Monday, March 24, 2008

CNN Footage of the Chinese Crackdown in Tibet

Danny Fisher posted this video, but I wanted to repost it, along with some links to recent news stories.

There are seven other videos in this embed, all of which look at the situation in Tibet.

From the Boston Globe: Atheists in religious raiment.

CHINA'S VIOLENT crackdown on Tibetan Buddhists might give the appearance of a clash between an atheist regime and a traditionalist community of faith. But China's communist rulers seem to believe the only way they can extinguish the Tibetan spirit of resistance is to give themselves the spiritual authority to make the rules for Mahayana Buddhism, the religion of Tibetans.

Adherents believe the current Dalai Lama is the 14th incarnation of the Dalai Lama, who was the Buddha of compassion. But in an edict issued last August, Beijing decreed that it will henceforth be "illegal and invalid" for anyone to become "a living Buddha without government approval." There may not be a precise Chinese term for the mind-set that produces such a bald assertion of authority over another people's belief system. The old Greek word is hubris. The Yiddish word would be chutzpah.

The communist authorities in Beijing have a crude political motive for wanting to decide who can be recognized as the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama. When the time comes, they intend to select his successor, much as they did with a boy they designated as the Panchen Lama - after taking into custody a youth most Tibetans recognize as the true Panchen Lama.

The communists' game plan is simple, even simplistic. They assume Tibetan resistance will be dissipated once the current Dalai Lama dies and they get to choose - and control - the next one.

From Salon: The Dalai Lama's moment of truth.

He sits hunched over, as if the weight of the world rested on his shoulders, his famous and often so liberating smile frozen, his characteristic and consistently bubbling optimism dissipated. The 14th Dalai Lama seems depressed as he receives the world press in his Indian exile. He is a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize who has apparently lost the support of all partners in peace, a god-king without a country.

He's at a loss over what to do about the bloody unrest in Tibet. He has called for an independent international investigation of the recent riots and military crackdown, knowing that Beijing will never agree. And he's urged the Chinese leadership to exercise restraint and respect human rights. But the Dalai Lama also preaches nonviolence to his fellow Tibetans. "I lack the means to defuse the conflict," says the world's most famous asylum seeker, a man revered by people around the world -- in Germany even more so than the pope.

"We would need a miracle for that," says the Dalai Lama, 72, whose real name is Tenzin Gyatso. (His title means "Ocean of Wisdom.") "But miracles are unrealistic." The Dalai Lama has even broached the idea of stepping down as the political leader of Tibetans and returning to private life. Over and over he says: "I don't understand the Chinese, I really don't understand them. This sort of escalation cannot be in their best interest."

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called the Dalai Lama a "hypocrite" and holds him responsible for the recent violence in the streets of the Tibet's capital, Lhasa. Other leading Chinese Communists have heaped derision on the Tibetan leader in exile, calling him everything from a "divider of the nation" to a "wolf in monks' robes."

His native Tibet has again moved into the international spotlight, but not in a way the apostle of nonviolence welcomes. China, which occupies Tibet, has declared a "people's war" there and has largely cut off the region from the outside world. Tibetan Communist Party leader Zhang Qingli has called it a "fight for life and death." After a period of silence about the incident, the Communist Party in Beijing announced that there were 16 dead on the streets of the Lhasa. But Tibetan exiles believe the death toll is closer to 100.

This is a good article, though long.

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