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March 26, 2008

China still struggling to contain crisis; New York cops beat up protesters

China is still struggling to contain the crisis: China sought on Wednesday to contain ongoing protests in its ethnic Tibetan regions, as it stepped up detentions in Tibet's capital Lhasa and vowed tighter control over monasteries. The western province of Qinghai was the latest area to report anti-government activities, with hundreds of civilians staging a sit-down protest after paramilitary police stopped them from marching, a Beijing-based source who spoke to residents said. "They were beating up monks, which will only infuriate ordinary people," the source said of the protest on Tuesday in Qinghai's Xinghai county. A resident in the area confirmed the demonstration, saying that paramilitaries dispersed the 200 to 300 protesters after half and hour, that the area was crawling with armed security forces and that workers were kept inside their offices. More »
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March 25, 2008

The Tibet death toll's at 140. So are the Olympics already ruined?

Death toll in Tibet now 140? The numbers are difficult to verify because China controls the flow of information so religiously. Germany (a country in love with Buddhism) wants answers from China on the violence. Have the Olympics already been tainted beyond redemption by China's actions? How will China handle international (i.e. Western) protesters at the games this summer? More »
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March 25, 2008

The Dalai Lama in Salon and the New Yorker

Pankaj Mishra reviews Pico Iyer's book The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (Knopf; $24) in The New Yorker: Last November, a couple of weeks after the Dalai Lama received a Congressional Gold Medal from President Bush, his old Land Rover went on sale on eBay. Sharon Stone, who once introduced the Tibetan leader at a fundraiser as “Mr. Please, Please, Please Let Me Back Into China!” (she meant Tibet), announced the auction on YouTube, promising the prospective winner of the 1966 station wagon, “You’ll just laugh the whole time that you’re in it!” The bidding closed at more than eighty thousand dollars. The Dalai Lama, whom Larry King, on CNN, once referred to as a Muslim, has also received the Lifetime Achievement award of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. More »
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March 25, 2008

Protests not Boycotts?

Just a quick post to point out that Olympic boycotts hurt young athletes who spend years training for these events. So perhaps, as this German article (in English) suggests, protests not boycotts are needed. Hitler wasn't boycotted in 1936, after all, but that was before the boycotting craze stated. The history of Olympic boycotts shows the ambiguity of it all. From Wikipedia: More »
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March 24, 2008

Quote of the Day

"The Communist Party is like the parent to the Tibetan people, and it is always considerate about what the children need. The Central Party Committee is the real Buddha for Tibetans." - Zhang Qingli 张庆黎, Member of the 17th CPC Central Committee, Secretary of the CPC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee [Thanks to Jeremy Mates and the Level 8th Buddhist (who has a great post on the pressure to not be a Buddhist today.)] More »
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March 24, 2008

China deals with criticism

Sad smiles in Chengdu, the "gateway to Tibet." China battles criticism over its handling of the Tibet crisis. As we all know by now, they blame the Dalai Lama and think he's trying to spoil the Olympic party. They're basically disappointed that the Western media is so interested in Tibet. Xinhua quotes some foreigners in China saying things thePparty wants you to know, and it certainly does seem the protests were not all flowers-in-the-rifle-barrel affairs. More »
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March 24, 2008

Elections in Bhutan

Bhutan is the world's newest democracy, having just finished its first democratic elections. Turnout was heavy (as much 80% of the population!) and the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party party, a pro-royalist party, secured a landslide victory, grabbing 44 of 47 parliamentary seats. The other three seats went to the rival People’s Democratic Party. What does it mean that the king's party won? More »
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March 24, 2008

The Facade of Tibetan Unity?

