Saturday, 10 May 2008

Ongoing Conflict in Tibet

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Dalai LamaOn April 18, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi — who is in Japan as an advance man for Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit in May — that the unrest in Tibet has become an international issue. The Beijing government maintains that the ongoing protests and suppression of freedom in Tibet are a domestic matter.

In response to questions about rioting and the government crackdown, Yang shifted blame to the Dalai Lama, claiming the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader has failed to engage in dialogue.

On the same day, Tibet’s prime minister-in-exile Samdhong Rinpoche predicted from his enclave of Dharamshala in India that China will extend its suppression of freedom in Tibet and issued an appeal for the international community to intervene. “Tibet is virtually sealed,” said Rinpoche. “In a short period the Chinese authorities will destroy all evidence by executing the innocent Tibetans.”

Riots against government policies in Chinese-occupied Tibet began in March, and exiled Tibetan leaders say more than 150 Tibetans have died in the subsequent Chinese crackdown. However both Rinpoche and the Dalai Lama have asserted that the violent protesters were actually Chinese agents provocateurs masquerading as Tibetans. “In particular, there are cases where people have seen Chinese policemen in Tibetan dress and in monks’ robes taking the leading role during the protests,” said Rinpoche.


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