In the face of severe human rights violations and oppression by China, Tibetan activists are on the march:
Tibetan exiles vowed to defy an Indian government order that they stop their march from the northern Indian city of Dharmsala to Tibet’s border in a protest against China’s rule over their homeland.
About 100 people — mostly students and monks — plan to reach India’s border with Tibet for a confrontation with Chinese authorities just before the Beijing Olympics begin in August, according to Himachal Pradesh, president of the Tibetan Youth Congress and one of the march organizers.
“As long as the issue of Tibet is not resolved, we will resist China occupation,” Pradesh said.
Several hundred monks clashed with Chinese police near the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, on Tuesday, according to Radio Free Asia. It was the second day of protests by monks on the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising that forced the Dalai Lama into exile.
Even as Tibetans continue to resist oppression with non-violence, the Chinese government has stepped up its program of tyranny:
Human rights activists decried the U.S. State Department decision to drop China from its list of the world’s worst human rights violators, saying that China’s crackdown on dissent is getting worse, not better, as it prepares to host the Olympic Games in August.
“We and others have documented a sharp uptick in human rights violations directly related to preparations for the Olympics,” said Phelim Kine, Asia researcher with New York-based Human Rights Watch, who said the State Department’s decision comes at the worst possible time for activists seeking to pressure Beijing to relax restrictions on free speech, release political prisoners and improve human rights protections.
Removing China from this list is not diplomacy. It is a knife in the eye. The Tibetan protest is a call the world must rise to meet. Doing so would send a clear message to those who resist oppression with violence and outright terrorism.
Just in the past week, Chinese police clashed with Tibetan monks demonstrating for independence in Lhasa, capital of the remote mountainous region. Human rights activist Hu Jia, jailed after organizing a petition saying that Chinese wanted “human rights, not the Olympics,” was informed that his trial on charges of subverting state power could begin as early as this month. A prominent human rights lawyer, Teng Biao, was abducted by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau and then released two days later. And a Web site that organizes expeditions to Mt. Everest posted a notice that China was barring climbers from the mountain’s north face until after May 10, when a runner carrying the Olympic torch is scheduled to reach the summit en route to Beijing. Last April, Chinese expelled five Americans after they unfurled “Free Tibet” banners at the Everest base camp.
“Human Rights, not the Olympics”. We need to get our priorities straight.