Monday, March 17, 2008

Jantar Mantar Diary – Killings in Lhasa, Unrest in Delhi

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Killings in Lhasa, Slogans in Delhi

Amidst the city's Tibetan citizens.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Red-robed lamas, apple-cheeked girls and the Tibetan flag. Also: fists, frowns, and slogans.

In that side of the Himalayas, Chinese are killing Tibetans. Violence in Lhasa has left 80 dead. In this side, Tibetan refugees have gathered at Jantar Mantar, Delhi's Tian Mien square. Most are young born-in-India Tibetans whose parents and grand parents had escaped here after China invaded the Buddhist nation in 1959. Today these angry people are demanding freedom. But who will take them seriously? They don't have suicide bombers.

Read me

Killings in Lhasa, Slogans in Delhi

Free me

Killings in Lhasa, Slogans in Delhi

Cry, my beloved country

Killings in Lhasa, Slogans in Delhi

All together - young 'n' old

Killings in Lhasa, Slogans in Delhi

Angry lamas

Killings in Lhasa, Slogans in Delhi

Read me, again

Killings in Lhasa, Slogans in Delhi

Here's how you can support Tibet's cause

Please visit the online petition, 'We, the people of India, support the people of Tibet' at http://www.petitiononline.com/indtib35/petition.html and take a moment to read the petition statement. If you feel moved to, please sign the petition. Once we have enough signatures, the petition will be sent to the official email addresses of the government of India.

6 comments:

Shaheen Sultan Dhanji said...

You are quite a photographer! Excellent shots....

m a v e r | c k said...

FREE TIBET

Thomas Kappler said...

Hey, great to see you helping the Tibetans get some attention. Minor nitpick: not all monks are lamas (and a lama is not even necessarily a monk).

Cheers, Thomas

Gautam said...

Thanks for bringing Tibet into the spotlight...
However, there is another side to this Tibet-mongering fueled by corporate media.

A great furore is being created by imperialist powers and their reactionary supporters all shapes and stripes regarding the Olympics in China. From Islamic fundamentalists planning to bomb the Olympics (East Turkestan Islamic Movement) to the feudalist Free Tibet Movement led by Dalai Lama and now Steven Spielburg, there is a full on concerted campaign to put pressure on countries to boycott the Olympics in China.

The fact is that China is the first Third World country to host the Olympic games. China has
succeeded in almost completely overcoming its colonial legacy of under-development. China is not only the fastest growing economy, it has demonstrated the most
amazing results as far as human development parameters are concerned as well. UNDP report of 2005 reads:

"China has registered some of the most rapid advances in human development in history, with its Human Development Index Ranking increased 20 percent since
1990"

"if China’s achievements were not recorded, the world would have actually regressed in its progress towards poverty alleviation."

"The country climbed 20 places in the Human Development Index ranking to 85 since 1990"

China was reported as having 250 million people living in absolute poverty in 1978. Today they have none.

CHINA IS THE ONLY THIRD WORLD COUNTRY THAT HAS
COMPLETELY RID ITSELF OF ABSOLUTE POVERTY.

We have seen in the case of Iraq and Palestine how the Western media, dominated by imperial concerns builds up complete hysteria about human rights abuses of other countries while legitimizing genocide in the
name of democracy. In the same way, they are today building up a media frenzy to boycott the Olympics in
China. The reality is that if the Olympics in China are successful all their lies about that country will be exposed. The people of the world will be able to see that China has prospered, grown, and developed. It has thrown off its colonial past and is becoming a new
world power that may challenge the global imperialism.

Anonymous said...

Whilst your pictures are fluid and intimate, they lack the particular context - each image, protest and movement has a setting - a larger arena of action. If divorced from that context, the representations of that struggle undermine themselves...

Alas, these are not captured - the Lamas or Monks as you confuse the two, could be anywhere - the streets of New York, Hyde Park or for that matter Mumbai.

A blog on Delhi must not lose touch with its ethos - this is not a critique but a reader's observation.

Anonymous said...

Tibet Riot Documentary

This is a blow by blow account of the riot in Lhasa
and shows that the supporters of the so-called Free
Tibetan movement were the perpetrators of gruesome
violence.

