Beijing-based Tibetan writer/blogger Woeser continues her “Tibet Update.” After her blog was attacked last month, she now publishes her writing on overseas Chinese news site Boxun.com here, here and here:
(A profile of Woeser, written by Washington Post’s Beijing correspondent Jill Drew is here.)
This is a record of events that have happened in Tibet between March 10 and May 5 totaling almost 60,000 characters.
During this time my blog has been attacked twice but both times I eventually regained control.
Announcement: The record of events is to be temporarily suspended on May 5; records will continue if there are later events.
The One-day talk between Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s special envoys and two Vice Ministers of United Front Work Department already ended, but the two sides have not reached any agreement on how to resolve the political turmoil in Tibet. For many Tibetans, this is an expected but still sad result. It is learnt that many exiled Tibetans outside China have had positive attitude toward the talk, therefore, they were very discouraged. Tibetans in China hold that the Chinese side is not sincere about the talk. Compared with the earlier six rounds of talk, the level of this talk is reduced as they only dispatched vice ministers. Though the Chinese announced to the outside world this is an informal meeting, but given the current situation in Tibet and the imminent Beijing Olympics to be heald soon, this talk has drawn much more attention than any of the earlier talks. The Chinese netizens ridiculed the action saying “next time it will do just to dispatch a bureau chief,” or “the city management will be able to deal with the issue, do not bother the Chairman and the Prime Minister too much.” Some Tibetans also pointed out that the talk is just a show, and it will only be beneficial to the Chinese side. The CCP can set their mind at rest to hold the Beijing Olympic, and the heads of the western countries can also rest assured to attend the Olympics. The sacrifices made by the Tibetans will all be wasted. However, does the CCP really think that they can drag on like this until the Olympics is over?
The large-scale theme exhibition entitled “ Tibet’s Past and Present ” is being held in Beijing Nationality Palace Museum from April 30 to July 15. It is sponsored by the Central United Front Work Department, the State Council Information Office, the State Commission for Nationality Affairs and Tibet Autonomous Region ( Its website address: http://finance.cctv.com/special/xzjx/01). No tickets are sold, and visitors can obtain tickets by showing their I.D. cards. The visitors need to go through security check at the entrance, and their bags also need to be checked. Drinks are prohibited there. There are a great number of security guards. With the themes known as “Tibetan History and the Feudal Serfdom System” and “Ever-changing New Tibet,” the exhibition is creating reasons for the claim that “Tibet has been an inalienable part of China since time immemorial,” and is making great effort to demonize pre-1959 Tibet. Many Chinese people are brainwashed, and some of them wrote the following words on the visitor’s book: “Down with Tibet independence, and Safeguarding Unity.” Pointing at such instruments of punishment as wooden cangue as well as human skin in the showcases, an old woman said to her grandson, “Dalai did all these…” One official is saying “How much benefits we have given to them, and they still revolt, why?” The Chinese official media reports that the “Chinese Panchen Lama” recognized by the China visited the exhibition today; we also see Yang Chuantang, the former party secretary of TAR, and the parents of the “Chinese Panchen Lama.”
At the time when Beijing Olympics is approaching, in view of the distrust of Tibetans and Uighurs, Beijing has started to investigate Tibetans and Uighurs. The main method is for the neighborhood committees to check each household with such excuses as “checking whether people follow the family planning policy,” etc. If they find Tibetan and Uighur tenants, the police will take them away very quickly. In addition, in other regions the authorities have also put into effect preventive measures in large-scale. On April 30, Yuncheng Municipal Party Committee of Shanxi Province convened a telephone conference with the major leaders of the various county party committees and the county government, urgently planning emergency measures to strictly guard against people for Tibetan independence and Falonggong practitioners. It is learned that recently at Guangzhou Railway Station the authorities captured two “Tibetan separatists” who “were about to bomb the train,” thus, at present, the security check at railway stations are strict, and everybody will pale at the mere mention of “Tibetan Separatists.”
