Tibet: Olympic Aftermath ‘More dangerous than present’

August 25, 2008 Updated: September 29, 2015

Armed military guards man their post on the highway leading to the town of Kangding in the Tibetan autonomous Garze Prefecture. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
Armed military guards man their post on the highway leading to the town of Kangding in the Tibetan autonomous Garze Prefecture. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
Beijing’s brutal repression in Tibet has been ramped up during the Olympics and there are fears there is worse to come.

The Dalai Lama told French parliamentarians last week that increased military and police presence in the region was seeing Tibetans arrested, tortured and summarily executed. He raised concerns that the crackdown would increase in Tibet after the Games.

Similar concerns were expressed by Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, the Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration, earlier in the month. He said his government was in fear of the Olympic aftermath, describing the post-Olympic period as “more dangerous than the present.”

All the evidence is pointing in that direction

 

Electronic surveillance

According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), Beijing authorities have covered the entire Tibetan region with a complex electronic surveillance system called the Skynet Project.
The system has been described by the Ganzi local government as a way to “reinforce the public safety system and create a better environment for economic and social development.”
 
Mr. Kelsang, the emergency coordinator of the Central Tibetan Administration told RFA that the Skynet Project “is a surveillance system to monitor the Tibetans and the temples in the entire Ganzi region.”

Skynet involves positioning surveillance cameras in every region in Tibet, RFA said.
The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said it has learned through Chinese security personnel that Tibetans who are presently monitored will be taken into custody after the international focus has moved from Beijing.

“One source referred, chillingly, to the well-known Chinese phrase of ‘settling accounts after autumn harvest’ (qiu hou suan zhang),” the ICT said in a statement.

Following the outbreak of unrest in March, Beijing authorities moved quickly to build a military and police presence in the region. The Tibet Administration has recorded more than 200 deaths and 5,000 arrests since March.

A curfew has remained since then and no daytime travel can be undertaken without a specific pass.

Contrary to promises of unfettered access for foreign journalists to Tibet, all journalists have been prevented from visiting.

Clampdown heightened

Simon Bradshaw, spokesman for the Australia Tibet Council, said getting information out of Tibet is proving difficult, although it has been confirmed that there have been shootings.

He said conditions within Tibet are harsh, with reports filtering out of monks being dragged from monasteries and forced to undergo “patriotic re-education” in which they are forced to recite derogatory statements about the Dalai Lama and sign statements that conform to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) view of events.

In recent months the persecution has also become more widespread, he said.

A Tibetan Buddhist monk walks past a Han Chinese man in the town of Kangding in the Tibetan autonomous Garze Prefecture. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
A Tibetan Buddhist monk walks past a Han Chinese man in the town of Kangding in the Tibetan autonomous Garze Prefecture. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

“It has been limited in the past to monasteries – patriotic education largely took place in the monasteries – but now it is more widespread to include lay Tibetans, nomads, farmers and even government workers, and there is no doubt there has been an increase in that since the trouble in March.”

Bradshaw said Chinese authorities have become more arrogant about their control of Tibet. A series of intentionally intimidating statements have been released in recent weeks, he said, including further mineral exploration, relocating nomads and expanding the railway lines.

In further provocations, the ITC said the Olympics Closing Ceremony was expected to feature an operatic depiction of China’s legitimacy in Tibet.

This runs counter to the International Olympic Committee’s guidelines on using the Olympics for political ends and flies in the face of a rare reprimand the IOC delivered to the Olympic organizers following a CCP official’s rabid speech at an Olympic torch relay event in Tibet.

Zhang Qingli, the CCP’s top party official in Tibet, said that China would "totally smash the splittist schemes of the Dalai Lama clique.”

The comments sparked a letter from the IOC  to Liu Qi, president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, reminding the organizers that "there's a clear separation between sports and politics," IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau told reporters.