Latest Updates on Tibet Demonstrations (Updated)

While China limits access to journalists to Tibetan regions, Radio Free Asia shares communications from those inside.

As communication becomes more difficult with people living inside Tibet, cell phone conversations with family and friends overseas and second-hand accounts continue to describe China’s crackdown on Tibetan protests. For security reasons, we do not identify some of our sources by name in order to protect them from retaliation.

Central government officials have also announced an intensified campaign of “patriotic education” in Tibet’s monasteries after visiting the region, according to a Washington Post report. The report also says that authorities have announced the arrest of 13 people in Lhasa for “illegal assembly” for their participation in the peaceful protests in front of the Tsuklakhang Temple on March 10:

Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu led the first high-level central government visit to Tibet since the riots broke out this month. In the face of international criticism of China’s crackdown, he stressed that the government would “fight an active publicity battle” and solicit the help of Communist Party cadres.

His call for broader “patriotic education” indicated the party would also move to exert greater control over religion in Tibet, requiring more Tibetans to accept the region as an inalienable part of China, denounce the Dalai Lama as a separatist and recognize the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama. Such campaigns were first launched in 1996.

Update: Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has hand-picked a group of foreign correspondents to go on a chaperoned trip to Tibet. McClatchy correspondent Tim Johnson writes:

This just in: The Chinese Foreign Ministry has picked a select group of foreign correspondents to travel to Tibet Wednesday to see the damage done during violent protests March 14.

I heard about this a few hours ago, and am told that reporters from the Asian Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Al Jazeera TV, Kyodo News, Associated Press Television News, a Taiwanese television channel and a couple of others were invited to go.

I called our senior Foreign Ministry contact, Mr. Tang Rui, to ask whether I could go. His response: “Who told you about it?” I said a journalistic colleague. He told me to send a fax. Later, someone at the International Press Center said we could send a fax but quickly appraised my chances of a spot on the trip: “No way.”

Update: More protests occurred on Tuesday in western China, according to a report in Reuters via the Hindustan Times. At least two people, a police officer and a Tibetan protester, were killed. See also yesterday’s CDT post on this incident.

Here also is a short news article published by the official China News Agency on the arrests made for the March 10 protest in Lhasa, translated by CDT:

In the Lhasa riots, he was the first to raise the flag of “Tibet Independence”

The People’s Procuratorate of the city of Lhasa said that the criminal suspect Luozui 洛追, who was the first to raise the “snow mountains and lion” flag, has been formally arrested.

Around 5 pm on March 10, 2008, several monks showed up on the public square of Jokhang Temple, shouting reactionary slogans, holding hand-made “Snow mountain and lion” flag, and gathering crowds to make trouble. On the spot, the Lhasa police decisively started to arrest fifteen suspects. Among them thirteen were officially arrested by People’s procurator of Lhasa city. According to the investigation by political and legal cadres and police, these criminal suspects who committed an illegal assembly are followers of Luozhui. Criminal suspect Luozhui was the first one to raise the reactionary flag. At 8 am on March 10, 2008, criminal suspect Luozhui carried the self-made reactionary flag, came to the the public square of Jokhang Temple in a premeditated action. When he was waving the reactionary “snow mountain and lion” flag and preparing to shout reactionary slogans, police arrested him on the spot.

March 25, 2008 10:32 AM
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Categories: Human Rights, Society