Tibetan activist: if it is our fault, let Beijing invite international observers
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – If China is convinced that recent clashes in Tibet are to be blamed on the Dalai Lama “, why are they shutting down access and information from getting out of Lhasa, why are they not permitting Independent observers to evaluate the situation from a neutral viewpoint? If they are innocent then they cannot fear independent judgement, they can only gain by it!”. That is how Penpa Tsering, Executive Director Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre, responds to Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who last night accused “the Dalai Lama’s clique” of being behind violence which has broken out over recent days in Tibet.
Protests began on March 10th, when hundreds – soon to become thousands – led demonstrations in Lhasa and other areas in Tibet to commemorate the victims of the bloody repression of 1959, carried out by the communist government against the Tibetan people who were asking that independence be restored. During that revolt the Dalai Lama – the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism – was forced to flee. According to the Tibetan government in exile in Dharamsala, “hundreds” have been killed so far in the clashes. According to Beijing the number of dead is no more than 13.
The activist explains to AsiaNews: “We have information that there is a food shortage and food supply is running out and is very scarce as people had not stored provisions. We have been told that particularly in Lhasa the situation is very tense and last night with deadline coming to an end, Chinese authorities have issued “Shoot-at-sight order of more than two people on the street and people cannot move out together in the streets as they may be shot at. Now the tensions are mounting”.
During a press conference, the Chinese Premier said that “the incidents of violence in recent days in Tibet were premeditated and organised by the Dalai Lama’s clique. The Tibetan protesters attacked innocent civilians and their property, they sacked and set fire to private buildings, and they brutally killed innocent civilians”.
The Premier also refuted the Dalai Lama’s claims that Beijing is carrying out a veritable “cultural genocide” in Tibet: “This is a lie. Their behaviour clearly shows that their claims to seek autonomy and not independence are false. If they accept that Tibet is part of China then, our door is always open for dialogue”.
These, continues Tsering, “these are mere provocations: if Wen Jiabao’s claim had even the slightest truth then Tibetans and Chinese would coexist in peace and harmony. They reality is far from this: we cannot study our language in our own country, we cannot pray according to the rights of our father, we cannot see our spiritual leader the Dalai Lama”.
Finally, concludes the Centre director, “we cannot simply ignore the terms which Wen Jiabao answered journalists questions: to define the Tibetan government in exile ‘a clique’, and excuse our religious leader of sedition, is part of a conspiracy that has been a reality for some time now, which aims to discredit our cause before the eyes of the world. This must not happen, because ours is simply a peaceful fight for survival”.