It is reported that on May 1, the Ramoche Temple and the “Tripa Lhakhang” ( the Hall of the Buddha of Infinite Longevity) opened to the public, and some believers and some who pretended to be believers went to pay homage. The sentries at the gate of Ramoche Temple and near the intersection have already been removed, but there were many undercover agents in civilian clothes who posed as tourists. There is a work team in the courtyard. There are only approximately 30 monks reciting sutra in the hall, and the atmosphere was stifling. There are originally 28 monks in the “Tripa Lhakang.” Eight of them were arrested, and later five of them were released, but the remaining three will probably be sentenced to jail terms. These three are on the most wanted list. It is learned that recently there will also be Tibetans to be sentenced, and it might be possible that some will receive death penalty. The Lhundrup County in Lhasa Municipality started to release some Tibetans arrested, but they had to hand in 3,000 Yuan. The 31-year-old Dawa from Dedrung Village in Jangkha Township, Lhundrup County was released on March 27 when he was on the verge of death as a result of cruel torture and severe beating, but he passed away on April 1. Twenty Tibetans who were arrested from Ganden Chokho Monastery in Lhundrup County, Lhasa Municipality in March have already been transferred to Lhasa Prison.
The various work units in Lhasa, Nachu, Chamdo, Lingtri, Shigatse and Lhokha (Ch. Shannan) ordered all the employees to make donation to people who suffered from “beating, smashing, looting and burning” of March 14 Incident. The Nachu authorities demanded everybody to donate at least 100 Yuan, but we do not know the details about other regiosn.
On April 26, when the work team carried out the “Patriotic Education Campaign” in Pada Sangdruling Monastery in Dzinda Towship in Dzachukha (Ch. Shiqu) County in Kham (Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province), they demanded the monks to sign their names on an official document whose content they did not know, but many monks refused to do so. Up to now we do not know where Gelek Thabkhe, Gelek Drapa, Tenzing Puntso ¾three monks from this monastery who were arrested in Lhasa in March ¾ are imprisoned.
Corrections: On May 1st I wrote that “Jamyang Rinpoche, the abbot of Labrang Monastery (the deputy president of China Buddhist Association, the director of the Advanced Buddhism College of Tibetan Language Family and the director of Gansu Provincial Buddhist association) sent a telegram to the Chinese officials concerning the issue…”, but it is the wrong information. The person who reported to the authorities that the military police destroyed and even plundered the cultural relics of the monastery is the Great Geshe Jamyang Gyatso (Ch. Jiamuyang Jiacuo) of the Labrang Monastery (the deputy president of China Buddhist Association, the sutra teacher for the Eleventh Panchen Lama recognized by China. His name is also written as Jiayang Jiacuo in Chinese ).
The foreign media reported that the two special envoys of the Dalai Lama will travel to Shengzhen via Hong Kong, and will hold talks with the Chinese side. The official Chinese media did not report this news, but the Wenhui Newspaper in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong based Phoenix Television Station and others reported the news, and they also published the photos of these two envoys. What needs to point out is that they published the wrong photo of the special envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen. The special envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen is the Dalai Lama’s special envoy to Europe and has participated in Sino-Tibetan talks for several times. However, the photo published is that of Kelsang Gyaltsen, the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies under the Tibetan Government in Exile and the member of Tibetan Solidarity Committee of the Tibetan Government in Exile.
Some Tibetans say that Tibetan CCP official are completely useless. They should make their standpoints known and let the outside would hear their voice, rather than becoming the mouthpiece of the CCP. Tibetan people will support them. But, will they have enough courage to do so? The fear makes them realize that their lives will be ruined if they express people’s opinions. In Tibet we need courageous leaders. We miss the Tenth Panchen Lama. Without brave leadership and independent intellectuals, the sacrifice made by the common people is wasted.
