03/14/2009, 00.00
CHINA - TIBET
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International observers needed to stop China's deception about Tibet

by Urgen Tenzin
Martial law, arrests, violence, crackdown on monasteries: this is the "peace" in Tibet as extolled by Wen Jiabao. International observers and media are needed in the China-Tibet dialogue, in order to verify Beijing's real intentions. China's economic blackmail of all international diplomacy. The smear campaign against the Dalai Lama is stoking the protests.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - "China is not sincere": this is the assessment of Urgen Tenzin, a Tibetan, regarding Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao's claim that Tibet is "peaceful and stable." Urgen Tenzin, the director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), accuses China of spreading false rumors about the real situation in Tibet, which is now under tight military control, with arrests, violence, closing of monasteries, re-education. In the face of this deception, the director of the TCHRD asks that the dialogue between China and Tibet take place in the presence of international observers and media.

Wen talked about the situation in Tibet yesterday, during a press conference at the closing of the National People's Congress, the annual gathering of the Chinese parliament. In addition to defending Beijing's policy, aimed at "accelerating economic development," the prime minister also affirmed the desire for dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama, provided that the Tibetan leader abandon his "separatist ambitions."

Tenzin accuses China of wanting to destroy the image of the Dalai Lama, "that which is so sacred to Tibetans," and to use commercial relations to blackmail political leaders not to have any ties with him.

Here are Urgen Tenzin's statements to AsiaNews:

 

Firstly, if Tibet is peaceful, then why is such heavy armed security deployed in Tibet and surrounding our monasteries? This is Chinese propaganda, to say that Tibet is peaceful. The streets of Lhasa are like a military camp, ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising, and China has poured extra troops into Tibet to quell any protests. Even tourists are kept out of Tibet - what peace is Beijing talking about? If the Chinese claims are true, then why was Lobsang Wangchuk, the 32-year-old Tibetan, beaten up by the security forces, beaten up mercilessly and arrested in Lithang on March 10th? Elsewhere inside Tibet, monasteries have faced shutdowns and monks, subjected to “patriotic education,” have been monitored.

Wen Jiabao also said that they are willing to continue talks with the Dalai Lama. But the Chinese are not sincere, they always come with preconditions which are not acceptable to the Tibetan people, and historical distortions like insisting that Tibet is part of China. So in the dialogue talks, the Chinese are neither sincere nor positive.

We are very keen to engage in dialogue with the Chinese officials, but this should not remain just a meeting with the envoys, the agenda should be serious. The human rights situation inside Tibet should be discussed, the aspirations of the Tibetan people should be seriously in focus, and they should discuss positive steps in the resolution of the Tibetan issue. So far, only the envoys have been at the meetings, without any important dialogue being discussed or even the desire to come to any resolution. If the Chinese are as sincere as they claim to be, they should invite an international observer to be present at the talks, and even have the talks outside of China.

But this seems almost impossible to me: the Chinese government opposes any world leaders having any form of contact with the Dalai Lama, they bully the world community by stating that meetings with the Dalai Lama could harm trade ties. Any mention of human rights inside Tibet by a head of government in the international community warrants a stern warning from the Chinese government . . .

Finally, the Chinese continue to show disdain toward the Dalai Lama and wound that which is so sacred to Tibetans. This is one of the main causes for so much dissent, and the reason why Tibetans spontaneously protest. This situation is intolerable. Beijing makes every effort to discredit the Dalai Lama and makes false and baseless accusations against His Holiness, and this provokes our people to protest in a non-violent manner.

 

(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this report)

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