Isolated reports from Tibet of buildings targeted for bombing have on occasion attracted the attention of the media, curious perhaps at the very notion of a Buddhist population resorting to a tactic so diametrically opposed to the position asserted by the exiled Tibetan authorities and the Dalai Lama. Such press interest is based partly upon a flawed perception that sees Tibetans as muesli-munching pacifists who, no matter the atrocities inflicted upon them by China’s tyrants, sit in blissful meditation refusing to engage in any action considered violent. Yet the history of Tibet reveals a different picture in which Tibetans have courageously fought to protect their nation’s freedom, including a bloody war of resistance between 1950 and 1970.
Opposition to the iniquities of China’s presence in Tibet has continued, with a number of uprisings demanding Tibetan independence, including the mass demonstrations that arose across Tibet in 2008. Recent events at Kirti monastery near Ngaba in Eastern Tibet, has again reminded the world that Tibet’s cause, and the desire for national freedom remains undiminished, despite the jack-booted response of China’s paramilitary forces. What’s of note here is that although Tibetans have resorted to a variety of forms of resistance, from armed resistance, to today’s more non-violent direct action protests; through protest, leaflets, posters, boycotts and sadly self- immolation, the use of explosive devices has been singularly rare. Those cases that have been reported, have raised serious questions in terms of lack of clear evidence and court proceedings. In 2003 twenty eight -year-old, Lobsang Dondrub was charged with a bombing in Chengdu in Sichuan, he had been arrested for being present near the scene of an explosion. Following torture by Chinese security Lobsang ‘confessed’ to other bombings and was put through a show trial, at which no forensic or other evidence was submitted, found guilty, Lobsang was executed. On March 22 2011 a Tibetan named as Dhokar was arrested near Bathang in Tibet’s Kham region, aged 26 Chinese police accused him of bombing a Chinese police station in 2008.
There are of course many reasons to treat these incidents with suspicion, not least of all the fact such charges are made by China’s regime, which is engaged in a ceaseless campaign of propaganda and ideological warfare on the issue of Tibet. With the world currently shocked by Tibetan self-immolations, and demanding China eases its repression against Kirti Monastery, would it be too fanciful to consider the reporting of a bomb blast in Eastern Tibet, as some attempted distraction; aimed at diverting media attention, while also providing a cover for further crackdowns against dissenting Tibetan voices? Whatever the facts on thing may be relied upon and that’s the eager compliance of mainstream news agencies to publish, without critical analysis, such reports. Take for example a news item which surfaced on Thursday October 27 via the AFP http://bit.ly/uk2rbj which reported an apparent bomb blast of a Chinese government building in the Tibetan town of Chamdo on October 26. An unnamed local source quoted by Tibet Express reported the building as destroyed, although no injuries mentioned, with heightened Chinese security.
There is one curious part to this story, according to the source:
“…words reading “Tibet’s independence” are written in red colour on the destroyed walls of the office building and ‘Free Tibet’ fliers were strewn within the compound leading to authority’s suspicion that Tibetans could be behind this explosion.” http://bit.ly/tjBYdO Tibet Express
For that message to be legible on an already destroyed part of the building it must have been painted after the explosion, how likely is it that Tibetans, already no doubt acutely anxious of being detected and captured, would set off a massive explosion during the early hours of the morning, then as the dust and flames took hold paint the slogan? Furthermore, we are informed this took place in the hours of darkness, was this location under the sodium glare of street lighting? If not then painting such words amid the smoke and ash clouds, already a challenging task, would have surely required torches for illumination? If the area was well lit then why would anyone risk detection or identification by daubing political slogans immediately after such an explosion? Lastly we have the placement of free-Tibet leaflets placed according to this supposedly trusted source inside the compound, again this suggests a post explosion action, a highly risky and unlikely operation.
Now it is not impossible that Tibetans could engage in such actions as part of their struggle for independence, however as with the other isolated incidents involving alleged bombing attacks there are troubling questions. If it was not the work of Tibetans we must ask ourselves who would seek to benefit from such an attack linked so conveniently to Tibet’s independence?