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Showing solidarity with Tibet in peaceful protest through London

Sally | 22.03.2008 17:24 | Anti-militarism | Anti-racism | Social Struggles | London

An account of the march through central London today, to show solidarity with the Tibetans in the wake of the last weeks crackdown in Lhasa and beyond by the Chinese.

Today hundreds of people marched through Central London to Trafalgar Square, to show solidarity with Tibet and to protest against the Chinese crackdown on peaceful protest in Lhasa and beyond, where according to Tibetan exile groups 99 people have been killed.

We were allowed to stand outside the Chinese Embassy for a few minutes only, and I saw Embassy staff with cameras at 2nd floor windows peering through lace curtains and taking photographs of the crowd. A large policeman was filming young Tibetan men from the very start of the protest. When asked why, we were told that it was in order to prove to the Chinese this was a peaceful protest. I wasn't convinced. We are the lucky ones though, we are able to raise our voices and protest without being beaten up, something I couldn't forget as I marched through town, with the sun shining and then the snow falling. A young Tibetan woman I spoke to after the march who didn't take part, told me that if she did she would not be able to get a visa to return to see her mother in Tibet. Tibetans who march are refused visas on some pretext or other.
A Tibetan monk led the crowd holding a framed photograph of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and along with cries of "Stop the Genocide in Tibet" we also shouted "Release the Panchen Lama". The Panchen Lama was abducted many years ago, and in his place the Chinese put their own choice forward. He is the son of Communist officials.

We stopped outside the National Gallery where Kate Hoey, the former Sports Minister, urged Diplomats to boycott the Olympic opening ceremonies.Also a group of names were read out, of people who are protesting through going on a hunger strike. It seems that more people in influential positions are also raising their voices and speaking out about China's brutal crackdown in Lhasa and other areas where Tibetans live.It's about time, coming 54 years after the Chinese took over the country. The Chinese have reneged on their promise to allow journalists free access to Tibet and China, in the run up to the Olympics and instead have banned them from Lhasa as troops pour into the area.

I hope more will join future protests, for with China emerging as a superpower, if we don't speak out now, then they will continue to ignore public opinion and carry on with their abuse of power. With their hosting of the Olympics and recognition on the world stage, comes a responsibility. Genocide can never be ignored. Tibet has been overlooked by the West for too long. As Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives , said:

"If freedom loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China’s oppression in Tibet we have lost all moral authority to speak on human rights anywhere in the world. The cause of Tibet is a challenge to the conscience of the world. A challenge we can help meet."



some pics of FIT and march / rally

23.03.2008 01:40


rally at Trafalgar Square
rally at Trafalgar Square



Tibetan in Trafalgar Square
Tibetan in Trafalgar Square

Forward Intelligence (note: no number on shoulder of 'officer' on left)
Forward Intelligence (note: no number on shoulder of 'officer' on left)

'Police photographer' realises he's being photographed
'Police photographer' realises he's being photographed

CO2558 a bit camera shy
CO2558 a bit camera shy

still no shoulder number
still no shoulder number

again, no shoulder number on 'officer' on right
again, no shoulder number on 'officer' on right

Forward Intelligence officers including police photographer were on hand to keep tabs on Tibetans protesting against Chinese repression. Nice to see such close co-operation between the Met and the Chinese authorities.

Backward Intelligence


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Pro Democracy

22.03.2008 18:30

Down with China and all forms of communism, bring democracy to Tibet and the whole world now !

dmo kid

Is that propaganda ?

