China Plans Tour For Select Journalists As Western Opinion Sides With Dalai Lama and Tibet
by grannyhelen, Wed Mar 26, 2008 at 05:31:29 AM EDT
First, more news about brutality being used against protesters in Qinghai:
"They were beating up monks, which will only infuriate ordinary people," the source said of the protest on Tuesday in Qinghai's Xinghai county.
A resident in the area confirmed the demonstration, saying that paramilitaries dispersed the 200 to 300 protesters after half and hour, that the area was crawling with armed security forces and that workers were kept inside their offices.
The Beijing source said resentment at the paramilitary presence around Lhasa's monasteries prompted one monk at the Ramoche temple to hang himself.
"It's very harsh. They are taking in and questioning anyone who saw the protests," the source said. "The prisons are full. Detainees are being held at prisons in counties outside Lhasa."
After repeated headlines in the Western press about the Chinese government's censorship of the events in Tibet, authorities there have decided to invite a select group of western journalists to view places and events that support their side of the story:
The small delegation of selected foreign journalists landed in Lhasa on Wednesday afternoon for a three-day reporting trip expected to be tightly controlled and slanted toward China's version of the Tibetan unrest.
China has indicated the journalists -- the first allowed into Tibet since the unrest -- would be allowed to speak with victims of the violence and shown property damaged by rioters, but gave no assurances on reporting freedom.
It is unclear how much this public relations event will reverse - or even stem - the tide of Western criticism of China over their handling of the continuing protests.
For a sample of how much big that tide is, let's turn first to the European Union, which has issued a strong statement on the heels of Nicolas Sarkosy threatening a boycott of the opening ceremonies by France:
Geneva, Switzerland (AHN) - The European Union recently let out a series of criticism aimed at China regarding its violent crackdown and tight-grip rule on the region of Tibet. The collection of European nations called for the Asian giant to halt its forceful control over Tibetan protesters demanding the return of their exiled leader, the Dalai Lama.
At a meeting with the United Nations Human Rights Council, the EU expressed its disapproval of China's authoritative tactics on Tibet, while showing concern over the growing unrest and violence spreading throughout the region, as well as the Tibetan provinces in other parts of China.
"We urge Chinese authorities to refrain from using force against those involved in unrest and call on demonstrators to desist from violence," stated Slovenia's ambassador to the U.N., Andrej Logar.
The Telegraph highlights Germany's calls for a dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama, is reporting that Britain is continuing its criticism of China's crack-down of the protests:
Britain also criticised Beijing, with an annual report by the Foreign Office highlighting Beijing's "violation" of human rights in Tibet.
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, said worldwide concern about the situation in Tibet was "justified and proper".
"There needs to be mutual respect between all communities and sustained dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities," he said.
Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias is adding his voice to those calling for dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama:
"Nobody is asking for independence for Tibet," Arias said. "The Dalai Lama has never asked for that. What is at stake is preserving the autonomy of Tibet."
Arias described the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader as a personal friend, and said he was disturbed by the scenes of violence in Tibet.
"I saw scenes on television in which Tibetans were busting up Chinese stores, which led to the army being called in and the death of innocent people," he said. "That just shouldn't happen."
Finally, Hillary Clinton has called out President Bush's "closet diplomacy" with China:
"I think that what's happening in Tibet is deeply troubling, and this is a pattern of the Chinese government with respect to their treatment of Tibet," she told reporters after a campaign event in Pennsylvania.
"I don't think we should wait until the Olympics to make sure that our views are known," Clinton said, while saying she did not have an opinion now on whether the U.S. team should not go to the games.
Clinton said President George W. Bush's administration should be more forceful about the Tibet issue.
"I think we should be speaking out through our administration now in a much more forceful way and, you know, supporting people in Tibet who are trying to preserve their culture and their religion from tremendous pressure by the Chinese."
Earlier this month, Barack Obama issued his own statement on the situation in Tibet, which can be found here: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gYNr WbklSBpsRs1XZi1FyS8L0qrA
Please keep all sides of this conflict in your thoughts, prayers and meditations.