Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Meanwhile, Violence and Oppression Continue in China

"Just as a mother would protect with her life her own son,
her only son,
so one should cultivate an unbounded mind
towards all beings, and loving-kindness towards all the world."

-- from the Sutta Nipata

While the news Stateside focuses on all that money, money, money making the world go around, all hell is breaking loose around that same world. Perhaps it's time to lift our eyes from all the admittedly complicated woes here at home and look outward for a moment:
China's security forces moved to seal off roads and sent reinforcements into large swaths of western China in an effort to contain spreading antigovernment protests by Tibetans, residents in the region said.

Hundreds of Tibetans marched in the village of Riwa in Sichuan province for the fourth day yesterday. Multiple witnesses said that on Saturday, police there opened fire on protesters, killing at least three people. Police declined to comment.

Riwa is near the southern end of an arc of demonstrations in areas populated by Tibetans -- stretching across parts of the provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu -- that have followed in the wake of violent protests in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, on Friday.

To the north of Riwa, in Zhuoni county in Gansu province, an estimated 400 to 500 Tibetans staged a march yesterday and set fire to the local police station and the county-government office, according to a monk who said he took part.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to address the conflict and heads eastward this week during the recess, accompanied by fellow Democrats Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Jim Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Hilda L. Solis (D-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Rush Holt (D-N.J.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.):
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will travel to India this week, sources close to the Speaker confirmed on Tuesday.

The source declined to provide any details of the itinerary. However, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Pelosi will travel to Dharmsala, India, headquarters of the Dalai Lama's exile organization.

The Dalai Lama’s homeland of Tibet has been rocked by violent riots over the past week. Demonstrators have taken to the streets to protest Chinese rule, which has governed Tibet since 1951. On Monday, the Dalai Lama issued an impassionate plea to Tibetan citizens, threatening to resign if the protesters continued to use violence as a form of protest.

As of Tuesday, Pelosi had not announced any plans to meet with the Dalai Lama; however, she has been an outspoken advocate of the exiled Tibetan leader in the past. Last week Pelosi issued a statement criticizing the Chinese government’s handling of the protests saying: “The violent response by Chinese police forces to peaceful protesters in Tibet is disgraceful.”
What the Candidates Say

Senator Clinton calls for China to respect human life and avoid escalation:
"I am deeply concerned about the violent clashes that have erupted in Lhasa, Tibet. Based on the limited information available, there is an urgent need for all parties, and in particular the Chinese security forces, to exercise restraint, to demonstrate respect for human rights and to protect civilians from danger. I call on the Chinese government to prevent further escalation of this conflict and to urgently pursue resolution through peaceful means."
Senator Obama condemns the violence, urges respect for human rights, and calls for Chinese to provide information on the Buddhist detainees:
"I am deeply disturbed by reports of a crackdown and arrests ordered by Chinese authorities in the wake of peaceful protests by Tibetan Buddhist monks," the Illinois senator said in a statement late Friday.

"I condemn the use of violence to put down peaceful protests, and call on the Chinese government to respect the basic human rights of the people of Tibet, and to account for the whereabouts of detained Buddhist monks."
Senator McCain also urges restraint in a published statement, and pushes the Chinese to allow international access to Tibet:
"I urge the Chinese authorities to ensure peaceful protest is not met with violence, to release monks and others detained for peacefully expressing their views and to allow full outside access to Tibet," he said in a statement.
Also at Cogitamus.

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