Tíbet (Continuación)

Nearly a decade ago, while staying with a nomad family in the remote grasslands of northeastern Tibet, I asked Namdrub, a man who fought in the anti-Communist resistance in the 1950s, what he thought about the exiled Tibetans who campaigned for his freedom. “It may make them feel good, but for us, it makes life worse,” he replied. “It makes the Chinese create more controls over us. Tibet is too important to the Communists for them even to discuss independence.”

Protests have spread across the Tibetan plateau over the last two weeks, and at least 100 people have died. Anyone who finds it odd that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has rushed to Dharamsala, India, to stand by the Dalai Lama’s side fails to realize that American politics provided an important spark for the demonstrations.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last week many western commentators scrambling to interpret the protests in Lhasa found that they did not need to work especially hard. Surely the Tibetans are the latest of many brave peoples to rebel against communist totalitarianism? The rhetorical templates of the cold war are still close at hand, shaping western discussions of Islam or Asia. Dusting off the hoary oppositions between the free and unfree worlds, the Wall Street Journal declared that religious freedom was the main issue. "On the streets of Lhasa, China has again had a vivid demonstration of the power of conscience to move people to action against a soulless, and brittle, state."…  Seguir leyendo »

It is easy to get depressed about the trauma of Tibet and the suppression of Tibetan cultural and political aspirations. It is, after all, almost half a century since the Dalai Lama fled his country. He has never been able to return and recent events make it highly unlikely that he will in the foreseeable future.

Over that half century the Soviet Union has collapsed into 15 independent states, apartheid has been defeated in South Africa, colonial empires have disappeared, and the United States could be about to elect its first black president. But Tibet and the Tibetans remain under the iron hand of Beijing, denied not just self-government but also the free expression of their unique cultural and religious identity.…  Seguir leyendo »

Gordon Brown yesterday promised to meet the Dalai Lama when he comes to Britain in May. So should all other leaders of free countries, whenever the opportunity arises. Anything less would shame us all. And it wouldn't help China either.

We face at least three difficulties in reacting to the unfolding tragedy of the Tibetans. We don't know enough about what's really going on, because the Chinese authorities are determined to prevent us finding out by expelling journalists, ratcheting up their customary censorship of the internet (including guardian.co.uk), and telling lies. We feel impotent to prevent the horror unfolding. And we have to balance our deep sympathy with the Tibetans against our interest in a benign evolution of China.…  Seguir leyendo »

As what the Dalai Lama has called "cultural genocide" goes on in Tibet, it is wholly unacceptable that Jacques Rogge, the head of the International Olympic Committee, refuses to take a stand against the Beijing government's current crackdown on Tibetan protesters. In fact, this is completely at odds with the "spirit of the Olympics."

Far more than Steven Spielberg, who quit his advisory role for the Summer Games because of China's unwillingness to pressure the Sudanese government on genocide in Darfur, the IOC has a special obligation to act. Since promised improvements in China's human rights were a quid pro quo for awarding the Games to Beijing, how can it proceed as if nothing happened when blood is flowing in the streets of Lhasa?…  Seguir leyendo »

Cellphone photographs and videos from Tibet, blurry and amateurish, are circulating on the Internet. Some show clouds of tear gas; others, burning buildings and shops; still others, monks in purple robes, riot police and confusion. Watching them, it is impossible not to remember the cellphone videos and photographs sent out from burning Rangoon only six months ago. Last year Burma, this year Tibet. Next year, will YouTube feature shops burning in Xinjiang, home of China's Uighur minority? Or riot police rounding up refugees along the Chinese-North Korean border?

That covert cellphones have become the most important means of transmitting news from certain parts of East Asia is no accident.…  Seguir leyendo »

The rails carrying China's showcase high-altitude train to Tibet began sinking into melting permafrost within months of its triumphant opening two years ago. This was no mere technical setback for a pioneering engineering feat; for Beijing, it was essential for the Qinghai-Lhasa railway to function perfectly because it was above all things a political project. Conceived a century ago by Sun Yat-sen, the father of the revolution, the point of finally realising his near-impossible and hugely expensive dream was to set the final seal on China's benevolent “embrace” of Tibet.

That official narrative of unity and harmony between China and Tibet, exposed to the world as a sham as anti-Chinese resentment boils over in Tibetan monasteries and towns far across western China, is vitally important to Beijing for two reasons.…  Seguir leyendo »

China's anger and embarrassment over the Tibet protests is keenly felt and will not be easily assuaged. Its sense of betrayal is as striking as its inability to comprehend the cause of it. But Beijing's shame is widely shared. The unrest has confronted western governments with inconvenient truths to which they plainly have no answers.

