Fears of Another Tiananmen as Tibet Explodes in Hatred
British journalist James Miles is the only journalist known to be in Tibet during the recent protests and riots. He has written a lengthy report for The Times about what he has seen. The death toll remains unclear, as exile groups claim more than 100 may have been killed, a number which has not yet been independently verified:
It was impossible to verify the contending claims at first hand in Lhasa. While gunfire was heard, no bodies could be seen on the streets within the Chinese troop cordon.
The rioters appeared impervious to increasingly shrill calls for order issued by the Tibet autonomous regional government, which set a deadline of midnight on Monday for them to surrender.
By yesterday afternoon, China still had not regained control of the centre of Lhasa and as world attention focused on its reaction to the uprising, its leaders, gathered for a self-congratulatory meeting in Beijing, faced the “Tiananmen dilemma” – whether to use overwhelming force.
AP is also reporting, via USA Today:
Soldiers on foot and in armored carriers swarmed Tibet’s capital Saturday, enforcing a strict curfew a day after protesters burned shops and cars to vent their anger against Chinese rule. In another western city, police clashed with hundreds of Buddhist monks leading a sympathy demonstration.
The violence erupted just two weeks before China’s Summer Olympic celebrations kick off with the start of the torch relay, which passes through Tibet. China is gambling that its crackdown will not draw an international outcry over human rights violations that could lead to boycotts of the Olympics.