I have not been recently to Tibet, but spent just over 3 weeks in eastern China, which used to belong to Tibet before the Chinese invasion, and in the TAR with a group last summer. I have attended 2 horse festivals, both of which were patronizingly orchestrated by the Chinese, making it in fact more of a Chinese affair by their speeches and propaganda for the Chinese officials. Heavy Chinese police and PLA presence was there at both with intimidating arrogance. It actually made us quite sick how they took advantage of this culture and rake in all that the tourists brought in. We took the notorious train from Xinning to Lhasa, and were only allowed to step out onto a platform when the train stopped at 1 station on the 27 hour journey. The toilets were closed 30 minutes before arriving to Lhasa, and I had to hold back all bodily functions after begging to open one but refused. Luckily I didn’t have travelers’ diarrhea or a week bladder or some other problems which might have caused me enormous embarrassment.
I was warned by one guide not to talk about politics, the Dalai Lama or personal views on the way things are run to drivers or guides as one could be a grass and the other could be taken in for interrogation. The control is so bad, that we couldn’t get a permit to leave Shigatse to get to Kathmandu let alone get to the Base Camp Everest. The Chinese spread rhumers that there were landslides, and even those who previously got permit couldn’t get there. In fact it was always possible to pass through as we found it out from a cycling group who had just come to the Nepalese border from the Base Camp with their truck that had no problem in passing and they themselves didn’t come across any serious obstacles. The Chinese lie all the time, manipulate facts to cut off information not just from visitors but from anyone in order not find out their atrocities. The poor Tibetans feel suffocated by the overwhelming Chinese population planted onto them. Those Chinese are the reason for the so called investment, the road buildings etc, to keep that population supplied and blatantly use that well preserved country for their resources. Well loaded trucks and military convoys were seen on the roads all though the TAR and locals were telling of stories how they constantly fight the Chinese officials and workers who are sent there to mine their sacred mountains from which they see no greater good. They all end up in China proper. In Lhasa itself I felt sick in the gut when looking out from the Potala Palace onto the big square with the massive pole stick right in front of the Palace with the Chinese flag. I have never felt so much compassion for a nation that is humiliated in every possible opportunity from the Chinese part. I happen to come from Hungary, a country that had been through similar situation but at least our language, our culture was never threatened like the Tibetan’s. The Dalai Lama is right when he tells of cultural genocide.
There is a lot more to say to understand why the Tibetans had had enough and have to explode, this is not ordinary hooliganism as the Chinese would like us to believe.
The only terrible shame is that the other powerful nations are cowards and greedy and they will have to feel the burden of guilt when letting and watching a nation trampled upon, kicked and punched in the face to death.
Mrs. K. Rowson