Pictures at:
http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90785/6378050.html


The riots in Lhasa last Friday are the most serious
incident in the region for decades. Local residents
are still reeling from the aftershock, even as they
try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. In
the following documentary, we look back at the events
to see how they've impacted the people in Tibet.


11 a.m., March 14

(Ramoche Temple, Lhasa) At eleven o'clock on the
morning of March 14th, rioters gathered at the Ramoche
Temple. On the temple roof, about a dozen monks stood
and threw stones at police.

2 p.m., March 14

The situation escalated in the afternoon as more
rioters gathered at the Ramoche Temple. Others, some
armed with knives, began to arrive from the streets in
downtown Lhasa. As the riot intensified, a group of
people tipped over a police wagon, and then flipped a
nearby car.

An amateur cameraman recorded the scene as members of
the mob stopped a motorcycle on the road and
bludgeoned the rider's head with rocks. As the
violence intensified, some people caught up in the
riot suffered severe injuries. This innocent man was
blinded in the right eye, and his left ear was cut
off.

An amateur cameraman recorded the scene as members of
the mob stopped a motorcycle on the road and
bludgeoned the rider's head with rocks.


3 p.m., March 14

>From three o'clock in the afternoon onward, the mob
moved along Yutuo Road, Beijing East Road, and
Duosenge Road, smashing businesses and setting fires.

They stormed into shops, hospitals and news agencies.
Nearby public facilities, transportation and electric
power lines were damaged.

Seven banks operating within the area failed to escape
the mob. Rioters smashed ten ATM machines to pieces
leaving those branches in a complete mess.

Rioters set fires in the areas around the Jokhong
Temple, Ramoche Temple and the Chomsigkang Market. In
the city centre, fires started in the Si Fang
supermarket, Lan Dun Plaza and Wen Zhou Plaza.

Rioters even attacked schools, setting Lhasa's Number
2 Middle School on fire. The smoke from these fires
covered the city.

When firefighters arrived, two of their fire trucks
were torched and four firefighters were injured.

13 innocent civilians were burned or stabbed to death
in the riots. 56 cars were damaged or burned. Dozens
of public security officers and scores of armed police
were injured, 10 in serious condition. Rioters have
set fire to over 300 sites, and burned down over 200
residential houses and shops.

After the riots began, Party and government officials
of the Tibet Autonomous Region reacted quickly. They
deployed the police to disperse the violence, and
firefighters to put out the fire and evacuate those
trapped inside burning buildings. The wounded were
rushed to hospital for treatment.

Local authorities say more than 580 people have been
rescued by the armed police, including three Japanese
tourists, as well as teachers and students in a
primary school and a middle school. There wereno
foreigners among the casualties.

China's public security and armed police have exerted
the highest restraint.

In their handling of the incident, China's public
security and armed police have exerted the highest
restraint. They did not use any deadly weapons, not
even when their own lives were threatened. Some riot
police were cornered and beaten. Others were stoned.
Armed police on duty outside the gate of the Romache
Temple were surrounded and attacked by rioters. None
of them fired on their attackers.

One day after the riots, vehicles were restricted from
entering the city's main roads. But the streets were
still littered with roll-over cars, burned motorbikes
and bicycles, and smoldering reminder of from violence
from the day before.

Local officials in Tibet say there is plenty of
evidence to prove that the incident was masterminded
by the Dalai clique.

Baema Chilain, vice chairman of government of Tibet
autonomous region, said "The Dalai clique used various
means to contact and issue orders to their
co-conspirators in Tibet. They also resorted to all
sorts of tricks to stir up trouble among the people,
hiding the truth from them. All this shows that the
Dalai clique has never stopped its efforts to disrupt
national unity and seek Tibet independence."

"I am outraged!" a Lhasa resident said.

"My heart is very heavy. A small group of
secessionists has unleased great violence on Lhasa.
They've destroyed our happy life. We can't go to work.
Our children can't go to school." another resident
said.

"If there should be similar incidents in the future,
we will definitely be against them. It's absolutely
necessary to punish the culprits in accordance with
the law. This is for the interests of the people, for
social stability, and for national unity."

