China: Why Tibet Doesn't Matter

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March 26,2008: China has unblocked access to foreign websites that provide news about the unrest in Tibet. The violence in Tibet was more smoke than fire. Tibet is a big place (1.2 million square kilometers, compared to 9.8 million for the U.S.) , but has a tiny population of only about three million. Ten percent of the population is Chinese, and this is growing. Many Tibetans have migrated to China, for better economic opportunities. The total number of Tibetans in China is about five million. Tibetans have always resented Chinese domination, which has been going on for thousands of years. Most of the time, the Tibetans were able to run their own affairs. But from time to time, the Chinese take direct control. In 1950 the Chinese marched in and took over, and show no inclination to leave. Parts of Tibet were added to China proper, but most of Tibet became an "autonomous region."There are about 125,000 Tibetans living outside of China, and are active in trying to get nations to pressure China to either leave Tibet, or grant more autonomy. China treats this as a public relations issue, and has no intention of letting it influence how it deals with Tibet. Tibetans are active now mainly because of the Olympics, which will be held in China this Summer. This provides a unique opportunity to spotlight the Tibetan situation, and embarrass China.

March 24, 2008: In western China, schools in Tibetan areas were re-opened. In Tibet, police identified 53 people the police are seeking, as leaders of the current unrest.

March 22, 2008: China released photos of 21 Tibetans suspected of being leaders of the current unrest in Tibet, and offered rewards for information about them. The photos were taken during the current unrest. Several hundred arrests have already been made.

March 21, 2008: China is denying reports that Sudan bought over $60 million worth of Chinese weapons since 2003. But China offered no details, and there is ample evidence that Sudan has many new Chinese weapons. China is basically being accused of arming the men who have committed all the atrocities in Darfur (western Sudan).

March 19, 2008: China is recruiting and training a force of at least 20,000 special security personnel for the Summer Olympics. These men must be in good physical shape and at least 68 inches tall. They learn some basic English phrases and are recruited mainly from northern China.

March 17, 2008: In Tibet, and parts of China with large Tibetan populations, schools and businesses were shut down.

March 16, 2008: Chinese police and troops have locked down Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, making it difficult to hold any additional demonstrations. This did not stop small groups of demonstrators from moving around, setting fire to Chinese owned businesses and government buildings, or beating up any Chinese they came across. Police had orders to shoot-to-kill any arsonists they caught. At least 13 people were killed in this way, while at least 300 buildings were burned, and thousands of Chinese owned businesses, mostly retail shops, were damaged or destroyed. Over a hundred people have died, and many more were injured.

March 15, 2008: The violence has spread to Tibetan populations in provinces adjacent to Tibet.

March 14, 2008: The anti-Chinese demonstrations have spread to Tibetans living outside China. The goal is to embarrass China and threaten the Chinese hosted Olympics this Summer.

March 13, 2008: Protests continue in Tiber, but the police tend to outnumber the demonstrators. Police are seeking those they consider anti-Chinese activists, and arresting them. These are the most extensive actions since a similar outburst in 1989.

March 12, 2008: In Tibet, Chinese police dispersed 600 Buddhist monks, who were demonstrating against the Chinese invasion of Tibet 49 years ago.

 

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