Apart from highlighting the ongoing suppression waged against Tibetans by China’s occupying regime, the current situation at Kirti Monastery in Ngaba, Amdo, Tibet has revealed a troubling willingness of the international media to repeat China’s official line on expressions of dissent in occupied Tibet. The extent of such cooperation from foreign correspondents smacks of collaboration and a complicity in misrepresenting the facts. Latest reports from the scene document thousands of highly armed, body-armoured Chinese military surrounding the Tibetans monastery, which is being safeguarded by local Tibetans who have formed a protective barrier in the hope of saving monks from arrest and torture. It is an act of determination and defiance from a people who have witnessed decades of brutal tyranny from China’s illegal occupation, and who were shocked by the recent suicide of a Tibetan monk, who sacrificed himself to draw attention to Tibet’s plight and the hopes and rights of its people to national independence. Unfortunately mainstream media is little concerned with such context and has largely presented the situation as some form of local ‘stand-off’ . There is something very unhealthy about such reportage, the sly inference being that this a conflict between two relatively equal sides, when it is anything but. yet foreign correspondents and domestic editors choose not to inform their audience that this is yet another example of China’s continuing effort to suppress Tibet’s Buddhist tradition. Nor is it made clear that such oppression is part of a systematic policy of state control, the so-called Patriotic Education Campaign (PEC) which began in earnest in Tibet in 1996, and has been enforced with violence to varying degrees of intensity ever since.
Following the national uprisings for Tibet’s independence in 2008, it has been pursued with a particular viciousness, with the aim of inculcating patriotism and loyalty to China. Through a spiral of enforced indoctrination, mind-numbing propaganda sessions, examinations, and recitation of pamphlets such as the Handbook On Crushing The Separatist, monks and nuns are required to denounce ‘separatism’ and the Dalai Lama. An action which naturally has generated widespread resentment and frustration, yet failure to comply often results in mass arrests, disappearances and torture. During March 2008, monks from Ratoe Monastery near Lhasa refused to participate in the PEC on April 16 armed Chinese troops ransacked the monastery and arrested some thirty-two monks, who were reportedly severely beaten at a local prison. Such is China’s definition of religious freedom in occupied Tibet! The same year the people of Ngaba region, area where the beseiged monastery is located, witnessed the killing of some 23 fellow Tibetans, shot in cold-blood by Chinese forces for taking part in pro-independence protests. Images here: http://www.uprisingarchive.org/ngabam16.html
The truth is, that under China’s draconian grip, Tibet’s religious centers are in essence a form of concentration camp, where those considered most likely to express opposition against China’s occupation are constantly monitored and suppressed, with the slightest of dissent receiving severe response. It has been noted elsewhere that such monasteries are in fact jails inside the larger Gulag of Tibet itself, which has been under military occupation since China invaded in 1950. Not that such realities concern either the journalists or editors who misrepresent the current situation at Kirti Monastery as some local conflict, and wrongly assert it as being located in China’s Sichuan Province. In fact it is a calculated assault by China’s military security against unarmed Tibetan monks inside occupied Tibetan territory! The offices of China’s propaganda agency, Xinhua must be very pleased with the cooperation of foreign media, while those besieged Tibetans have little to thank the members of the press for.