Sunday, May 18, 2008

Burmese Days

Burmese villagers May 11 [reuters via Agam's Gecko]

from "Thinking of Burma" by Jamyang Norbu:

"We must also spare a moment to contemplate the plight of Aung San Suu Kyi, the most fearless and committed fighter for freedom and democracy we have right now in the world. Tibetans, especially those in Chinese prisons for the cause of independence, have a genuine revolutionary bond with her. She remains a prisoner not just out of the viciousness of the Burmese military government, but because Beijing does not want her released.

"In 2000 a worldwide campaign for a consumer boycott and shareholder pressure forced companies like ARCO, Eddie Bauer, Liz Claiborne, Macy’s, Reebok and Petro Canada to withdraw from Burma. In January 2001, the Burmese military junta finally agreed to enter into negotiations with Aung San Suu Kyi. On 6 May 2002, following secret confidence-building negotiations led by the United Nations, the government released her; a government spokesman said that she was free to move “because we are confident that we can trust each other”. Aung San Suu Kyi proclaimed “a new dawn for the country”.

"However on 30 May 2003, a government-sponsored mob attacked her and her supporters in the northern village of Depayin, murdering and wounding many of her supporters. Aung San Suu Kyi fled the scene with the help of her driver, but was later arrested. The government imprisoned her at Insein Prison in Yangon.

"What happened? China realized that the economic sanctions and pressure from the West was forcing the Burmese regime to release Suu Kyi, and perhaps even allow some possible measure of democratization in the country. So Beijing stepped in with massive investments, trade and arms supplies to the regime that effectively cancelled out the effect of the West’s sanctions. China has since been effectively blocking all discussion and action against the junta in the United Nations Security Council, and vetoing all resolutions calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. It has also effectively managed to water down discussions and block resolutions in other international forums, especially those condemning the junta’s murderous crackdown on monks and democracy activists in the wake of last year’s anti-government demonstrations.

"Even a partially democratic Burma threatens China’s very profitable exploitation of Burma’s oil and gas resources. It also puts at risk China’s naval access to the Indian Ocean, which is a vital part of its “string of pearls” strategy to project Chinese military power in Asia and the Pacific. There is also the concern among Chinese strategic thinkers that a popular or democratic upheaval in Burma could have a ripple effect in Tibet, East Turkistan or even North Korea, and threaten the Chinese Communist Empire and its surrogate dictators in some Asian nations – which are fast becoming China’s new economic colonies.

"Hence Aung San Suu Kyi is as much a prisoner and a victim of Beijing’s tyranny and power schemes as any one of the thousands of Tibetans now incarcerated throughout Tibet."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


near Dzongsar, Kham, Tibet

It's now been two months since March 14: two months of almost total silence from within Tibet. The Olympics are being held in Beijing in August. The reason and the means to intervene have been handed to the rest of the world on a platter. Why are we not insisting on full access to Tibet?

Lhagang, Kham, Tibet

photographs by Diane Barker spirit of tibet

18 years later

Aid at the Point of a Gun

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Resolved: the State of Vermont strongly opposes the PRC's human rights violations in Tibet and urges congress to take immediate action to stop them

S.R. 26

By Senators White and Shumlin,

S.R. 26. Senate resolution relating to expressing strong opposition to, and urging effective and immediate congressional action to stop, the government of the People's Republic of China's human rights violations in the geographic area known as Tibet.

Whereas, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948, and reaffirmed by all United Nations member states, provides in part:

"Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty."

"Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

"Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile."

"Article 15.

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality."

"Article 17.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property."

"Article 20.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association."

"Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures."

"Article 30.

