Tibet: repression continues, China Lobby strikes back
Protests in China's Tibetan regions continue to be met with harsh repression one year after the Lhasa uprising—now reported on only by the Tibetan exile media. Chinese police in Nyarong County, Sichuan Province, arrested three Tibetans March 12 and paraded them in a marketplace after they pasted protest letters in front of a local government office and hoisting of Tibetan national flag in a school, according to a report on the Tibetan exile government website. (Phayul, March 16)
A Tibetan nun was severely beaten before facing arrest in a lone protest four days before the 50th Tibetan national uprising day, the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy reports. Lobsang Khandro, 21, a nun from Gema Dra-wok Nunnery in Thing-ka Township, Kardze County, Kardze "Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture," Sichuan Province, walked to the local government headquarters March 6 carrying prayer flags and shouting slogans such as "Tibetan People Rise Up, Rise Up" and "Long Live the Dalai Lama." (Phayul, March 18)
The US House of Representatives last week approved a resolution honoring the Dalai Lama and the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan revolt against Chinese rule. When a similar resolution was submitted to California's state legislature, Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) charged the Chinese government with "shocking and shameful" lobbying against the measure. The measure's author, Blakeslee said representatives of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco had been walking the halls of the capitol in Sacramento urging lawmakers to reject his resolution. He released a copy of a letter that Consul General Gao Zhansheng sent to lawmakers suggesting the resolution would damage US relations with China and send the "wrong signal to separatist forces."
"As the world economy faces a grim situation, it is all the more important for the most developed country and the biggest developing country in the world to cross the river in a common boat and proceed hand in hand," Zhansheng said in his letter. (AP, March 12)
Reacting to such charges, the Tibetan exile government in India issued a statement saying that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's "separatist" allegations against the Dalai Lama are misleading. "On many occasions, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has reiterated that he is not seeking separation from the People's Republic of China," said exile Prime Miniter Samdhong Rinpoche. "The Chinese Premier's allegations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama seeking separation is far from the truth. The international community is well aware of this fact and it does not need further clarification." Rinpoche, who became the first directly-elected prime minister of the exile government in 2001 and is currently in his second term. (Phayul, March 15)
"China Lobby" was a phrase used to invoke the influence of the Kuomintang government in Taiwan in the Cold War years. But Beijing seems to have much more pull on the Hill these days—although not nearly so much (someone will be certain to remind us) as the "Israel Lobby."