What are the most recent monks' protests about?
- According to Tibet expert Robert Barnett of Columbia University): monks "demanding specific changes on religious restrictions in the monastery." Want an end to "patriotic education," in which monks forced indoctrinated with pro-government propaganda and made to criticize the Dalai Lama.
- "The protests were started by Buddhist monks calling for the release of fellow monks detained in October 2007 as they celebrated the Dali Lama receiving the United States Congressional Gold Medal on September 27, 2006. " (Wikipedia)
1950 - The army of the Peoples' Republic of China invades Tibet. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, enthroned as Tibet's ruler.
1951 - Tibet taken over militarily by China.
1959 - unsuccessful Tibetn uprising against ten years of Chinese occupation in Lhasa. Thousands are massacred by the occupying Chinese army. Dalai Lama leaves Tibet for India. Central Tibetan Administration (the Tibetan Government in Exile) established.
1989 - most recent large protests in Tibet before this week. "protests by monks from the Drepung and Sera monasteries led to a bloody clash with Chinese security forces and the imposition of martial law."
2008 10 March, Monday - anniversary of failed 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. In the afternoon 400 monks left Drepung Loseling Monastery intending to march eight kilometers west to the city center. Midway, police intervened, arresting 50-60 monks.
---- 11 March, Tuesday - In the morning the Drepung monks returned to monastery. But another protest started in central Lhasa near Tibet's most important monastery, Jokhnag Temple. There a dozen monks from Sera Monastery waved a Tibet flag in the temple square. Police arrested the monks (video on internet). Then 500-600 monks exited Sera Monasttersy and demanded the release of their 12 arrested comrades. They chanted independence slogans. Police fired teargas.
---- 12 March, Wednesday - protest at Ganden Monastery, 55 Km east of Lhasa.
---- 13 March, Thursday - 2 monks at Drepung Monastery attempt suicide.
---- 14 March Friday - violent protests in Tromsikhange Market* in Tibetan capital Lhasa. Buddhist monks and ethnic Tibetans clash with security forces. "The Tibetan government in exile said at least 30 Tibetans died in the protests, according to Agence France-Presse. Witnesses told Radio Free Asia, the nonprofit news agency financed by the United States government, that numerous Tibetans were dead. A 13-year-old Tibetan boy, reached by telephone, said he watched the violence from his apartment and saw four or five Tibetans fall to the ground after military police officers fired upon them." (NYT)
---- 15 March Saturday - The Central Tibetan Administration reported at 5 pm Saturday:
We are witnessing a Martial Law situation in Tibet even though Chinese authorities have not declared it officially. Around 11pm on March 14th the Chinese authorities in Lhasa have started to make announcements regarding closure of schools, shops and businesses.
Monasteries have been completely sealed off by Peoples Armed Forces and remain under extremely strict surveillance. Monks are being followed even as they try to move within the compounds of the monastery.
There are tight restrictions on communication with the outside world. Many communication lines (private home telephones and cell-phones) have been disconnected in many parts of Tibet.
People's movement has been extremely restricted in many parts of Tibet, especially in Lhasa and surrounding areas. The streets of Lhasa are being patrolled by the People's Armed Police with armoured tanks and vehicles.
The uprising continues as today, in Nyangden (North of Lhasa near the Sera Monastery) over 200 people took part in protests according to sources.
In Kama Kusang (East of Lhasa) there have been reports of people demonstrating in the streets. Tear Gas was forcibly used against the peaceful demonstrators.
In Labrang Tashikyil Monastery (Sangchu County, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture) there have been major protests by mostly lay people. Atleast four people were taken into custody by the Peoples Armed forces.
In addition to the numerous protests we have witnessed over the last few days, on March 11th 2008 in Dabpa (Karze, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province) Tibetans held protests against the Chinese occupation. Three Tibetans are reported to have been shot by the Peoples Armed Forces.
There have been 30 confirmed deaths until today, and over 100 unconfirmed deaths.
IHT, Wikipedia, NYT, Central Tibetan Administration,
* "Large concrete structure built in the old Tibetan section of the city by the Chinese authorities in the early 1990s."
Photo: Tibet flag, Wikipedia