Episode 12 of “Our Nation” includes a discussion of today’s New York Times front page piece by Edward Wong, which talks about the No Losar movement and the security crackdown on Tibetans by the Chinese government during Tibetan New Year. Wong’s piece is incredibly well written and it does a great job of showing the committed defiance of Tibetans inside Tibet. I agree with Lhadon and Tendor that this is one of the best recent articles on Tibet.
An informal grass-roots boycott is under way. Tibetans are forsaking dancing and dinner parties for vigils with yak-butter candles and the chanting of prayers. The Losar campaign signifies the discontent that many of China’s six million Tibetans still feel toward domination by the ethnic Han Chinese. They are resisting pressure by Chinese officials to celebrate and forget.
“It’s a conscious awakening of an entire people,” said Woeser, a popular Tibetan blogger.
Nevertheless, the monks have put photographs of the Dalai Lama back up in prayer halls and in their bedrooms. One monk held up an amulet of the Dalai Lama dangling from his neck.
“The Chinese say this is all one country,” he said. “What do we think? You don’t know what’s in our hearts. They don’t know what’s in our hearts.” The monk tapped his chest. …
To try to maintain calm in the monastery, government officials meet regularly with a council of eight older monks. In early February, they had a frank discussion with the council, a senior monk said.
“They said they don’t want any trouble from us,” he said. “They said they punished us last year by putting us in jail. This year, the punishment will be this — ” The monk held up a thumb and index finger in the shape of a pistol.
Both the Wong piece and Woeser’s recent writing on Tibet do more to correct the incorrect notion that the No Losar Movement started by Tibetan’s in exile. In reality, it originated in Tibet and spread outward. The coverage surrounding the movement is a testament to the power it has had. The Western press, other than during the nationanl uprising last year and during the Olympics, hasn’t shown a tremendous interest in covering Tibet nor the Chinese government crackdown against Tibetans’ pursuit of rights and freedom. The No Losar movement has changed that in a big way.