It is very regrettable that today when the seventh talk between the Tibetan and Chinese governments is about to begin, the official Chinese media still uses Cultural Revolution like languages to demonize the Dalai Lama. For instance, Tibet Daily published the article entitled “ The Dalai Clique is the one who Sabotage the Normal Order of Tibetan Buddhism (part one)”, written by a Tibetan named Dramdul from the United Front Department of the Central Government of CCP. Though he is not a monk, yet he posed as a mouthpiece of Buddhism to affirm that speeches and deeds of “the Dalai Clique” destroyed the normal religious activities of Tibetan Buddhism. He claims that they violated the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni, went against the most basic precepts of Buddhism and blasphemed the sprit and tradition of Buddhist patriotism.” Furthermore, for instance, the lead news story is entitled “The True Face of Tibet Youth Congress: the Daring Vanguard of “Tibet Independence” from Violence to Terror,” claiming that the reason for the “Tibet Youth Congress” to grow in strength and put a spin on the situation is closely connected to the secret order the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. In addition, the decisions of the Dalai Clique also have deep “marks” of “Tibet Youth Congress,” etc.
In Lhasa the authorities have created the appearance of harmony. The soldiers who were on duty all took off their uniforms and dressed up as tourists to walk around everywhere. Most soldiers on guard duty changed into the police uniforms, and the same soldier would change into uniforms for ground force, armed police and policemen. The authorities also created the false appearance of the freedom for religious belief. While some work units notified their employees their place of work is to circumambulate the Potala Palace, the neighborhood committees also organized and encouraged people to go on circumambulation tour and to pay homage in Sera Monastery which has been ordered to open to the public by the authorities themselves. They rewarded these people for doing so with bonuses. It is learned that recently there will be another journalist group, including foreign journalists, to visit Lhasa. In order to show that people enjoy the right to hold demonstrations freely, some work units will organize their employees to hold demonstrations, and the content for holding the demonstrations is about some trivial matters.
Besides holding the mobilization assembly with the education activities focusing on “Opposing separatism, safeguarding stability and promoting development,” every work unit in Lhasa also convenes at least one session of the “political study” a week. There are more meetings for the party members. All people, including college students and people of all nationalities, must write articles to “expose and criticize the Dalai Separatist Clique,” and they had to read their articles on the assemblies. They had to named the Dalai Lama and denounce him, in addition, they could only say “Dalai”, and could not add the word “Lama,” otherwise, they would be considered to be someone whose standpoints were not firm. Many Tibetans’ feelings are rather complex. Though they are angry, yet they can not doing anything; they are humiliated, but are very scared as well. Some Tibetan students at the School of Arts and Science under Tibet University were arrested.
Recently some people who were arrested during the March 14 Incident without any reasons were released. It is learned that they were arrested one after another after March 14. While some of them were arrested on their way home from their offices, others were arrested when they were asleep late at night. Many people were locked up in the warehouse of the railway station. Those who were tortured include: Some were forced to shoulder the instruments of torture when they were tortured, thus, those who shouldered the iron club had broken ribs; those who carried mechanical springs had their flesh cut off; those who carried electric wire lost consciousness as they were shocked, etc. Some of them were not given water to drink, so they had to drink each other’s urine, but in the end they did not even have urine to drink. Every day they were thrown a few steamed bread, and all the people would fight for them. Every four or five days they would be transferred to different places. Since they were transferred late at night, they did not where they had been.
However, in other Tibetan areas tragedies which pain the Tibetans continue to happen. On the morning of April 30 in Gonsar Monastery Ñü the old Geluk Monastery of Kham in Derge [Ch. Dege] County, Kham (Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province) Ñü the work team force the monks to sign their names in the official document entitled “Expose and Criticize the Dalai Separatist Clique”, and also demanded each monk to hand in two photos to paste on the document. The authorities threatened the monks if they did not obey the order, the monastery would be closed. The monks voluntarily gathered at the Hall of the Protective Deity, and took the oath in front of the image of the protective deity that they would rather die than signing their names. We do not know any details about the immediate situation.
On April 28 in the village near Wonpo Monastery in Dzachukha [Ch. Shiqu] County in Kham (Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province) the military police searched the villagers’ houses, and destroyed the Dalai Lama’s photos worshipped by the villagers. A woman named Drilhamo was extremely grieved and hanged herself; an old monk over seventy-years old became mentally deranged. Earlier when the authorities held the ceremony to hang the Chinese flag, due to the fact that nobody except a monk attended the ceremony, they had to cancel it. Some local villagers were arrested.
