A group of prominent Chinese lawyers and legal scholars have released a research report arguing that the Tibetan riots and protests of March last year were rooted in legitimate grievances brought about by failed government policies — and not through a plot of the Dalai Lama.
The lengthy paper is the result of interviews conducted over a month in two Tibetan regions. It represents the first independent investigation into the causes of the widespread protests, which the Chinese government harshly suppressed and blamed on the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader and other Tibetan exiles in Dharamsala.
The government has quashed the expression of any dissenting opinions on the causes of the protests. The research paper was quietly posted last month on Chinese Web sites, and an English translation was released last week by the International Campaign for Tibet, a group based in Washington.
The authors of the report are members of a Chinese group called Gongmeng, or Open Constitution Initiative, which seeks to promote legal reform. Lawyers in the group also tried to file lawsuits on behalf of families whose babies suffered in the tainted milk scandal last year, and two members have defended Tibetans in court this year.
The authors of the report concluded that Chinese government policies had promoted a form of economic modernization in Tibet that had left many Tibetans feeling increasingly disenfranchised over the decades. The researchers found that Tibetans had enormous difficulty finding work in their homeland, while ethnic Han migrants seem to have a monopoly on jobs in restaurants, hotels and stores.
When violent rioting broke out in Lhasa on March 14 last year, after four days of peaceful protests, businesses owned by Chinese were looted and burned. At least 19 people were killed, most of them Han.
“An important perspective for interpreting the 3/14 incident is that it was reaction made under stress by a society and people to the various changes that have been taking place in their lives over the past few decades,” the report said. “The notion that appears impossible to understand is the implication that reasonable demands were being vented, and this is precisely what we need to understand and reflect upon.”
“When the land you’re accustomed to living in, and the land of the culture you identify with, when the lifestyle and religiosity is suddenly changed into a ‘modern city’ that you no longer recognize; when you can no longer find work in your own land, and feel the unfairness of lack of opportunity, and when you realize that your core value systems are under attack, then the Tibetan people’s panic and sense of crisis is not difficult to understand,” the report said.
The report also cast blame on the governing structure in Tibetan regions, saying that there had been problems adapting Tibetan culture and society to the “ruling state’s systems.” It also criticized Beijing for installing incompetent Tibetan local officials who, the researchers said, play up the threat of separatist movements to acquire more power and money from Beijing.
Xu Zhiyong (??, a member of Gongmeng, said in a telephone interview that the report had been submitted to the government, but that there had been no response.
Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama accused China on Saturday of imposing a “death sentence” on Tibet, as he arrived in Paris for a visit.
He was to be named an honorary citizen of the French capital yesterday, despite warnings from the Chinese government that his trip will harm relations with France.
Malaysian authorities have advised women to wear makeup, not to nag their husbands and speak with a cartoon character’s soothing voice during the virus lockdown, sparking a flood of mockery online. Like many countries, Malaysia has ordered all citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, which, as of yesterday, had killed at least 39,070 people globally. In a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, the Malaysian Ministry of Women and Family Development issued advice on how to avoid domestic conflicts during the partial lockdown, which began on March 18. One of the campaign posters depicted
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
HELPING HAND: Taiwan is ready to help other nations and will not sit idly by while the global fight against the coronavirus continues, President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan, as a responsible member of the international community, is to offer humanitarian assistance to nations hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic by sending them masks and medicine, as well as sharing with them an electronic system that the government has been using to track down people that need to be quarantined, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. With the nation’s daily production having reached 13 million masks and soon to reach 15 million, the government is to donate 10 million masks to medical personnel in nations most severely affected by the coronavirus, Tsai said at the Presidential Office in Taipei. The