Tibetan protests continue; Dalai Lama calls for coexistence

While little news is now coming out of Lhasa, the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) reports that at least three Tibetan protesters were shot dead by Chinese security forces March 18 during a peaceful demonstration in Kardze county, Sichuan. (TCHRD, March 18) Hundreds of Tibetans in Amdo Bora, Tibet Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu province, staged a peaceful march against the Chinese rule in Tibet. (TCHRD, March 18) Protests also continue in Nepal, where police arrested 58 Tibetans who marched on the UN offices in Kathmandu. (Phayul, March 18)

In a press conference at Dharmsala, India, the Dalai Lama called for co-existence. “Whether we like it or not, we have to live together side by side,” he told reporters. “We must oppose Chinese policy but not the Chinese. Not on a racist basis.”

Others in Dharmsala expressed impatience with the Dalai Lama’s pacifist ethic. “There is growing frustration among the younger generations. They have been talking for 20 years and nothing came out of it,” said Tsewang Rigzin, head of the Tibetan Youth Congress. He urged “the protesters in Tibet to continue in their protests until China gets out of Tibet.” Openly addressing the Dalai Lama’s calls for nonviolence, he said: “I certainly hope the middle way approach will be reviewed. The Tibetan nation and Tibetan culture are on the verge of extinction.” (AP, March 18)

The Dalai Lama also called for an international investigation into the violence in Tibet: “Since the Chinese Government has accused me of orchestrating these protests in Tibet, I call for a thorough investigation by a respected body, which should include Chinese representatives, to look into these allegations. Such a body would need to visit Tibet, the traditional Tibetan areas outside the Tibet Autonomous Region, and also the Central Tibetan Administration here in India. In order for the international community, and especially the more than one billion Chinese people who do not have access to uncensored information, to find out what is really going on in Tibet, it would be tremendously helpful if representatives of the international media also undertook such investigations.” (Phayul, March 19)

See our last post on the Tibet crisis.