Monday, March 17, 2008

Tibetan monks inspired protests turned violent

By China Watcher

The scenario started as a peaceful march by about 300 monks at one of the monasteries and over a spate of just 5 days, the situation turned ugly with rampant destruction of public as well as private properties and other assets. A burned down mosque, scorched police stations, smashed police trucks, and destroyed privately held vehicles were remnants of the aftermath of the violent protest as a result of instigation by Tibetan monks and camps of the exiled government of the Dalai Lama.

I have always been reminded that monks are religious “officials” who have given up material attachments to opt for “a state of living” free from sufferings and to bring happiness to the common people. The majority of these groups are non violent. After viewing some of the video clips on the Internet, I was truly wrong as Tibetan monks do have very strong political affiliation and do harbor a hidden agenda to attain independence for its so-called native lands. More so, they intend to bring back the good old days of the feudal systems.

Throughout history, monks, priest or even imans possessed very strong influence on the people because religious beliefs are infused into the way of life of its believers. Religious authorities occupy important roles in the political strata of the government, with its leaders even heading the top political posts especially during the feudal era. Nowadays, most of the elected governments have constitutions written to separate religions from the State because the people are of the opinion that a theocratic government cannot make fair judgments especially in multi-religious and multi-racial societies.

Initially, we were informed that the Tibetan authorities exercised restraint on the peaceful march even though public protests are not allowed in Chinese autonomous regions. But when the peaceful protests widened and became ruthless that turned violent with damages to government buildings and assets, the Chinese government began to send paramilitary troops and the military to quell the riots. There were incidents that some of the migrated Han Chinese were brutally injured and killed in the riots. Foreign reports claimed that there were 80 “confirmed” deaths this far but Chinese media mentioned that there were only 10 deaths. We must use our judgment to verify the figures and not relied on any biased reports.

In the light of the inspired riots, the non violent path advocated by the Tibetan monks are pure hypocrisy and the Tibetan exiled government in northern India headed by the Dalai Lama calling for UN investigation into the unrest is also another well planned attempt to promote independence for Tibet and the neighboring provinces. No country’s government in the world will allow secession especially if it involves lands where the racial compositions are very mixed. Furthermore, many foreign governments had recognized Tibet as an inalienable part of China.

The Western media and the New York based human rights activists, as usual, have been promoting a Free Tibet campaign and are telling the Tibetans to take this opportunity of China’s staging of the Olympics this year to create a hue and cry so that attention is given to the Tibetans’ dying plight. The Western media and the self-appointed activists should take a leaf from a famous comic superhero, “with power in the news media (the many written comments and pictures) come great responsibilities”.

The damages to so many public properties and the loss of lives as a consequence of the instigated protests bring forth a very pertinent question. Is this worth it? To the activists, there is a need for sacrifices to be made if there is success to be achieved in the future. Buoyed by the international attention given by the Western media, the Tibetan exiles even confidently declared that this is just the beginning.

But if you are facing a big gun barrel at the other end, it is just plain foolish talk.

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