In the last ten day period of March, when the work team was carrying out the “Patriotic Education Campaign” in Seshul Monastery in Kham (Dzachukha [Ch. Shiqu] County, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province), the well-respected reincarnated Lama Thubten Nyandra said, “ It is totally without any bases to claim that this incident was masterminded by the Dalai Lama. The cause for this incident is that a great number of Han immigrants moved to Tibet to plunder the land resources, and to rob the locals of their rights to receive education and to work. There is no Tibetan who does not want to believe in the Dalai Lama. The Chinese government should hold talks with the Dalai Lama as soon as possible.” From that time on, Thubten Nyandra Rinpoche has been under house arrest.
In addition, it is learned that in Rebgong (Ch. Tongren) County, Amdo (Tsolho [Huangnan] Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province) the local court recently tried three monks from Dowa Monastery in secret, and their prison terms are two to three years. In Drakgo [Ch. Luhuo] County (Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province), Kham, the local court recently held secret trail for six nuns and one lay person. While Khadro Lhamo, Wamo and Droma Yangtso were sentenced to seven-year prison term, Yeshe, Sonam Chodron, Deyang and the lay person Gesang Dorje were sentenced to three-year prison term. Due to the fact that these people were tried in secret, thus, it is impossible to obtain more detailed information.
On May 2, Tibet Forum (in Chinese), http://tibetalk.com/bbs, sponsored by Tibetans in exile was attacked, and all the data on the forum was lost!
Many official Chinese media published articles to offer official explanation for the process of trials for Tibetans who were involved in March 14 Incident, and this is an response to the questioning and criticism by the leaders of western countries and human rights organizations. Therefore, they specially reported that “31 lawyers defended 30 defendants.” All of the lawyers were designated by the court. Except those local lawyers in Tibet, there were two lawyers from Beidou Dingming Law Office in Beijing, but they are not Chinese lawyers who openly signed their names to express their willingness to provide legal assistance to the arrested Tibetans. What merits our attention is Beijing lawyer Sun Wenge’s account of his meeting with the defendant Yeshe: “The first question I asked is whether he has ever been tortured to extort a confession during his imprisonment and trail and how the food was in the house of detention. Yeshe told me that he had not been tortured for confession, and the food there is also very good.” However, the Tibetan lawyer Mimar Drokar described her meeting with the defendant Losang Samten as follows: “When I walked into the house of detention, two doctors were treating the suspects who were detained there. At that time over d dozen suspects were waiting to see a doctor. In addition, two suspects were receiving an I.V. there.” According to the information gathered from investigations into some Tibetans who were released, all those who were arrested, in varying degree, were beaten and abused. There are cases that some monks and common people were beaten to become disabled, were beaten to death or were beaten to become mentally deranged. Some Tibetans were beaten so severely that they were critically ill, as a result, they were transferred to be treated in the hospital, but the local police warned them, saying that they were forbidden to reveal that they were tortured to confess. Therefore, the Beijing lawyer’s claim that the defendant has not been subject to torture does not conform to the fact.
After the Chinese official media solemnly reported the news that a policeman was shot to death, it mentioned that a “Tibetan separatist” was killed by the police. This is the first time China officially admit that they killed a Tibetan protester since the protests happened in the various areas in March, but they did not reveal any more information. There is a comment concerning this on one Chinese website as follows: On the internet we can not find any information concerning a minority of Tibetan separatists’ action to incite some Tibetan herdsmen from the upper Hongkho Township in Dari County to gather a mod and make trouble. We do not know whether the disturbance in Qinghai has any connection to March 14 incident in Lhasa, the incidents in Kanlho [ch. Gannan] and March 16 incident of beating, smashing, looting and burning occurred in Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province. At that time the only information one can find is the report about people of all walks of life in Qinghai and reincarnated lamas from Kubum Monastery condemned the violent criminal incident in Lhasa. In addition, one also reads about what Jidi Magya, the deputy governor of Qinghai Province, said when he attended the “Conference Introducing the Tourist Products of Qinghai in 2008” in Hong Kong: “The safety in Qinghai is very good and the situation is very stable,” “the various ethnic groups are interdependent of each other, i.e. you will find the situation that “there are you among us, and us among you,” and “it is a very harmonious society.” But we have not seen the report about the disturbance caused by Tibetan herdsmen in Qinghai who were incited by the separatist forces. It is possible that the disturbance was not reported because the scale of the disturbance is not great or the situation was not serious, or it is also possible that the authorities deliberated overlook it because they worry that the report about the incident would create the impression that “the incidents are too widespread.” However, due to the fact that the serious loss occurred in arresting people involved after the incidents, the unknown incident was revealed. This also causes us to wonder how many other incidents happened but were not made public. Can our media tell the public a coherent and completely true story after every incident of widespread impact occurred? Is it possible that the authorities do not want the public to read about the report, then use their imaginations to analyze and seek for the truth of the incident.
