It’s been a very long and violent weekend in Tibet, with demonstrators there clashing with police and in some cases the Chinese Army. The BBC is reporting this morning that China is arresting dissidents and giving the protesters until midnight to turn themselves in to avoid facing punishment.
This latest report comes after various updates over the weekend that have hinted at a severe crackdown on the Chinese against the Tibetan demonstrators. All news in and out of Tibet has been cut off, and the Chinese are officially reporting the death toll at 13, and place the blame squarely on the “mobs” in Lhasa, but unofficial reports are saying the death toll is closer to 100 and I’ve even seen some reports that it could be as high as 500. The Adventurist points out this report from CNN.com that the Chinese police were even conducting door-to-door searches looking for protestors.
As of now, Tibet is closed off to travelers and climbers preparing to leave for Everest in the next few weeks are once again left wondering what has become of their expeditions. But at this point, the unrest in the region goes far beyond just climbing a mountain and who gets to set foot in base camp on what day. The people of Tibet continue to be repressed by the Chinese government, as they have been for nearly 60 years, and yet you seldom hear much about it here in the West. While demonstrations were held in Nepal and India over the weekend, I had to look hard to find mention of the incident in the mainstream media here in the U.S.
2008 was suppose to be a banner year for China. They were expecting to take the World Stage and have a bright, shining spotlight turned on them so they could show the World how far they’ve come. They’re demonstrating that quite plainly right now, and from my eyes, it seems pretty clear that they haven’t come very far.
We’re still five months away from the Olympics, and it’s not too late to pull the games from Beijing. China was awarded the games on the condition that they would improve their human rights record, and they should have them taken away for not adhering to the standards set down for them by the International Olympic Committee. I doubt that anyone on the IOC reads this, but I wonder what they think of their selection now.
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