In the short term, the 2008 Olympics hosts know they must act cautiously as the world watches, its running shoes in hand. Having been forced belatedly to acknowledge the scale of the trouble, Beijing cannot afford an even wider, more brutal public crackdown, its instinctive reaction to similar situations in the past.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Beijing Olympics are a huge occasion for China. Ever since the opium wars, the country has experienced what it describes as a "century of humiliation". Extraordinarily, the handover of Hong Kong in 1997 was its first major foreign policy success since the early 19th century.

Western countries are thoroughly accustomed to being the centre of global attention, which they have come to regard as their natural birthright. Not so China. It was thwarted in its attempt to hold the 2000 Olympics, which, as a result of American-led pressure, was awarded to Sydney. For China, therefore, the 2008 Olympics assume a huge importance as its first opportunity to command the global stage.…  Seguir leyendo »

A pesar de casi medio siglo de la pérdida de las libertades en nuestro país, el Tíbet, el pueblo tibetano siempre ha intentado seguir las directrices de Gandhi y del dalái lama, nuestro líder espiritual y Premio Nobel de la Paz, de cultivar la paciencia buscando soluciones amigables y pacíficas a los conflictos, buscando el diálogo con el Gobierno chino.

Sin embargo, nada cambia. Las conversaciones con los gobernantes chinos están estancadas y China no deja de adoptar medidas para afianzar su política de control y colonización en el Tíbet: construye carreteras para que lleguen sus tanques y camiones al territorio tibetano, y el tren Pekín-Lasa para transportar no solo colonos chinos hacia Lasa, sino riquezas, como el uranio, desde Tíbet hacia China.…  Seguir leyendo »

Yesterday the Dalai Lama received the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress's highest civilian honor, and China is throwing a fit. "We are furious," the Chinese Communist Party's secretary for Tibet, Zhang Qingli, declared this week. "If the Dalai Lama can receive such an award, there must be no justice or good people in the world." In recent days China has abruptly withdrawn from a summit on Iran and canceled a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who received the Dalai Lama in September. Beijing, which according to The Post "solemnly demanded" that the Bush administration cancel Washington events planned for the Dalai Lama, is determined to punish and intimidate anyone who might pay tribute to Tibet's Nobel laureate.…  Seguir leyendo »

When China announced its plans to pave a highway to the Mount Everest base camp in Tibet as part of its 2008 Olympic preparations, adventurers around the world winced at the latest encroachment into the Himalayan wilderness. Mountaineers who have already been to Everest, however, were more likely to greet the announcement of the “blacktop highway fenced with undulating guardrails” with little more than a shrug.

Despite an elevation of more than 17,000 feet, it’s been a long time since the Chinese base camp has resembled a wilderness.

A multistory hotel has been open for years now, just an hour’s walk from base camp, with hot meals, cold beer, soft beds and a telescope aimed at the mountaintop.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Isabel Hilton (THE GUARDIAN, 22/08/06):

When the first cracks appeared in the concrete base and bridges of the Qinghai Tibet railway, just weeks after the carefully staged, triumphal opening on July 1 (the 85th birthday of the Chinese Communist party), they were not the only sign that all is not well with China's policies in Tibet. The cracks seem to be the result of the unstable geology of the Tibetan plateau. Equally worrying to Beijing, shifts in Tibetan political geology have caused cracks in the official Chinese narrative of unity and harmony between Tibet and China.

There had been sporadic unrest for several months: in November last year the monks of Drepung monastery in central Tibet staged a sit-down demonstration against "patriotic education" - the government's enforced propaganda campaign.…  Seguir leyendo »

Richard Gere, an actor, is the chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet. (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 15/07/06):

THE opening this month of the final segment of world’s highest railway, from Beijing to Lhasa, Tibet, is a staggering engineering achievement and a testimony to the developing greatness of China. But it is also the most serious threat by the Chinese yet to the survival of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity. In the words of a well-known Tibetan religious teacher who died after many years in a Chinese prison, the railway heralds “a time of emergency and darkness” for Tibet.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por Basilio Baltasar, editor (EL PAIS, 08/10/03):

Ignoro si la Reina querrá algún día llevar más allá su inquietud intelectual o si se dará por satisfecha cultivando la pasajera curiosidad que uno siente ante la novedad de lo inesperado, pero, sea cual sea el significado que llegue a tener su interés por el budismo, no podrá resolver sus dudas discutiendo con el Dalai Lama.

Al principio parecía un ligero contratiempo diplomático que en la apretada agenda de la Casa Real no fuera posible encontrar el momento adecuado para recibir al monje budista y, por prudencia, no se perdía la esperanza de lograr en cualquier otra ocasión la oportunidad de un encuentro deseado por los dos.…  Seguir leyendo »