Friday, March 28, 2008


On March 26, day one of a three-day, tightly controlled visit to Tibet for foreign journalists, a group of thirty to fifty monks came running from a back room in the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, where the journalists were being given a tour by Chinese government officials. This is what they are saying in the video footage:

"Tibet is not free! Tibet is not free!" [A.P.]
"Tibetans have no freedom!" [NYTimes]
"What the government is saying is not true." [IHT]
"They just don't believe us. They think we will come out and cause havoc: smash, destroy, rob, burn. We didn't do anything like that. They are falsely accusing us. We want freedom. They have detained lamas and normal people." [TimesOnline]
"We are prisoners here [in the temple]." [IHT]
"The government is always telling lies. It's all lies." [IHT]
"They killed many people! They killed many people!" [IHT]
"They want us to curse the Dalai Lama and that is not right." [IHT]
"This [the unrest in Tibet] has nothing to do with the Dalai Lama." [TimesOnline]
"Don't believe them. They are tricking you." [IHT]

The penalties for speaking out against the Chinese government in Tibet (and in China), as these monks know, include arrest, imprisonment, torture, and death.

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