22.03.2008 19:12

According to James Miles, an american journalist present in Lhasa when the riots started :

"What I saw was calculated targeted violence against an ethnic group, or I should say two ethnic groups, primarily ethnic Han Chinese living in Lhasa, but also members of the Muslim Hui minority in Lhasa. And the Huis in Lhasa control much of the meat industry in the city. Those two groups were singled out by ethnic Tibetans. They marked those businesses that they knew to be Tibetan owned with white traditional scarves. Those businesses were left intact. Almost every single other across a wide swathe of the city, not only in the old Tibetan quarter, but also beyond it in areas dominated by the ethnic Han Chinese. Almost every other business was either burned, looted, destroyed, smashed into, the property therein hauled out into the streets, piled up, burned. It was an extraordinary outpouring of ethnic violence of a most unpleasant nature to watch, which surprised some Tibetans watching it. So they themselves were taken aback at the extent of what they saw. And it was not just targeted against property either. Of course many ethnic Han Chinese and Huis fled as soon as this broke out. But those who were caught in the early stages of it were themselves targeted. Stones thrown at them. At one point, I saw them throwing stones at a boy of maybe around 10 years old perhaps cycling along the street. I in fact walked out in front of them and said stop. It was a remarkable explosion of simmering ethnic grievances in the city.

Now numerous Hans that I spoke to say that they are so afraid they may leave the city, which may have very damaging consequences for Lhasa's economy, Tibet's economy. Of course one would expect that ethnic Chinese would think twice now about coming into Lhasa for tourism, and that's been a huge part of their economic growth recently. And leaving Lhasa, I was sitting on a plane next to some Chinese businessmen, they say that they would normally come in and out of Lhasa by train. But their fear now is that Tibetans will blow up the railway line. That it is now actually safer to fly out of Tibet than to go by railway. We have no evidence of Terrorist activity by Tibetans, no accusation of that nature so far. But that is a fear that's haunting some ethnic Han Chinese now."

This paper and what it says seems to have been totally ignored by the commentators.

And the Dalai-Lama is a man who accepts to receive medals from the hands of George W. Bush.

As for Nancy Pelosi, she is one of the most staunchly pro-zionist US politician who backs whatever Israel does.

So why does she scream to a single instance of alleged chinese crimes against tibetans when she never says a word about the proven and ever going massacres of Palestinians by the Israeli army ?

You'll tell me Sally.


free tibet, nonetheless

22.03.2008 20:31

im just guessing but given tibet's strategic/military importance to china it would probably suit the usa geopolitically for china to be dented in its ability to control tibet. that of course doesn't take away from the rightness of the tibetan cause in terms of self-determination but i am so saddened to hear that protests are against the chinese people living there, but isn't that what usually happens when a new group comes in and colonises and then the original inhabitants begin to get the upper hand?

ever it were thus and all that.

free tibet, nonetheless.

gee O

How to behave if you're invaded

22.03.2008 20:48

So does Skunk think one should be very polite to invaders ?
If the Germans had occupied UK in 1944 and so repressed the indigenous population that it took them 50 years to start throwing stones at the invaders would he say that that was disgraceful?(of the stone throwers)
Tibet was a country which was invaded in 1949 as was East Turkestan now known as Xinjiang (home of the Uighur people whose oppression at the hands of China is much under reported).
historical Tibet had 2 areas within it Kham and Amdo which are now called Qinghai & Gansu.
Han Chinese in these areas (& what is now called Tibet Autonomous Region)was minimal.

Now there are more Han than Tibetans in Tibet (figure given are 6 million Tibetan and 8 million Han Chinese.) The Chinese have built a railway line which allows a good deal more people in and goods out.

Whose property is it really that the Tibetans are alleged to have attacked ?

South Africa was the same story for a long time wasn't it ?
Oh youre oppressed but tut tut dear me no you mustn't try to get that foot off your head because thats "violent"."But theres a foot on my head" Ah yes but thats the Status Quo.

Whether or not some US woman opposing Tibetan oppression happens to have views you disagree with on another subject does not mean that Tibetans are not oppressed does it?

i was also on the march today.i guess there were 300 but i didn't count.

skunk speaks of Palestine.Again only hundreds go on those marches.(maybe 500 in summer)And Burma brought out under 1000 for the first march last year and only 100 in january.