It is reported that nineteen nuns from Shuse Nunnery in Chushul County, Lhasa City and four monks practicing on Shuse Mountain who were arrested on April 28 are imprisoned in the prison of Chushul County. In addition, some military police are stationing in the nunnery.
It is learned that recently a thousand armed police and special police suddenly evacuated from Rebgong County in Amdo (Tsolho [Huangnan] Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province) without knowing the reasons, but the undercover agents in civilian clothes increased. Among the monks from Rongwu Monastery who were arrested, except seventeen of them are still in custody, the rest have been released. Some monks who were beaten severely are receiving medical treatment in hospitals.
The latest news: On May 3 the two special envoys of the Dalai Lama, Gyari Lodi Gyantsan and Gesang Gyaltsan will embark on their journey to China to hold talks with the Chinese side discussing the situation and future of Tibet. This talk is the first official contact between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government after the protests broke out all over the Tibetan areas and these protests were suppressed by the Chinese authorities since March. The Private office of the Dalai Lama pointed out in today’s news statement that the two envoys would discuss the present intense situation in various Tibetan areas, and convey the Dalai Lama’s deep concern over the Chinese authorities’ dealing with the Tibet incident and make suggestions in order to create peace in Tibetan areas. The statement also claims that the Chinese side accepted the suggestions of the international society and openly express its willingness to have contact and consultation with the special envoys of the Dalai Lama. The envoys would take the opportunity to seek for a breakthrough to satisfactorily solve the Tibet issue.
But the viewpoint of Tibetans in China is as follows: The CCP wants to use the Dalai Lama to quiet down the Tibet issue, the various domestic problems and the threat to Beijing Olympics posed by the international society. Having the so-called “contact and consultation” which they need is equivalent to giving China and some western countries a tranquilizer. As the coordinating party in the conflict, it should be without any favorable interest to any negotiating party, but the Sino-Tibetan talk at present is completely tendentious. It is an effort to satisfy the pressure from the western society and to brag about itself. The Dalai Lama hopes to discuss and explain protests in Tibet since March, but the Chinese Communist Party already proclaimed their verdict to the world, thus, it is not likely to have any result from the talk. In addition, when discussing issues concerning Tibetans in Tibet, yet Tibetans in Tibet, i.e., parities concerned ⎯ which here refers to common Tibetans, not those Tibetans incorporated into the Chinese system ⎯ are absent, thus, this itself is a problem. If no Tibetans who are outside of the Chinese system participate in solving the Tibet issue and there is no voice of Tibetans in Tibet, then the talk will have no substantial breakthrough. Among Tibetans who are involved in talks with the Chinese side, there should be Tibetans who have experience living in Tibetan areas and who understand the Chinese culture and the CCP system. The so-called talk, in fact, is a game of languages, a game of culture, a game of politics, thus, the talks will be doomed to fail if the two parties do not have the background of understanding each other.
From March 10 to the entire month of April, due to the fact that the peaceful protest staged by the monks in Lhasa was suppressed by the authorities, a large scale protests all over Tibetan areas happened and were also suppressed by the authorities with military power. During the period, the entire Tibetan areas have plunged into the man-made disasters. Thousands of Tibetans have met with the fate of being killed, being arrested, being tortured to confess, being missing, committing suicide or having mental disorder, and this has brought disasters to countless Tibetan families. As for 30 Tibetans who were sentenced by the Chinese court because of their “involvement” in “Lhasa Riot” and were reported by the official Chinese media, their trails are not fair, and there are many serious deficiencies in their sentences. I hope the human rights organizations and individuals who care about human rights issues pay attention to the humanistic disaster who is occurring in Tibet and has not stopped yet!
