Sunday, April 13, 2008
A strange cat and mouse game ensued with the torch disappearing and reappearing far from the city announced route disappointing both pro-China and pro-Tibet supporters. I was interviewed twice by news outlets and confronted by angry pro-China supporters that seemed to take it personally. I told them that I spent 10 months in every region of China studying minority music and that I loved the people and the places, but even in the one month I spent in Tibet in 1998, I saw random unprovoked violence, public shaming and beatings to Tibetans in the streets by Chinese authorities. The Tibetan culture, religion and ways of life are and have been oppressed as a massive influx of Han Chinese are encouraged to re-enculturate the region. The Dalai Lama and the 17th Karmapa have been driven out under threat of assassination. The Panchen Lama is still under arrest. On an environmental level, Tibetan holy mountains are being dynamited and mined for minerals, roads are being paved into previously remote regions and areas polluted. This is only part of the pretext for the long suffering Tibetan uprising in recent weeks. The retaliation by the Chinese government has been swift and bloody.