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein," and

Whereas, the International Convention On Human Rights indicates in its preamble that disregard and contempt for human rights deserves condemnation by the international community when it results in barbarous acts which outrage the conscience of mankind, and prevent or delay the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from want and fear, and

Whereas, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1993/77, entitled "Forced Evictions" states, "the practice of forced evictions constitutes a gross violation of human rights," and

Whereas, the Chinese government has forced both Tibetan natives and Han Chinese to relocate in direct violation of both Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1993/77 and

Whereas, the barbarous acts of the government of the People's Republic of China, within the area known as Tibet, have jolted and continue to jolt the conscience of mankind, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate:

That the Senate of the State of Vermont expresses its strong opposition to the government of the People's Republic of China's fundamental human rights violations in the geographic area known as Tibet, and be it further
Resolved: That the Senate of the State of Vermont urges Congress to take effective and immediate action to stop these fundamental human rights violations, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of the Senate be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the United States, to the International Campaign for Tibet, and to the Vermont Congressional delegation.


"In the eastern part of the region where Asia and India collide, the Tibetan plateau is pushing southeast against the flat Sichuan basin. 'It’s definitely a seismic area,' said Julie Martinez, a geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center in Boulder, Colo.

"On Monday afternoon, an upward thrust fault broke, generating an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.9. An aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 followed 15 minutes later, and smaller aftershocks continue in the area." [NYTimes, "Disaster Set Off by Colliding Land Masses," by Kenneth Chang, May 13]

Tens of thousands of Chinese are feared dead.

Friday, May 9, 2008

negotiation nightmare

"I sent you away, yet you are still here." (The Life of Milarepa) Tibetan envoys Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen [photo from Meyul]

“Once in a while, though, the delegation does actually get to go to Beijing. They invariably return to Dharamshala in a daze, with a look on their faces not unlike that on Charlie Brown’s when he is lying flat on his back, after having been persuaded by Lucy, for the umpteenth time, to take a running kick at a football that she never fails to yank away at the last moment. 'Isn’t trust a wonderful thing, Charlie Brown?' "

From "Negotiation Nightmare" by Jamyang Norbu

"No amount of begging, pleading or further negotiating with Beijing will bring any resolution, even a little improvement, to this crisis. I think that Dharamshala has one real option left to deal with this situation. It must act in a way that is bold, dynamic and totally unanticipated by Beijing. The exile government must declare that in light of the sentiments expressed by Tibetan people in the recent protests, and the harshness and implacability of the Chinese government’s response to the expression of their basic human rights, the Tibetan government is compelled to reconsider its Middle Path policy. That the Kashag and the Tibetan parliament will immediately commence joint hearings to review the Middle Path policy and that representatives of Tibetan organizations advocating independence will be invited to offer their testimonies at the proceedings.

"To His Holiness I would respectfully suggest that he make a public announcement stating that though he had genuinely and unreservedly supported China’s bid to host the Olympic Games, the lives and welfare of the thousands of Tibetans – victims of China’s crackdown – were far more important than a sporting event (even one as major as the Olympics). That unless China agreed to allow international agencies as the Red Cross, the UN or Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, and other such organizations, to send their personnel freely throughout Tibet to verify the conditions of these people and check on their legal situation, he would be compelled to appeal to the world to boycott the Beijing Games. Furthermore he would call on all his subjects, his friends, supporters and disciples worldwide, to engage in non-violent but direct action to disrupt China’s massive ultra-nationalist propaganda exercise, for which the 2008 Olympic Games is being effectively employed.

"Real negotiations might follow, for the first time."

The views expressed in this piece are that of the author and the publication of the piece on this website does not necessarily reflect their endorsement by the website. Nevertheless, Jamyang Norbu's thoughts are always worth extremely serious consideration.

you can't get a gun that will shoot your mind

[thanks to SFT for video]

"You can't get a gun that will shoot your mind." Chogyam Trungpa

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Get Well Soon

Concerned over China's increasingly erratic and violent behavior, Tibetans in Nepal delivered masses of flowers to the Chinese Consulate in Khatmandu, along with stacks of "Get Well Soon" cards. One hundred and eighteen people were arrested. (Phayul May 1)