent Tibetan voices in this post. This of course is not a deliberate omission but a problem of not being able to find them. Any such related links if left in the comments or sent to chinese [at] globalvoicesonline [dot] org will be translated swiftly and everyone's help is most welcome in this.

Update: Sunday, March 16:

QQ blogger ‘Zuoer’ had a post of a series of apparently civilian photos taken at 2pm Sunday afternoon which have since been deleted but can be seen here (scroll halfway down).

As of Saturday, YouTube has been blocked in China. Little information seems to be coming out of Lhasa now, although micro-channels remain open. has cellphone video of a large number of monks demonstrating in the early afternoon of March 15 around Labrang Monastery in neighboring Gansu province.

Also on Saturday, EconThink MSN Spaces blogger Robert posted a notice from the local law authorities calling on those responsible for the “smashing, looting, burning and killing” to turn themselves in before March 17, saying that those who do may be exempt from punishment, and those who don't will be severely punished, the same for those who are found to be covering up for or harboring criminals. Protection is being offered for those who turn “criminals” in.

Further 03/16 update: Roland Soong at EastSouthWestNorth provides further translations, including one detailed eyewitness account of the extent of the violence that has been reposted on many Chinese blogs.


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