In Labrang Monastery in Amdo (Sangchu [Ch. Xiahe] County, Kanlho [Ch. Gannan] Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province), while the military police arrested over 200 monks, they searched the living quarters of the monks and destroyed the possessions of the monks. What is more serious is that they damaged, and even looted the valuable cultural relics in Tibet. It is reported that Jamyang Rinpoche, the abbot of Labrang Monastery (the deputy president of China Buddhist Association, the director of the Advanced Buddhism College of Tibetan Language Family and the director of Gansu Provincial Buddhist association) sent a telegram to the Chinese officials concerning the issue, maintaining that such evil deeds of destroying and looting the cultural relices of the monastery is like another ‘cultural revolution” all over again, but the Chinese officials shirked all the responsibilities to the local officials of Kanlho (Ch. Gannan) Prefecture. The monks from Labrang Monastery who are accused of masterminding and inciting “riot” include Jigme, Kuncho Lhado, Samdrup Yalo, Tsundru, Tsangpalha, Tsage, Paldan, Tendzing, Genden Namda, Jamyang Jinpa and others. They were all arrested and were beat savagely. It is learned that among the monks Jigme, Tenzing and Geden Namda and Jamyang Jinpa are critically ill due to the serious injury, and they are under treatment in hospitals.
Today and yesterday the Chinese official media, including websites concerning Tibet, specially reported the news that Lama Tseten, the head of the vice squad of Dari County Public Security Bureau in Golok Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, was shot to death. The reports claim when he was trying to arrest the prime suspect who was accused of inciting the March 21 Incident by the “Tibetan Separatists,” he died heroically as he was shot by the suspect. The authorities held a solemn memorial meeting for him. However, it is learned that in fact Lama Tseten led the vice squad to Hongkho Township in Dari County to arrest the monk named Chodo who burned the Chinese flag on March 21, they were stopped by monks from Hongkho Monastery and local people. Lama Tseten shot to death the 21-year old monk Chodo, then the police seized his corpse, and arrested Chodo’s father Sangsang Lele. This was more than the locals could bear, thus they clashed with the police. During the clash, Lama Tseten was shot to death. At present, due to the lack of source of news, we do not know clearly what kind of clash happened between the local people and the police. Judging from the fact that the monk Chodo and the head of the vice squad were shot to death, this clash became more serious because of using guns. Moreover, what is more important is that it is a serious issue that the police was shot on the scene. We do not know any details how this conflict ended eventually and what consequences it will bring about for local monks and lay people. In view of the authorities’ actions of “taking revenge” for all the protests in various Tibetan areas, such actions of mass arrests involving large-scale killing will most probably cause Tibetan people to resist vigorously by risking their life, as a result, they will cause more serious humanitarian disaster. I appeal to the authorities to act with restraint so as to allow Tibetans to live.
It is learned that on April 29 nineteen nuns in Shuse Nunnery in Chushul County, Lhasa Municipality, were arrested by the military police. In the caves where monks and nuns engage in practice, four monks were also arrested by the military police. At present, we do not know the details.
Lhasa is creating the great prosperous prospect in Lhasa in order to welcome “May 1st” holiday, and one will see red flags and red lanterns everywhere. In the morning, the pedestrian street of Yuthog Road was filled with armed police, who were putting on a show of “severing the people.” For instance, they were cutting hairs for civilians, treating them, repairing bicycles for them. All the so-called “civilians” were Tibetan representatives chose and dispatched by the neighborhood committees, and the soldiers and civilians were putting on a show of harmony, which was enthusiastically reported by television programs and newspapers. However, all the intersections leading to the street were sealed off, and military police were waiting at these intersections to check the I.D. cards, forcing passengers to take a detour.
According to reports by the official Chinese media, the first domestic tourist group of 32 people took the train to Lhasa to realize “their trip of dream.” Lhasa Municipal government not only organized a large-scale welcome group to meet these tourists at the railway station, but also to organize bonfire and fireworks parties. The local government treated the tourist group generously and exceptionally, which politicized tourism.