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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Lhasa, march 10 - Eyewitness account

March 12, 2008

by Steve and Ulrike

Today we see how the real situation is in Tibet.

The day seems to be silent and peacefull, even boring. Until 6
o´clock. then 100s of Tibetans gather together on the Bakhor Square.
They form a strong, silent, peacefull circle around the police who
keep the middle of the square open. Soon they call for backup.
Undercoveragents, not so difficult to recognize film the whole
happening. Especially the faces. This is one method to create fear.
Suddenly there is panic. 6 or 7 monks are arrested and driven away.
Tibetans are very scared because of the stories about the prisons and
tortures. In the mean while big numbers of policemen arrive. They
drive everybody apart. But until sunset small groups of people stay
around. There are tourists, Tibetans and Tibetan resembling spies.
Apparently we stick around to long because some Tibetans start to warn
us to be careful about the undercoverpolice who are watching us
closely. We even get a note that says we are being followed and have
to be carefull about what we say. The whole evening misty figures keep
following us, even to the restaurant and the bar.

The Chinese police almost manages to give the impression that it´s
just a small manifestation that they can easily control. From our
Portugees friends, Miguel and Clara, who visit one of the biggest
monasteries (Drepung) nearby, we learn that the Chinese approach (away
from touristic eyes) is much harder. When they walk together with lots
of monks towards Lhasa to join the manifestation, they are brutely
blocked by armed police and military. Miguel and Clara are picked out
of the crowd (they were the only tourists at that time) and chased
away. All the shop have to close and all the people around are obliged
to leave the scene. They get no information and cannot ask or see
anything. It is impossible to take pictures, unfortunately.
Later that day, Miguel returns and tries to get in, being very
concerned about the monks. He can get very close to the monastery and
sees how army trucks and ambulances go and come back from the scene.
Then he is caught, questionned and dropped back at his hotel. We are
very concerned what happened or still happens there, behind the
scenes. Nobody will know.

Lhasa goes to sleep with a sad and uncomfortable feeling. Maybe it is
hard to imagine how bad this feels. We can see now how fortunate we
are, having freedom of speach, freedom of going where we like.
Everybody is afraid to speak. Even us, free born people, not for our
sake but for that of the Tibetans who can get in trouble just by
speaking with us. It´s also very spooky to notice that we are being
followed and approached by men who really try their best to look like
tibetans, being unhandy with their mala. They ask us what is
happening, what we have seen and if we have taken pictures.

Here a few pictures and a videoshot we dare to take, but it´s nothing
like the reality we´ve seen and felt:

video-shot! (look for "the man in black")

Tomorrow we leave for our beautifull trip to the Nepal border.

Tibet will always have a deep impression on us.

Please do support the Tibetans who are struggeling for some freedom


Steve and Ulrike
11/03/2008 - 10:55
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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