Inside “merciless” Tibet, An Insiders Diary

From Sunday Express – Disturbing stories of child demonstrators being shot and plans to murder political prisoners has been given to the Sunday Express from inside Tibet. An exiled Tibetan has kept a graphic diary of the atrocities and human rights violations committed by the Chinese authorities as they try to silence dissent in the country. The diarist, known only as Sangay, provided his insight into the daily horrors by talking to his family, friends, and contacts throughout Tibet and nearby parts of China. Yesterday China’s ruling Communist Party vowed to “resolutely crush” any further Tibetan anti-government protests, after the 12-day uprising brought international condemnation for Beijing. It blames supporters of the exiled Dalai Lama for the wave of protests and civil disorder that has paralysed the country. Here are some extracts from Sangay’s diary…

Tuesday 11th
“I scribble down the words of my best friend from Lhasa when he phones me after taking part in the uprising demonstration.

“He tells me, ‘The situation is terrible here. They are shooting at us. Please ask Tibetans outside Tibet not to stop their peaceful march to Tibet. We will not stop demonstrating inside Tibet, even if they take our lives.

“We are determined. Many Tibetans have been killed and the killing is still going on. I have to go. Long live His Holiness. Bye.’

“I have not heard from my friend since and I am very worried.”

Thursday 13th
“I listen in while a friend in Dharamsala (India) talks to a contact in Lhasa. His friend is a police officer and he says there is a list of more than 100 demonstrators killed, and that more than 500 have been arrested and are being detained.

Photos of the dead bodies have been smuggled out of the monastery.

“He also says there is a discussion going on about whether to secretly kill some of the 500 people that were arrested.

“This is exactly what was done with Tibetan demonstrators in the Eighties. This is very frightening news, but I have no way to confirm it. I can only pray this is not happening.”

Saturday 15th
“The protests are spreading beyond Lhasa and the Tibetan Autonomous Region into other parts of historic Tibet in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan provinces.

“Peaceful demonstrations are taking place in villages, monasteries, towns and cities.

“A reliable source calls me from one demonstration.

“He tells me, ‘Hundreds of armed police are surrounding us now. They’re using tear gas and firing guns.’

“I can hear on the phone that people are shouting, ‘We want His Holiness the Dalai Lama to return home, We want religious freedom in Tibet.’”

Sunday 16th
“I hear from my reliable source in Ngawa Prefecture that during a peaceful dem­onstration Chinese troops shot a 16-year-old Tibetan girl named Lhundup.

“Angry demonstrators later burnt government vehicles and buildings.

“I also hear from a friend at Kirti monastery in Ngawa, who says, ‘We did not attack any Chinese civilians as we are against the Chinese government, not the people’.

“He is calling me from beside the bodies of 10 dead Tibetans brought to Kirti. ‘All of them were shot,’ he says. 

“‘Chinese troops are merciless. These patriots were shot dead simply due to speaking for their rights. Please ask His Holiness to bless their souls.’”

Monday 17th
“I receive more eye witness accounts from Kirti monas­tery.

“More than 10,000 troops have been deployed, the monastery has been surrounded. People are being warned that anyone who breaks the curfew will be shot.”

Tuesday 18th
“Photos of the dead bodies have been smuggled out of the monastery.

“They are heartbreaking to see. Some of the victims have been identified.

“I also receive eye witness accounts that several Tibetan students from a middle school in Ganan city, Gansu Province, and who were peacefully demonstrating, were brutally beaten by armed police and their whereabouts now is not known.”

Wednesday 19th
“My sources in Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai are all confirming that lists of Tibetan demonstrators wanted by the Chinese authorities have been re­leased. They tell me hundreds of Tibetans are now missing there.”

Thursday 20th
“A close friend phones, pleading with me to get a message to the outside world from Tibet.

“He says, ‘We are fighting for our freedom. Without support of the world, we will lose this. We are armed with portraits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They are armed with machine guns.’”

The Free Tibet Campaign yesterday said reliable sources inside the country had revealed that dozens of nuns from a Buddhist monastery had been arrested and that many more Tibetans in the area were missing.

According to the Chinese authorities, the official death toll is 22 from last week’s rioting in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, while the Dalai Lama’s gov­ernment exiled in Dharamsala says 99 Tibetans have died.

In the People’s Daily, the Commu­nist Party’s newspaper, an editorial called for resolve in the struggle to bring back “social stability”.

The newspaper raged: “We must see through the secessionist forces’ evil intentions, uphold the banner of maintaining social stability…and resolutely crush the Tibet independence forces’ conspiracy.”

Shops were allowed to reopen in Lhasa, although police were out in force across the capital.

The Potala Palace, the traditional seat of Tibetan rulers, and the Jokang Temple, which is a popular site for tourists and Buddhist pilgrims, re­mained closed.

Outside Tibet, there is growing support for the Dalai Lama and condemnation of China’s stance.

It is unknown whether the rebellion will affect this summer’s Beijing Olympics, although the White House says events will not stop President George W Bush from attending.

In London yesterday, hundreds of campaigners marched from Regent’s Park to Trafalgar Square as they staged a noisy and colourful demonstration against the events in Tibet.

Chanting “Chinese out” and “Long live Dalai Lama”, they sang the Tibetan national anthem outside the Chinese embassy and many raised their fists at the closed windows as they filed slowly past.

The demonstrators included many Tibetans living in exile in the UK, as well as British supporters.

At the head of the march was the exiled Tibetan Buddhist monk Lama Lobsang, who was holding a photograph of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader.

Gordon Brown announced this week that he will meet the Dalai Lama this spring.

The Prince of Wales is also expected to hold talks with the Dalai Lama when he visits London in May.

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