Monday, March 17, 2008

China's tough line in Tibet is seen to have brought only resentment

By Jim Yardley
Published: March 17, 2008

BEIJING: Champa Phuntsok, the taciturn chairman of Tibet's government, left no doubt Monday morning on whose shoulders the Communist Party places blame for the violent Tibetan protests that have become a domestic political crisis and an Olympic-year public relations nightmare: the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, and "splittist" forces colluding to splinter China.

Speaking at a hurriedly organized news conference, Phuntsok described the violence that erupted Friday in Lhasa and is still spreading to other Tibetan regions as if it were a meticulously orchestrated surprise attack.

But to many Tibetans and their sympathizers, the unleashed fury is sad and shocking yet not a complete surprise. Tibetan anger has simmered over Chinese policies on the environment, tightening religious restrictions and a harder political line from Beijing. Ethnic tensions and economic anxiety have also sharpened as Chinese migrants have poured into Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

"Why did the unrest take off?" asked Liu Junning, a liberal political scientist in Beijing. "I think it has something to do with the long-term policy failure of the central authorities. They failed to earn the respect of the people there."

For now, Beijing's hard line on Tibet is only likely to get harder. Full Article Link

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