Tibet Protests 2008

Protests in TibetOn March 10, 2008 hundreds of Tibetans in Lhasa began protesting on the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against Beijing rule. Police arrested protesters, and violence in the streets has escalated in the following days. Bloggers across the region have responded.

Personal accounts of protests in Tibet are being censored on the Chinese internet. Global Voices authors and others have managed to rescue some first hand accounts of what happened on the frontline.

Global Voices Timeline

April 13 – China: Fallout from the Free Tibet protests
April 11 – India: Tibet, the Olympic Torch and the Dalai Lama
April 06 – China: Chinese protest in London you never see on BBC
March 28 – China: Responses to the Dalai Lama's appeal
March 25 – Taiwan: Support for Tibet
March 24 – China: Bloggers declare war on Western media's Tibet coverage
March 22 – India: Between Tibet and China
March 21 – China: Commons in violence and conflict
March 20 – Korea: Independence Movements in Tibet and in Korea
March 19 - China: Patriotism triggered, though under censorship
March 17 – Japan: Support for Tibet
March 16 – China: YouTube blocked yet again
March 14 - China: Fire on the streets of Lhasa, Tibet

Protests in Tibet
Lhasa burning

Related posts from around the Web:

April 21
Blogger has to defend himself on first Lhasa reports, photos, Chinese in Vancouver
It made me uncomfortable to learn that this young man, Kadfly, would have received so many negative responses for only reporting on what he saw. Does that mean the pro-Tibet sect cannot admit they have done anything wrong? Does that mean that they believe the level of violence should be accepted?

April 15
On Tibet and Propaganda: Follow the “Information”, Daily Kos
“Watch and listen to this from Exile Government spokesperson Dawa Tsering as he explains how they gather information for dissemination on RFA and more shockingly, his rationalization that beating Chinese and Hui people is “non-violent” and that the deaths of the 5 young girls, the 10 month old baby and others that were immolated as they hid from the rioters were “accidents” because they didn't run away fast enough.”

April 9

“Are you really Tibetan? You’re so clean!”, Black And White Cat
I’m a Tibetan who cannot speak the Tibetan language. I can understand a little of the Lhasa dialect and I can understand the Gannan dialect, but I cannot speak it.

Right now, I don’t know any more than everyone else about the real situation… (section deleted)

I’ll say a little about my personal experiences.

April 8

Is this what you want for the Tibetan people?, Sun Bin
Furthermore, so far no picture or video had been provided to prove any brutality of PAP during that week in Lhasa. On the contrary, we had seen pictures of wounded PAP and violence from the demonstrator. and stones thrown at PAP shield formations, plus shield phalanx being broken through with PAP heads bleeding

The truth about Tibet, now in book form, Danwei
Just three weeks have passed since the Lhаsa riots on 14 March, but the first book on the subject has already been published.

Lies and the Truth (谎言与真相), published on 4 March by SDX Joint Publishing (aka Sanlian Bookstore), is a book with a mission: it attempts to reveal the hand of the “Dаlai clique” behind unrest in Tıbet as well as the extent of the western media's bias in its reporting on the riots and their aftermath.

April 6

Lhasa in April, Sun Bin
Just came back from Lhasa. It was a sight-seeing trip I had planned for many years but I was never able to get to it – due to issues related to travel permit, holiday constraint, plane schedule, hotel booking, etc. Now, everything is easy to book and i know I won't have to fight for the Potala ticket.

Is Southern Metropolis Daily anti-China? The Reckless Populism., EastSouthWestNorth
Chang Ping is a Chinese traitor and the Southern Metropolis Daily is the Chinese edition of CNN. This must seem bizarre upon first reading. So how can the civilian campaign to condemn the western media for biased coverage of the Tibet incident involve the Southern Metropolis Daily?

April 5

The Enemy of My Enemy, Drunkpiano @ EastSouthWestNorth
By comparison, they are almost completely ignorant of the historical relationship between Tibet and China, the previous system of peasant-slaves, the unity of state and religion, the riots instigated by the monks against land reform, the 1956-1969 “armed struggle” supported by the CIA and tacitly approved by the Dalai Lama, the compensatory policies in place today, etc. The basis of the “political correctness” is likely rooted in 1989, when the Tibetan democracy movement occurred around the same period of the June 4th democracy movement in mainland China. Together with the Nobel prize won by the Dalai Lama, westerners cannot avoid “bundling” the struggle by the Tibet people with the “democracy movement.” When many westerners (as well as Chinese people) talk about Tibet, they are really reminiscing about that other event.

