Monday, April 27, 2009

More from QQ

At the end of February, High Peaks Pure Earth blogged about the Chinese IM service QQ and how it suddenly wasn't allowing users to type in Tibetan. It now looks as though Tibetan users typing in Chinese also face strict restrictions, according to this short blogpost from April 24, 2009, view the original written in Chinese here. QQ is owned by the company Tencent.

How can set even the term "lama" as a sensitive phrase?

Recently, I've realised that when posting on QQ Space, the word "lama" cannot be displayed, why is this? Tibetan people cannot be separated from Buddhism, Buddhism cannot be separated from monasteries, monasteries cannot be separated from monks.

What is incorrect about the word "lama"! Why is not allowing this phrase to be displayed? As members of the Tibetan nationality, we must strongly oppose this!

You know the reason why? Because we are backwards!
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Day of Pain

We reported in an earlier post here that hotels in China were discriminating against Tibetans and Uigyurs. Since last March 2008 the official media's depiction of Tibetans as terrorists has infiltrated to every level and Tibetans travelling in China still face discrimination and hostility from the public.

High Peaks Pure Earth brings you a personal account of an example of ethnic discrimination that took place in Beijing recently as documented by a Tibetan student blogger and posted on his blog (photo below) on April 16, 2009.

A Day of Pain

April 12, 2009 is a day I’ll never be able to forget. This was one of the most painful days of my life, a day that made me realize how small and insignificant I am and how wretched my Tibetan compatriots are.

On April 12, my girlfriend from my hometown came to see me and we went to Beijing. By the time we got to Beijing it was already gone six in the evening and so we went to find somewhere to stay. As soon as we got to the hotel, their service was extremely friendly and I said at the time to my girlfriend: “This is the capital city of the motherland, and so of course the levels of service are going to be high.” But as we were registering, the receptionist said something that pained me deeply. She said, “Tibetans can’t stay here.” At the time I didn’t want to believe my ears and so I picked up my student’s ID and showed it to them again but they still wouldn’t let me stay, saying that they needed certification from the local police. I went to seven or eight different hotels but they all gave the same answer. Angry and disappointed, the only question going round my head was “why?”

On October 1, 1949, the People’s Republic of China was declared to have been established, and from then on there was an historic and qualitative change brought about in relations between China’s nationalities, and the era of ethnic oppression progressed to the era of ethnic equality.

But sixty years later and we can still be confronted with the tragic reality of “Tibetans can’t stay here.”

Sixty years later and Tibetans still live in the shackles of apartheid and chained by racism, every step an ordeal and misery.

Sixty year later, amidst a vast ocean of material glory, Tibetans still live on an island of poverty.

Sixty years later, Tibetans are withering and fading in the corners of Chinese society.



Qiaga Tashi Tsering

April 16, 2009, Nankai University
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Monday, April 20, 2009

Thus, We Vanish!

High Peaks Pure Earth has, as always, been looking for interesting blogposts to translate into English and noticed that most netizens seem to have heeded the request from webmasters not to post political messages.

However, there are many posts written in verse which are passionate and demonstrate the mood in Tibet.
Here is one poem that High Peaks Pure Earth has translated, the original Tibetan can be read here:

Thus, We Vanish!

Since the dark cloud swallowed the moonlight,
We are untouched by the warmth of the fatherland,
Our compatriots are burdened with an unbearable load
Patiently waiting for the ray of hope,

A flock of hawks chased the cuckoos away,
Destroying the warmth of spring permanently
The dark army conquered every corner of the land,
Hardly anyone even dares to mourn and utter a sorrowful sound,

The cliff where the youthful wild yak polished its horn,
The narrow valleys, where brave men left symbols of heroic deeds
Seeping into the rocks and soil
In times of rapid change,

The lofty plateau is endlessly battered by violent storms
The precious jewels of ancestors are perishing
The young, speak a stranger’s language
Declaring, we changed you into another race.
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Monday, April 6, 2009

"Farming Boycott": Continuation of Non-Violent Non-Cooperation by Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser that was originally written for Radio Free Asia on 31st March 2009 and posted on her blog on 4th April 2009.

Woeser's piece focuses on the ongoing "Farming Boycott" in areas of Kham that has been reported by various media
including Radio Free Asia and continues her thoughts about civil disobedience that started in her writings about the decision made by Tibetans earlier this year not to celebrate Tibetan New Year.

Woeser's article also mentions another episode of non-violent non-cooperation as exercised in Kham in May 2008. In her Tibet Update of 21st May 2008 Woeser wrote:
In Tawu (Ch. Daofu) County (Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province), for the past 15 days, many owners of trucks who are engaging in transporting goods have stopped driving their trucks so as to show their dissatisfaction with the authorities’ suppression of Tibetan people. It is learned that there are altogether over 2,000 domestic transportation trucks in Tawu County, and at present several hundred of them have stopped engaging in transportation.
Finally, for High Peaks Pure Earth readers not familiar with the term "fifty cent party", these are internet commentators in China who are paid by the government to post on internet forums and blogs, more information here in this BBC article of 16 December 2008.

The photo above shows Drakgo in Kham (Luhuo County, Ganzi Prefecture, Sichuan Province), the military police are rushed in to suppress Tibetans engaged in the "farming boycott".

