The foreign journalists on the sedate Chinese government-led tour Thursday of a temple in Lhasa, Tibet, received a surprise to make any reporter salivate: A throng of some 30 monks descended upon the party chanting “Tibet is not free,” contravening Chinese claims that recent unrest there had quieted.
Today’s Badger Herald article “Students take on Tibet conflict” looked at international resistance to Chinese rule in its coverage of the University of Wisconsin Students for a Free Tibet, who will protest the April appearance of the Chinese Olympic Torch in San Francisco.
The Lhasa protest was an “embarrassment to the Chinese hosts,” the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The Chinese have detained hundreds of protestors and monks in response to civil upheaval in Tibet and China in the past month. Tibetan officials involved in the Chinese rule there have blamed the violence on fringe groups of agitators.
But a Tibetan monk at the Deer Park Buddhist Center outside of Madison said the latest protest represented the feelings of most Tibetans, noting that “all Tibet needs freedom.”
“The Chinese government, they’re saying, ‘Okay, (it’s) peaceful,’” said Sherab, who, like many Tibetans, uses only one name. “Actually, no. A lot of Tibetans are put in jail, a lot of Tibetans killed.”
Sherab also disagreed with allegations that the Dalai Lama, who has visited Deer Park in the past and will attend a blessing for the center’s new temple in July, has promoted violent opposition to Chinese rule.
“He is all the time trying to make peace … all over the world,” Sherab said.
The continuing unrest has invited further scrutiny of China in the lead-up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and some countries have raised the possibility of a partial boycott.
“Hopefully other countries will help Tibetans and … other countries’ leaders will not go to the opening celebrations,” Sherab said.