Spotlight On Tibet: Post-Olympic News from the High Mountains PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Christal Smith   

During the Beijing Olympic Games, Tibetans and supporters around the world staged prayer vigils, hunger strikes, and protest marches to focus on China’s inhumane treatment of Tibetans. In Beijing, despite the government’s establishment of so-called free protest zones, there were at least 53 pro-Tibet activists detained, 77 rejected protest applications, approximately 15 Chinese citizens arrested for seeking to protest as well as about 10 dissidents jailed and at least 30 blocked websites reported. While exact numbers are unavailable, hundreds of Chinese and ethnic minorities were detained without cause, placed under house arrest, harassed or forced to leave Beijing during the games. Activists in Beijing who hung banners and displayed the banned Tibetan national flag were arrested by police and promptly deported back to their home countries.

According to recent reports, the heavy security stepped up during the Olympics remains in place across the Tibetan plateau with tight restrictions on foreign tourism and monasteries on lockdown. Tibetans inside Tibet are expressing fears that the crackdowns could continue to worsen after the Olympics, as the global focus on China fades after the nightly television coverage.

In Nepal, the government has ordered police to crack down on Tibetans living illegally in the country and will deport those who are found without proper papers. On September 9, 10 and 11, 137 Tibetan protesters were taken into custody by Nepalese authorities in Kathmandu. Those without valid papers will be sent to India. Since the 1980s, Tibetans who register with local authorities and are recognized as refugees have been given documents by the government allowing them to live in Nepal. In Kathmandu, often near the Chinese Embassy, thousands of Tibetans have participated in months of protests against China’s crackdown in Tibet that followed a tidal wave of demonstrations across the Tibetan plateau this spring and summer. The Nepali government suspects that many of those involved in the protests do not have documents.

Olympic Games
Olympic Games
Nearly six months after the Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, authorities are now finally releasing a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks from detention in Golmud.

In late August, the Dalai Lama was admitted to a hospital to undergo medical tests due to exhaustion. Representatives insist that there is no need for concern, although the exiled spiritual leader cancelled travel engagements through October.

The Dalai Lama’s brother, Taktser Rinpoche, a Buddhist monk-turned-CIA translator who helped train Tibetan resistance fighters in a guerrilla war against Chinese rule, died at his Indiana home on September 5 at the age of 86. Dr. Robert Barnett, founder and director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia University in New York, said, “His death is likely to add a much-needed sense of urgency and seriousness to the dialogue process between China and the exiles.”


Christal Smith is the senior producer of the radio show and website The Tibet Connection. For more information, broadcast times and updates, visit: thetibetconnection.org

 
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