The task of getting news out of Tibet these day has taken on the frustrating ambiance of cold-war research methodology. We haven’t exactly gone back to the days of Sovietologists and China watchers poring over precious photographs of Mayday line-ups for scraps of usable information, but we’re heading there.
Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, doesn’t have a single representative of the international media posted there, not even a stringer. There is no one from the United Nations (or its many related agencies), The Red Cross, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders. You name it, not one representative from any of those variety of agencies usually jostling for a story or territory in every other conflict or disaster zone in the world. Even beleaguered Gaza has half-a-dozen such NGOs stationed there. Tibet is a dead zone as far as such access is concerned.
Language is undoubtedly one of the fundamental basis of Tibetan identity. Religion is important, of course, but has probably been overemphasized in the official Tibetan world because of the theocratic nature of the Tibetan government and its policy directions, which the Dalai Lama has clearly stated is the renunciation of political sovereignty in order to preserve the “Buddhist” culture of Tibet.
It is more than possible that the Communist Chinese authorities have now come around to seeing the Tibetan language as a dangerous challenge to their overall control of Tibet, in much the same way as they previously regarded the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism. Following the “success” of the Beijing Olympics and the world economic collapse there has also been a noticeable hardening in the overall leadership style of the Communist Party.
I recommend reading the entire piece here.
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