Tuning Out: Anti-CNN and Al Jazeera, Mutant Palm
This is precisely the sort of argument that many would make about CNN and BBC to those on the Chinese Mainland: Chinese people may disagree with it, even hate it, but their own news media tends to shelter them from unpleasant news and its important that Chinese people know what the rest of the world is thinking, just as Americans need to know what the Arab world is thinking, and so on and so on.

April 2

Tibet Riot Reports: Who's Being Brainwashed?, Anti-CNN.com
There is no denying the censorship of news in Chinese media, but these people recieve information from both sides, which they then compare, contrast and overcome the distortion on both ends. Only under this context they come to the conclusion they come to, and make the decision they make, whereas the Western masses only receive distorted information through the Western media, and the lack in comparison of sources result in biased opinions.

April 1

Separatism and Tibet, Black and White Cat

Comments on Chinese Government Accuses Monks Of Planning Suicide Attacks, The Huffington Post
This country must boycott the Beijing Olympics.

February 20 (2007)

Comments on Tibet Not Always Part of China: Chinese Historian, Letters from China
I hate all of you foreigners, whoever Chinese or Amarican. If you come to Tibet, I will kill you all!

Posted by: Free Tibet | March 26, 2008 at 07:08 AM

March 30

Reflections On Tibet, Wang Lixiong
At the height of the Cultural Revolution hundreds of thousands of Tibetans turned upon the temples they had treasured for centuries and tore them to pieces, rejected their religion and became zealous followers of the Great Han occupier, Mao Zedong.

March 29

James Miles on Media Coverage of Tibet, The China Beat
With all the attention being now paid to how the international media are covering the events in Tibet, we thought it would be interesting to find out how Miles felt about the questions he got upon returning from the field. Here's how he answered us via email.

Notes On The Dalai Lama's Appeal To The Chinese People, Twofish
I know the Dalai Lama means well, but this letter confirms exactly why people within the PRC view him as a separatist. He sees the “Tibetan people” and the “Chinese people” as separate, and once you view the two as separate, the independence is the natural, logical result. If you translate the letter into Chinese, then you end up offending a lot of people that he is trying to appeal to, and confirming most of the invective that the Chinese government has been directing toward him.

Tibetans and Chinese have something in common, JOTMAN
The riots are not the big story out of Tibet. How the recent protests were depicted by a Western news media — organizations that had prohibited from reporting inside Tibet — is certainly not the big story. I think the recent rioting needs to be understood with the context of modern China's approach to development. One might call it state-sanctioned crony capitalism run amok. That is the big story: China's policy of “development at all costs” and the high the price Tibetans are paying for it.

Some Retreat, Others Push Forward, EastSouthWestNorth
But Bild could not have used the original photo with that caption, could it?

March 28

Bias over Tibet cuts both ways, Richard Spencer's Telegraph blog
A few live shots of the carnage might well have altered first impressions for television viewers of the riots – but ironically it was the government's control of its own media, not of the foreign media, that prevented such shots beinshag released.

SchizOlympics: Words Fail Us (Bibliography), Mutant Palm

SchizOlympics: Words Fail Us, Mutant Palm

What is Patriotic religious education?, Shanghai Scrap
So, in hope of clarifying certain issues emerging from Tibet, especially those related to religious policy, I’m going to use this post to offer a brief primer on Patriotic religious education, its origins and current status. Many reports from Tibet and West China are mentioning it, but I’ve yet to find any that explain what it is, why it exists, and where it comes from. In my opinion, those questions are key to understanding the religious component to the ongoing crisis (merely one facet, but an important one).

March 27

The Taelspin on Tibet: The Chinese Response to foreign media coverage of the 3.14 unrest, The China Beat
I’m a historian by training, and as I’ve written elsewhere, history is a slippery ally in contemporary political disputes and I'm frustrated by the extent to which the historical record has been twisted and warped by both Chinese state media and the free Tibet crowd.

History Textbooks in China, EastSouthWestNorth
If the subject of this NYT article is the twistings and omissions in Chinese history textbooks, then the reporter is no less guilty himself. The two references to China-Tibet are made from the viewpoint of someone who knows the absolute historical truth (that is, the People's Liberation Army invaded an independent Tibet in 1950) and therefore the failure to publish that particular line is either ‘twisting’ or ‘omitting.’ I submit that it is debatable whether this is the whole and only truth of the matter.

