'Rule of Terror' in Tibet

The Dalai Lama says the situation is "becoming worse and worse."

2011-06-05
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tibet-dalailama-305.jpg The Dalai Lama reads a statement in Dharamsala, India, March 10, 2011
AFP

The Dalai Lama has accused the Chinese authorities of imposing a "rule of fear" and "rule of terror" inside Tibet, citing stepped-up security measures and a clampdown on culture and education.

He said that while direct talks with Beijing since 1979 have brought "no positive result," the situation inside Tibet is "becoming worse and worse."
 
"Now [the] Chinese military personnel [have] much increase[d]. And the security personnel also [have] much increase[d]... So, [there is] rule of fear, rule of terror there," the Tibetan spiritual leader said when asked about the conditions inside Tibet during a U.S. broadcasting program.

Tibetan education has been curbed and political re-education campaign beefed up, with  Tibetans worried that now a "semi-Cultural Revolution [is] returning," the Dalai Lama said in an interview in the U.S. broadcasting programee "Ideas in Action with Jim Glassman" telecast on WHUT-TV on Sunday.

The Cultural Revolution was a dark period in Chinese history. It was launched by Chinese leader Mao Zedong in 1966, plunging the country into 10 years of turmoil, with millions of workers, officials, and intellectuals banished to the countryside for hard labor and many tortured, killed, or driven to suicide.

'Hardline'

The Dalai Lama noted that Beijing's "hardline, narrow-minded, short sighted" policy had triggered deadly riots in Tibet in 2008.

He said there was also "more tightening" of measures in Tibetan areas in Chinese provinces.

"Just a few days ago, I received one [piece of] information," he said, citing a local Chinese police raid on homes of Tibetan students. All Tibetan books were "removed" and the students could only keep "those sort of books which are officially issued."

"So, [they are] really tightening."

In southwest China, security forces have detained about 300 Tibetan monks from the Kirti  monastery amid a crackdown sparked by a self-immolation of a monk protesting Chinese rule, and paramilitary forces still have the monastery on lockdown.

Tension in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) prefecture, a heavily ethnic Tibetan part of Sichuan province, have risen to their highest levels since protests turned violent in March 2008.

Asked by the program host, Jim Glassman, a veteran journalist, scholar, and diplomat, whether there is anything Tibetans can do to resist these measures, the Dalai Lama said they face a "difficult" situation under "the communist authoritarian system," where freedom of expression is "impossible."

"There's no other choice except some demonstrations," he said. But the demonstrators are viewed as troublemakers and arrested and face "serious torture."

Many of those released complain of a "broken leg or hand" or other injuries.

U.S. concerns

Last week, a senior U.S. State Department official told Congress that religious restrictions in Tibetan areas in China have dramatically worsened in recent years.

"We are extremely concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in China and in particular in the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas," said Daniel Baer, the deputy assistant secretary for the bureau of democracy, human rights, and labor.

He cited recent regulations restricting Tibetan language education, strict controls over the practice of Tibetan Buddhism, and the arrests of prominent nonpolitical Tibetans.

"Religious restrictions in Tibetan areas have dramatically worsened in recent years," he said.

Reported by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.


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