Is the Chinese media's assertion that the Tibet protesters were mainly supporters of the Dalai Lama true? Yoichi Shimatsu gets into Tibetan internal power struggles between the Black Hats (Kagyupas) and Yellow Hats (Gelugpas). More »
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March 24, 2008

Burma's new constitution disenfrachises monks

A picture of a cute and cuddly koala (which seem to be slightly larger than I'd imagined), plus an interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama from Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa: Some images of the recent casualties have been graphic and disturbing. Have you seen them? What was your reaction? We heard you wept. Yes, I cried once. One advantage of belonging to the Tibetan Buddhist culture is that at the intellectual level there is a lot of turmoil, a lot of anxiety and worries, but at the deeper, emotional level there is calm. Every night in my Buddhist practice I give and take. I take in Chinese suspicion. I give back trust and compassion. I take their negative feeling and give them positive feeling. More »
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March 24, 2008

Protests Accompany the Lighting of the Torch

Protesters did briefly disrupt the Olympic torch-lighting ceremony: Three pro-Tibet activists have briefly disrupted the ceremony in which the Olympic torch for the Beijing Games was lit in Greece. The protestors breached a cordon of about 1,000 police officers at Olympia to display a flag demanding a boycott of the Olympics amid mounting controversy over China's crackdown in Tibet. The men, of the French human rights group Reporters Without Borders, ran up behind Liu Qi, the head of the Beijing Olympic organising committee, as he spoke before the flame was lit. One man unfurled a black flag portraying the Olympic rings made from handcuffs. Another tried to grab the microphone from Mr Liu and shouted "freedom, freedom". More »
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March 24, 2008

Video-Game Monks

Well, monks may need some visualization training to help with on-the-street situations in China (and Burma): One of the five precepts for living a Buddhist lifestyle is that followers “do not kill,” but that doesn’t seem to extend to the world of video games. “I never thought I’d see a monk pull out his knife and hack someone to death because he’d run out of ammo!” remarked trekker Chris Lynch to Multiplayer in an e-mail exchange. “The monks I saw were mostly teenagers, dressed in dark maroon robes, but otherwise pretty much the same as boys everywhere. They were quieter, but not in an intense, competitive way — they were having a lot of fun shooting each other, and chatting among themselves while they did.” More »
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March 24, 2008

Mu

Apparently the old koan was wrong. More »
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March 24, 2008

Olympic Torch Lit

Will Tibet unrest deter foreign investment in the region? The Wall Street Journal dryly observes: Even before this month's riots in Tibet, foreign investors found reasons to bypass what is a tiny market in the Himalayas with a big public-relations problem. More »
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March 22, 2008

China won't talk

Anyone surprised? More »
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March 21, 2008

Tibet News Round-up from the Center for Buddhist Studies

Nice round-up (and interesting comments following it) from the Center for Buddhist Studies at Columbia University. More »
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March 21, 2008

Monks in Bodh Gaya Speak Out; Himalayan Solidarity

Two stories from the Buddhist Channel: Buddhist monks in Bodh Gaya protest China's treatment of Tibetans Display of Solidarity by Himalayan Buddhists More »
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March 21, 2008

Dalai Lama with Nancy Pelosi, and Young People

Nancy Pelosi gives her support to the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. A Presidential candidate couldn't do that -- China would come calling. Anyway this trip was arranged long before the "controversy" in Tibet (but anytime is a bad time to see the DL in China's eyes.) “If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China’s oppression in China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world,” Ms. Pelosi, Democrat of California, told an overwhelmingly Tibetan audience of around 2,000 people in the courtyard of the town’s main temple, Tsulakhang. The visit by Ms. Pelosi, accompanied by nine other members of Congress, most of them Democrats, was arranged some time ago as part of a visit to India. More »
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March 21, 2008

China's Internet Warfare

Is Beijing attacking Darfur advocacy websites that criticize China's close cooperation with the genocidal Sudanese government? More »
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March 20, 2008

International Buddhist Film Festival

Shoot, missed the International Buddhist Film Festival in San Francisco (2/14 to 3/6) and so missed all the fine offerings there, including the awesomely titled Meditate and Destroy about Noah Levine, by Blue Lotus Films. We won't forget to mention this year. Ahem! More »
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March 20, 2008

What Started the Violence? Plus: A Stroke, Step by Step

[A young Tibetan looks at Chinese riot police officers in Kangding County, Sichuan Province.] The indispensable Danny Fisher shows us a BBC video depicting the incidents that may have sparked the violence in Tibet. And this article is now updated -- China admits the protests have spread. Tibet's spiritual leader Thursday said he was powerless to stop anti-Chinese violence as authorities in Beijing acknowledged for the first time that unrest had spread into neighboring Chinese provinces. More »