Today marks 50 years since the failed uprising in Tibet which led to the Dalai Lama fleeing to India, where he has lived ever since. AP reports on security measures that are assuring no protests will be tolerated in the region this year:
In neighboring Sichuan’s Ganzi prefecture, where some of the most violent protests occurred last year, rows of riot police and soldiers with machine-guns marched through the middle of Kangding town past the main square.
The night before, local Communist Party official Xiang Luo had exhorted paramilitary troops to be especially vigilant: “You must do this month’s work well. This is crucial.”
China’s governor of Tibet, Champa Phuntsok, in Beijing for the national legislature’s meeting, was quoted as saying that he spoke by phone to Lhasa and “that the whole city is stable and troops are in normal state as usual.”
Accounts from across Tibetan communities described higher police presence in recent days, though verifying the situation was difficult.
On the anniversary, the Dalai Lama used strong language to discuss the situation in Tibet, the Washington Post reports:
“Even today, Tibetans in Tibet live in constant fear, and the Chinese authorities remain constantly suspicious of them,” the 73-year-old Dalai Lama said. “Their religion, culture, language, identity are near extinction. The Tibetan people are regarded like criminals deserving to be put to death.”
Time China blog has posted a statement from the Foreign Correspondents Club of China about the harassment of foreign reporters in Tibet or Tibetan areas.
Update: Human Rights Watch has issued a report about last year’s unrest, based on analysis of official Chinese sources, which, “reveal that the number of protests was higher than previously acknowledged by the government, that protesters have been sentenced outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region in the provinces of Sichuan and Gansu, that protestors died or were killed in Lhasa, and that courts have sentenced protesters under state security charges for nonviolent acts such as waving the Tibetan flag and throwing pamphlets on the street.”
See also a report from Al Jazeera:
Also, Tibetan blogger Woeser writes on her blog that some cell phone companies operating in Tibet have decided to “renovate their network” from March 10 to May 1, while Internet and SMS connections in Tibetan areas, and phone access to Tibetan areas from overseas, have all been disrupted to varying degrees during this period.