A Little Understanding, Please, TIME China blog
This post is supposed to be about the riots in Tibet, and so far I have scarcely mentioned the Tibetans. In fact, there are surprisingly few Tibetan voices being heard. What perspectives do Tibetan websites and blogs have on the riots and the “western bias.” Perhaps someone could set up a website translating Tibetan Internet comments—it would be certainly be a novelty since so many others are translating TV news screen shots from English, German and French.

March 26

Chinese Netizens versus Western Media, EastSouthWestNorth
I support the idea of a western media watchdog such as Anti-CNN.com. This is not an attack on western media as a whole, but a watchdog project to keep them honest. If the western media knew that the egregious mistakes here will be in the public limelight, they would be less adventuresome and/or sloppy. This is not a question about forcing them to censor themselves, because this is about not using Katmandu (Nepal) photos to stand in for Tibet, for example. Is that too much to ask?

Anti-CNN and the Tibet information war, RConversation
Perhaps the Chinese government is feeling a little less worried lately about losing public support? Perhaps they are less worried that people will turn against the Communist Party after reading something in the Western media, now that it is no longer fashionable in many circles to believe what the Western media reports?

How Can I Forget Tibet, March 14?, EastSouthWestNorth
The macroscopic information would confirm those suppositions. Thus, the Chinese government said intiailly that 13 Han civilians and 1 armed police officer died (or something like that). But no Tibetan deaths? Meanwhile, the Tibetan exile government claimed at least 99 Tibetans dead. But no Hans? What was I supposed to do? Take the average of the two sets of numbers? I decline to play this game. Those big government-funded entities can slug it out among themselves.

Instead, I focused on two aspects. First, I translated the most popular Chinese blog posts into English. But wasn't all discussions of Tibet banned? Well, I don't know where you got that idea because the stuff is all over the place and quite popular. Maybe, but are Chinese blogs trustworthy?

March 25

Bridgeblogging Chinese anger over perceived media bias, My heart's in Accra
Let me once again remind readers (some of whom are already angrily composing comments to me) that I’m not attempting to evaluate the truth claims of these critiques. I’m surprised, however, by how little traction they’re receiving and how quickly they’re being dismissed by some of the reporters who are being criticized. My point is not that Western media is misinterpreting the Tibet situation – it’s a much larger point that people in general are pretty dumb about how people in other parts of the world are seeing events… even when those people are writing in English, telling us precisely how they see the situation.

A Test of the Internet's Free Speech Promise: China and Tibet, Victoria Stodden
The interesting question is whether perspectives other than the official view are getting through to discussions inside China.

Attacks on CNN: motivated by Chinese netizens or human spambots?, JOTMAN
To attack the integrity of CNN under these difficult circumstances seems unfair. And if China wants better, more “accurate,” reporting from CNN and other news agencies, the government of China should:

1. Release those Chinese journalists, activists, and bloggers it has imprisoned;
2. Allow foreign and local journalists to travel around the country freely;
3. Stop censoring the Internet and tear down the Great Firewall.

Why are Nuns and Monks in the Streets? (Parts I & II)
Of the various policies implemented by Chinese governmental agencies in recent years two have been the greatest source of friction between the clergy and the government. The control of the number of monks and nuns in monastic institutions, and the implementation of “patriotic re-education.” Since it is largely these policies that have brought the clergy into the streets in the recent protests, let me touch briefly on each of these now.

做人不能太CNN: a person should not be too CNN, EastSouthWestNorth
CNN's bureau in Beijing has been deluged in recent days by a barrage of harassing phone calls and faxes that accuse the organization of unfair coverage.

Youtube propaganda war, Danwei
Although there are many clips from Western and Japanese TV news programs on Youtube, as far as the user generated propaganda wars, it seems the pro-China side is winning. At least when it comes to quantity.

What should be condemned?, Danwei

The Olympics were already political, Richard Spencer's Telegraph blog
It is ironic to see the Chinese government decry attempts to “politicise” this event. This is not because (or at least only because) of its broader use to legitimise its rule, its claims to Tibet, its glorious management of China's rise, or whatever people choose to target. It is because under the Communist Party system, politicising all of society is the name of the game.

How to Resolve Tibetan Incommensurabilities: The Need for Information and Dialogue, Civic China
In our quest for facts, we tried as hard as we could to avoid being taken in by distorted or speculative ‘reporting’, particularly ‘reporting’ done by people with hidden agendas or by those wearing ideological blinders.