Sad isn't it ?

p.s. The UK invaded Tibet in 1904 in something called the Younghusband expedition so the UK is one of the few who really well know that Tibet was an independent country,is now an occupied country but the Dalai Lama is willing to negotiate for autonomy while accepting that Tibet will henceforth be part of China.But for 49 years China refuses to negotiate.

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22.03.2008 23:22

"And the Dalai-Lama is a man who accepts to receive medals from the hands of George W. Bush."

I suspect that the Dalai Lama is an extremely tolerant man (a quality that is probably advocated by his Buddhist beliefs). That doesn't mean he agrees with everything Bush says and does. Also he probably doesn't have much choice with most world leaders including Blair (and probably former leaders) having promoted business ties with China for the sake of profit at any expense.

Personally I would say that Tibetans should be suspicious of any influence by the Bush regime. They should stand for their own independence with the help of other groups and individuals that may actually help them. We have all seen the result of the estimated 1.2 million in Iraq, and uncounted deaths in Afghanistan when they tried to help that region (or claimed to).

Obviously I cannot encourage anyone to break the law, and would not want to face the possible consequences of my photo being passed to the occupants of the Chinese embassy, and because I have a weird feeling that the police may watch websites like this one, but I think I may have heard that there may be something happening like protests on the 6th April in relation to an Olympic torch going through London on 6th April on it's way to Beijing. There is an article here about it:

Brian B

‘Democacy Promoters’ and Tibet

23.03.2008 22:28

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was established in 1984 with bipartisan support during President Reagan’s administration to “foster the infrastructure of democracy – the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities” around the world. onsidering Reagan’s well documented misunderstanding of what constitutes democratic governance, it is fitting that Allen Weinstein, the NEDs first acting president, observed that in fact “A lot of what we [the NED] do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA”. o for example, it is not surprising that during the 1990 elections in Nicaragua it is has been estimated that “for every dollar of NED or AID funding there were several dollars of CIA funding”.

By building upon the pioneering work of liberal philanthropists (like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations’) – who have a long history of co-opting progressive social movements – it appears that the NED was envisaged by US foreign policy elites to be a more suitable way to provide strategic funding to nongovernmental organizations than via covert CIA funding. Indeed, the NED’s ‘new’ emphasis on overt funding of geostrategically useful groups, as opposed to the covert funding, appears to have leant an aura of respect to the NED’s work, and has enabled them, for the most part, to avoid much critical commentary in the mainstream media.

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) was founded in 1988 and is a non-profit membership organization with offices in Washington, DC, Amsterdam, Berlin and Brussels. Their website notes that they “fundamentally believe that there must be a political solution based on direct dialogue between the Dalai Lama and his representatives and the People’s Republic of China.” ICT received their first NED grant (of the 1990s) in 1994 to:

“…enhance Chinese knowledge of Tibet by contributing articles about Tibet to newspapers and magazines within China and abroad; translating books about Tibet into Chinese; and facilitating a series of discussion meetings among key Chinese and Tibetan figures, focusing on bringing Chinese journalists and pro-democracy leaders together with Tibetan leaders in exile.”

Since then, the ICT has received regular support from the NED, obtaining subsequent grants in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 (all for media work except the 1997 grant).


history matters

FIT pictures

24.03.2008 17:55

So why would public order coppers need to take photos of people attending an event like this one? It was hardly likely to end in a riot now, was it?

The fact that the police are far from open about what happens to these photos doesn't make me feel any better. Even in court they consistently refuse to provide answers, apart from bland and far too general claims that they abide by the data protection act.

So what happens to these photos? Who has access to them? How are they processed? What databases do they form a part of? Is this data shared with other government departments (immigration for example)? Or even other governments? Wouldn't it be nice to have some answers?

Cheers for whoever took the pics. They also now appear on the Fitwatch blog.

fighting fit
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