Chinese Seethe on Web Over Rare Riots in Tibet

From Shanghai-based blogger Chow, translated by CDT:

The riot scenes on the evening news attracted my attention. But the news only had those one-sided words from the government. I came back home in the night, got online and hoped to experience the power of the Internet. Unfortunately, I only experienced the power of the government controlling the internet.

I have known this all along: Real domestic news must be gotten from the foreign media. I just discovered that all internet posts about the Lhasa riot are already censored. It is impossible to know any more details other than the official reports. All major Internet forums do not dare to touch this sensitive topic. This is the year of the Beijing Olympics, stocks are falling, riots on the streets of Lhasa, things going on in Taiwan, but we can only read these wonderful posts after censor’s careful permission.

Yet not all voices online have been silenced. Authorities seem to be selective about which Internet posts are allowed to survive intact. Reuters reports that the Chinese blogosphere is erupting in anti-Tibet, nationalistic anger over the riots and deaths in Lhasa:

On Saturday, a rash of angry blog posts appeared after China confirmed deaths in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, and U.S. actor Richard Gere called for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics should the authorities mishandle the protests.

“Westerners think they know all about China, telling us that this, that and the other is bad,” wrote one blogger, who listed historical reasons justifying Tibet’s inclusion as part of China.

“Most foreigners have been brainwashed as far as this issue is concerned,” assented another user.

Other blogs were virulently nationalistic.

Meanwhile, the Danish centrist morning paper “Politiken” has been in phone contact with (most likely) a Dane in Lhasa. His/her account was in Saturday’s issue of “Politiken”, published in Copenhagen:

“Monks and quite young men around 15-16 are hammering the Chinese shops, kicking in doors and windows, setting fire to the shops and severely beating up Chinese in the area. I have seen some very serious attacks. At least two that I saw were carried away on stretchers – as far as I could tell they were beaten to death. …It looks like a war-zone here. Almost all Chinese shops on the main thoroughfare and up to the Dalai Lama’s winter palace have been set afire…” The violent disturbances commenced earlier in the day, when monks and young men attacked Chinese in the vicinity. In the beginning the police were very passive, the eyewitness says. Enraged monks and youths had a free hand over the Chinese. It was only when they got near to the Winter palace, that police and military moved forward in numbers, including armored cars. He was himself attacked by the demonstrators and also held by the police twice. “I was caught between the police and the demonstrators. Everything around us was in flames. Police cars, fire engines and almost all Chinese shops were burning. The situation is still out of control. The attacks on Chinese and their shops continue”. He goes on to say that one of the demonstrators told him that the large disturbances express a refutation of Dalai Lama’s dictum of non-violence – because the people have no freedom.

[Photo source: AFP, via epochtimestycool.com, Wenxue City and forum.kaiyuan.de.]

Please read also John Kennedy’s translation of Chinese blog posts on the Global Voices.

For more photos, click on Mobile phone pictures depict intensity of demonstration in Amdo Labrang.

March 15, 2008 4:23 PM
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