March 24

RTL Apologizes, EastSouthWestNorth
In the reports on Tibet, I did not find the right proportions in the reporting. called the rioters rioters, and they were the only one. That is why many westerners (if not the majority) will get the impression from their media that “a group of peaceful demonstrators were mercilessly mowed down by the the Chinese government.”

Anti-CNN.com, EastSouthWestNorth
Of course, CNN has to stumble from one problem to crash into another with this statement. Chinese netizens are saying that CNN should have said: “the rioters are throwing rocks against the military vehicles …” This is a case of “when helping becomes hurting.” The subtle difference is that the characterization is “rioter” than “Tibetan” as the Tibetan people/religion/culture should not be made equivalent to the mayhem. If they must, they can even use “Tibetan rioter.”

March 23

MSM biase in the West – and the cnn refutal, Sun Bin
Lie cannot be covered by another new lie. While cnn could have just admitted to being insensitive and being lazy in picking one random pictures from the several crops AFP/Getty provided, it chose to deny and degenerated itself into the same class as the propaganda machine of the C-C.P.

Tibet: Her Pain, My Shame, China Digital Times
Not long ago, I read some posts by some radical Tibetans on an online forum about Tibet. These posts were roughly saying: “We do not believe in Buddhism, we do not believe in karma. But we have not forgotten that we are Tibetan. We have not forgotten our homeland. Now we believe the philosophy of you Han Chinese: Power comes out of the barrel of a gun! Why did you Han Chinese come to Tibet? Tibet belongs to Tibetans. Get out of Tibet!”

How Can I Forget Lhasa, March 14?, EastSouthWestNorth
Later, after her other Tibetan friends, I went to drink tea with her. But before I even took a sip, she uttered a slur about the Han people. I was so angry that I imitated her friend: I stood up and walked out.

Youtube's Not Blocked. See?, CNET Asia
I'm not sure if the timeout is because of keyword searches for Tibet or Lhasa or what the heck is going on. I'm done trying to figure out the censors.

Comments on China Vows to crush Tibet's independence movement, reddit.com

March 22

More musings on Tibet propaganda drive, Beijing Newspeak
It’s still going to be a few days yet before it feels acceptable to write about anything non-Tibet related.

Most Wanted In Tibet, EastSouthWestNorth
At what point does one concede that there is a legitimate criminal case (e.g. ripping the gate off a Bank of China office; randomly attacking a bicyclist with a rock or stick; setting the first that caused the deaths of the five shop attendants, four Chinese and one Tibetan; etc)? Or does one always hold the line that these people are freedom fighters? I think that most people will ask to see the evidence first. What do you think after watching this 2-minute video from Euronews? Would you publish the screen captures (such as the one for the person wielding the big knife)?

Phoenix TV Reporter In Lhasa, EastSouthWestNorth
A taxi driver told us that when the disturbances began on the afternoon of March 14, the students were just getting out of school. The rioters cut off the ear of a Hui child and set it on fire right there. A Tibetan citizen implored the rioters to stop but they threatened to kill him with a knife. So the Tibetan citizen had to abandon the child to a cruel fate …

Squeezing the balls of the Olympics, Danwei
It concerns Westerners protesting against China by burning Chinese flags and attaching protest signs to Terracotta Warriors in an exhibition in London.

France24 catches Yahoo and MSN (briefly) aiding Chinese police hunt for Tibetans, RConversation
I wouldn't be surprised if the local editors just automatically ran it because everybody else in China was running it, then got over-ridden by management in the U.S. who realized how badly this would play outside of China… Such is the disconnect between China and the West on the Tibet issue.

Why Tibet is Boiling Over (Updated), China Digital Times

Behind the unrest in Tibet, Peking Duck
If China delays the new generation that does not heed the Lama's calls for peace will take control. Then China would have to offer a lot more for a peaceful solution. Sadly I think that, as usual, China will stick its head into the sand and only pull it out when the opportunity to negotiate through the Dalai Lama has gone.

When Helping Becomes Hurting, EastSouthWestNorth
The westerners have harbored prejudices against the Chinese people. We often hear them say: The Chinese have been brainwashed because they can no longer tell the truth about something. In their view, all Chinese are ignorant, undeveloped and close-minded. They have no idea that many Chinese people know as much as they do and in fact visited a lot more websites than they have. The westerner stoops down condescendingly to stretch out a helping hand to the wretched little yellow men so as to educate and instruct them. They are totally oblivious to the possibility that they are dealing with live human beings who are thoughtful and sentient. In the absence of respect and equality, what is the point of dealing with the westerners? Presently, the westerners must be wondering about the reaction of the Chinese people to the current events.

