Shocking Footage from Tibet

March 20th, 2009 § 5

The Tibetan government-in-exile just released this shocking footage smuggled out from Tibet. It is awful. I sat at my desk and cried while I watched it. The Chinese government doesn’t see Tibetans as human beings. They never have.

WARNING: This video includes extremely graphic footage.

Click here to watch the video.

We’ve heard so many accounts about the terrible violence the authorities have used against Tibetans in the past year, but this is the first video footage that has made it out. It’s very hard to watch, but it is our truth and nothing China does can hide this from the world.

Here’s Students for a Free Tibet’s statement in response to the footage.

Day Two – The Railway

August 3rd, 2007 § 10

This morning we went to Beijing West Railway Station, the departure point for trains to Tibet. This mostly express service started last July. Even though I knew we weren’t going to make the trip to Tibet, just being there at the station was exciting. We had our bags with us and I imagined us just jumping on the train and being whisked away to that beautiful land that I’ve never seen with my own eyes.

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The station is massive and teeming with people. I searched the crowds for Tibetan faces and saw only a few that might have been. Nobody obvious, that’s for sure.

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A very sweet young Chinese man in the ticket line in front of us asked me if I was Chinese. When I said no, he told me we can’t buy tickets there; he showed me a small red pass book and explained only people with this book can purchase tickets there. But we decided to stay in the line to talk to an agent anyway.

What we learned at the counter is that there are trains to Lhasa leaving daily at 9:30pm but they’re all booked up until Monday. And even then, we would have to get a visa to go there. Strangely, she told me that since I was Canadian, I would have to go to the Canadian embassy to get the forms. We later saw an English message scrolling on a massive electronic signboard that said foreigners wanting to go to Tibet Autonomous Region had to seek permission from any number of Chinese government offices.

Watch the video below to hear my account of this:

[youtube JsKSKgaUCHM]

It’s clear that Tibet is a restricted area for foreigners. For a supposed “inalienable” part of China it sure gets special treatment. The hoops foreigners have to jump through to gain access to Tibet mean the authorities can strictly control all who enter…except of course, Chinese who go in droves.

According to Chinese media reports the railway to Tibet took 1.5 million passengers into Tibet and over “650,000 tons of goods in or out of Tibet” just last year. While we can’t rely on Chinese government numbers – especially on issues they are sensitive about – two important questions arise:

First, how many of these “passengers” were tourists, and how many were Chinese settlers paying for a one-way steerage seat to seek their fortunes in Tibet? A Tibetan interviewed recently on Radio Free Asia said that many were staying and making the already terrible socio-economic situation for Tibetans even worse with prices in and around Lhasa doubling and increasing competition for scarce jobs. (Read excerpt of this interview)

Second, what was taken out of Tibet? The Chinese government announced recently that it has “discovered” 16 significant mineral deposits all along the rail line. Really, with the help of Canadian and other foreign mining companies the Chinese have been quietly prospecting along the route for a long time and now, as we said would happen, resources and profits will be leaving Tibet with little or no benefit to Tibetans. Instead, Tibetans will be left with scarred and polluted lands. (Read more on mining in Tibet)

There is no doubt that China is colonizing Tibet by encouraging this influx of Chinese settlers and exploiting Tibet’s natural resources. Both are supported by the railway to Tibet, which begins in the station I was in today.

What is left to say? It has to stop.

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