"Farming Boycott": Continuation of Non-Violent Non-Cooperation by Woeser

Recent media attention has been on Tibetan rural areas where Tibetans are currently engaged in a "farming boycott." What is meant by "farming boycott" is that farmers are refusing to cultivate farmland. According to information coming from northern Kham in eastern Tibet, authorities arrested a large number of young adults in last year's protests and countless households have been left with only the elderly and young children. Those Tibetans who have been caught were either heavily fined or harshly sentenced, and there are even those we never heard from again and do not know whether they are dead or alive. In Kham in June last year I saw arrest warrants that were posted everywhere in towns and villages. Of the 36 wanted people as many as 30 whose age ranged from over 10 to over 40 years old. This shows how devastating an affect this has on ground level. The information is telling us that in view of this, the family members who lost principal members of the family labour force collectively refused to farm in protest.

Lack of labour force is, of course, a reason but I think that this is similar to the decision at the beginning of the year not to celebrate Losar, this is the continuation of "civil disobedience"! Our elders and fellow villagers -- these masses who hold "no power", in their own way as farmers and herdsmen, practice the spirit of "non-violence and non-cooperation" firmly, persistently and silently when they are living under gunpoint full of hostility. Yes, the "farming boycott" and "no Losar" have the same meaning, they are ordinary Tibetan people giving up major parts of their individual lives, and even hurting themselves, in order to express protest. And the "farming boycott" compared to not celebrating Losar is far more costly. The latter only involves not wanting to be happy during a sorrowful time but the "farming boycott" involves people and their livelihoods on an everyday level similar to May last year when in Tawo and Drakgo and other places in Kham, thousands of domestic transport delivery trucks stopped their movements for scores of days out of protest.

On the eve of Losar this year, a leaflet was in circulation in Tibetan areas which said, "To the Tibetans of the three provinces; monks, nuns, lay men and women who have the same root and who belong to the same nationality, let us unite our strength, let us jointed resist, and not to surrender to the government who has invaded our homeland. People of the three provinces should share weal and woe. We must never forget that those killed did not die fighting for their own interests, they died fighting for the freedom of our nationality and justice. For that matter, as Tibetans, we must not celebrate Losar this year...". Recently, in Drakgo in northern Kham, a 27-year-old monk Phuntsok was beaten to death by police for posting leaflets. The leaflets read, "Even if we go hungry or die of hunger, because of last year's peaceful protests our brothers and sisters were tortured, arrested and killed so we must give up farming to show respect and our condolences and express our solidarity with them..." The significance of these messages are the calls for non-cooperation that are issued.

Not even taking into account last year, just this past month or so, people in Kardze in Kham have been taking to the streets to start peaceful demonstrations, more than 60 Tibetans have been arrested and the protests average one a day. According to local witnesses, all the protesters understand what the outcome of raising one arm and calling out in protest can be, but still one after another they shouted loudly for freedom and rights. Some did so after they even intentionally walked out in front of armed soldiers and police. Not one of those Tibetans who did so won't be beaten or arrested, however it is said that it was the hands of the military police that were shaking and, they were frightened by the strength of "filling up the prisons" shown by Tibetans, which is similar to what Martin Luther King advocated. The great pioneer of non-violent non-cooperation Martin Luther King also said: "We will meet your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. We will not resort to hating you but we will not obey your unjust laws. "

The "farming boycott" in this case demonstrates the "power of no power". Therefore, using both hard and soft tactics, the authorities sent work teams and the military police demanded Tibetans not to engage in this "farming boycott", and furthermore, they view the "farming boycott" as separatist activity manipulated by the "Dalai Clique". In order to intimidate other Tibetans, the authorities arrested Tibetans who refused to farm or who publicly paraded. Online "fifty cent Party" commentators have angrily ridiculed: "Refusing to farm is too slow a process, it would be better to stop drinking water and to go on hunger strike, this would appear that they are more determined and the effect would be even better." Aren't there quite many cases that Tibetans have been forced to commit suicide? One by one, Tibetans are engaging in "non-violent non-cooperation" so that the world realises that even though the Communist Party of China has been the master of Tibet for 50 years, Tibetans have neither recognized nor submitted to it.

March 31 2009, Beijing
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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Remembering the Honourable Gangnyi La

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost from the original Tibetan about the detention of Labrang monk, writer, photographer and environmental activist Kunga Tsayang (here referred to by his pen name Gangnyi meaning Sun of Snowland) as written by a friend of his.

This personal and heartfelt tribute to Gangnyi was posted on this blog on March 24 2009 (photo above). Gangnyi himself also used to blog on the same website but both sites are inaccessible at the time of writing.

Image from Gangnyi's blog. The Tibetan says Gangnyi, Special Year.
The photographer on the right is Gangnyi.

A concise biography of Gangnyi can be read on the
blog run by Students for a Free Tibet. His arrest was first reported by Reporters Without Borders on March 23 2009 and has since also been reported by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Gangnyi's essay Who Are the Real Separatists can be read on the website TibetWrites and an earlier posting by High Peaks Pure Earth about splittism can be read here.

The Tibetan in green says, "forest, water and mountain from my hometown".
The Tibetan in red says, "an unhealable wound is created".

Remembering the honourable Gangnyi La (gangs nyi)

I wasn't able to participate in the blog too often these days and therefore I haven’t been able to keep in touch with my blog friends and stay informed. Today I suddenly heard that Gangnyi la has been imprisoned and I would like to express my regret and remember him. When an active and important friend like him disappears, I think we have to think about the situation. When everyone disappears like that, don't we feel that our right to live out our lives peacefully is taken away? How can he be arrested without any reason? The motive of his arrest is not based on personal crimes he has committed. Therefore if we wish for a free and and peaceful life, we cannot ignore these incidents happening over and over again. Finally I would like to hope for the well being of honorable Gangnyi la’s mind, body and speech and that the wishes of the Tibetans from all three provinces may succeed.
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