The Five Dead Girls of Lhasa, EastSouthWestNorth
Do you know why Hecaitou appears to be angry in the entry above this one?

Internet Wars Over Tibet, EastSouthWestNorth

March 21

Tibet, video and Human Rights, 40Brown
The Chinese government has reportedly placed restrictions on international media coverage in Tibet, blocking or filtering websites like Yahoo! and YouTube and censoring the local feeds of news agencies including the BBC and CNN. However, eyewitness accounts, photos, and videos (mostly from cellphones) are making their way out — and onto the Hub.

Root causes in Tibet, TIME China Blog

Tibetan writer Woeser and husband under house arrest in Beijing, China Digital Times

Lian Yue on Tîbet and information supression, Danwei
4. A power that tries to distort and withhold information should be responsible for the consequences.

Right Time, Right Place, Wrong Reporter?, EastSouthWestNorth

Tibet WAS,IS,and ALWAYS WILL BE a part of China, YouTube

March 20

The gulf between foreign and Chinese expectations of the Olympics, Imagethief
This extremely gloomy scenario made me think a little about the vast gulf between foreign and Chinese expectations for what the Beijing Olympics would accomplish. The Chinese expected the Olympics to change foreign perceptions of China for the better. Foreigners expected the Olympics to change China for the better.

March 19

Tibet break news, catfish002
Tibet riot truth

Tibet and the trouble with unassailable national myths, Imagethief
China has invested so much in its narrative of Tibetan development and growth that it is reluctant take any actions that undermine this story. This prevents them from communicating internationally in a way that foreign audiences will be receptive to, and it stores up serious ethnic problems for the future….Unfortunately, another problem with defending the myth at all costs is that this approach seems calculated to inflame ethnic tensions rather than dispel them. Coverage of the riots suggests that much of the violence was Tibetans taking out their frustrations on Han who simply had the bad luck to be in Lhasa.

March 18

Forcing Ignorance on the Chinese People, ผมเป็นคนอเมริกัน
Remember, the Chinese have heard, and are hearing, a much different story on Tibet than the rest of us. Until that changes, real dialogue cannot take place. On most of the hot-button issues in China, the ironic fact remains that the Chinese people themselves may be hearing the least of the story.

Who Lie about Xizang (Tibet) Violence and How!, NewsChecker
The terror event caused a lot life and property lose for China. But China gained alot.

Wikileaks releases over 120 censored videos and photos of the Tibet uprising

Media Cheat on Tibet Riot, FridayInLove
One can only believe that:
1) Either these media don’t have a qualified internal examination/inspection system,
2) Or, they were deliberately lying, trying to fool their audiences.

a letter from North India, Knitting And
Okay, so from the phone call our family member got this morning, ALL the deaths have been Tibetan (or maybe a few Chinese.)

Tibetan Intifada?, China Matters
The question that is roiling the Chinese government and, perhaps, the Dalai Lama’s government in exile in Dharmsala, is whether this represents a change in tactics, a new upsurge in militancy, and/or a challenge to the leadership of the Dalai Lama in Tibetan affairs.

March 17

Black Days for the Dalai Lama, China Matters
The most immediate result of Tibetan militancy will be to unite the Chinese and isolate the moderates on the Tibetan side, while undermining the political standing of Tibet’s most effective political figure, the Dalai Lama, as spokesman for a unified, internationally popular political and diplomatic movement.

That’s bad politics and dumb tactics…and it's exactly what the Chinese have been trying to accomplish for the last five decades.

March 15

SchizOlympics: Chinese and English Tibet Tweets, Mutant Palm
As news of the turmoil in Tibet reaches Chinese netizens, reactions on Chinese Twitter-clones Fanfou.com and Jiwai.de are mostly of astonishment according to a search on Twifan. Meanwhile, on Twitter, whose users are mostly from other countries, reactions are less surprised, according to Tweet Scan.

March 14, 2008, Lhasa, EastSouthWestNorth
By this time, the SMS's came one by one to warn me about paying attention to personal safety. A businessman called me and wanted to know how long the disturbance will last. If it lasts too long, he is not going to do business in Lhasa.

On the major roads of eastern Lhasa, there are many Lhasa government and party offices. Black smoke was rising from that direction.

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