Many places were attacked and burned down to the
ground. The Youth Road in the downtown area suffered
the most.

Businessman Peng Xiaobo said "After an explosion,
heavy smoke was everywhere. My uncle was over there
with the woolen blanket -- he jumped down from the
second floor. Then he urged us to jump, too. He said,
'Don't worry about the money. Life is more important.'
The explosion shattered all the glasses, and heavy
smoke covered up everything."

Peng Xiaobo's four shops were all set on fire. His
family had to jump down from the second floor in order
to escape. His wife hurt her back during the jump. But
the worst was yet to come.

Peng said "I had a younger sister. She just had her
18th birthday in December. She didn't dare to jump
from such a height. She tried to find another way to
escape, but the stairs under her collapsed. She fell
through to the first floor and was burned to death."

18-year-old Chen Jia came from the southwestern
province of Sichuan. Last Friday, the clothing store
in Lhasa, where she and five other girls worked, was
targeted by rioters. The door of the store was
destroyed. Trapped inside, the six girls were forced
to flee to the second floor.

In shock, Chen Jia sent a text message to her father,
saying, 'Father, the rioters here are very brutal.
We're hiding in the store and don't dare to leave.
Don't worry about me. You tell Mother and Sister not
to go out.' Several minutes later, the store was set
on fire. Five of the girls were burned to death. The
tragedy broke Chen Jia's father's heart. He said "My
daughter was so girlish. We all loved her."

Chen Jia, Cering Zhuoga from Xigaze, Yang Dongmei and
Liu Yan from Sichuan, and Han Xinxin from Henan were
also burn to death. Zhuoma was left shocked at being
the only survivor. Days after the violence, Zhuoma
still can't accept that her friends are no longer
here.

She said "I never thought about that. We were happy
together that morning, but it suddenly changed hours
later. I can't believe it, I can't accept the truth
that they have left me. I want to ask the rioters why
they did it. I really can't understand why the rioters
killed innocent civilians...why they killed our
sisters. We're just employees, we don't have much
money. If they wanted money, why did they rob us of
our lives?"

Violence in Lhasa broke out on March 14th, and took a
heavy toll in innocent lives and property.
Businessman, Wu Guanglin, can't forget what he and his
son suffered that day. Rioters targeted him and his
six-year-old son. They stamped on the little boy's
chest, sending him into shock.

Businessman Wu Guanglin said "I searched all over for
him, at last I saw my son was lying on the ground
without clothes and shoes."

Wu Guanglin stopped an ambulance, and doctors gave his
son first aid. But the ambulance was targeted shortly
after driving off. He said "My son's only six years
old. I really feel sad. The rioters even beat the
doctors with stone and sticks. The doctors directed me
to cover my son with my body, the rioters even
destroyed the face guard. I was really sad. My son was
in serious condition for two days after the incident.
I went to hospital twice to thank doctor Lobsang, but
he told me that was his duty."

Wu Guanglin says he will always remember the Tibetan
doctor, Cering Lobsang, who risked his life to rescue
the boy. Lobsang is still recovering from his wounds
at Lhasa People's Hospital.

Tibetan doctor Cering Lobsang said "We picked up the
Wus on our way back. The boy wasn't breathing, and had
no heart beat. The rioters stopped us. We told them we
are medical workers, but they didn't care. They
targeted the ambulance, and beat us."

Local authorities took control of the situation
shortly after the violence broke out. They also took
effective measures to restore peace and order. Local
residents also volunteered clear away debris and clean
up the streets.

Vice chairman of Tibet autonomous region Dorje Cering
said "We are working to gather enough materials for
people's basic needs. Tibet is at such a special
moment. We have to guarantee that every citizen lives
a stable life here in Lhasa. At the same time, we're
working hard to arrest those behind the violence as
soon as possible."

By Wednesday, more than 150 rioters had turned
themselves in to police, and handed over what they had
looted.

In downtown Lhasa, the shells of stores and homes can
be seen everywhere. But as people start putting things
back together, the city is on the way back to normal.