The New York Times Edward Wong again has a long, featured front page article on Tibet. It seems Wong was detained by Chinese paramilitary for trying to get into Tibet, albeit in areas outside the T.A.R. and in areas that do not have bans on foreign visitors. Along his way, Wong was able to find strong evidence of the impact of China’s harsh crackdown on Tibetans and vast militarization of Tibet:
There are no signs of protests now, residents say, because the town is completely locked down. Recent photographs taken in Xiahe show riot police officers marching in the streets.
“The security forces are everywhere, on every corner, day and night,” said a Tibetan woman reached by telephone. “Don’t come here.”
She paused when asked her opinion about the current situation. “We Tibetans who do business, we’re under a lot of pressure,” she said. “We have to keep quiet. I can’t say I disagree with the policies of the Chinese. It’s their country, and we’re only a minority.”
Like others interviewed for this article, she declined to give her name for fear of government reprisal.
It’s good to see the Times continuing to focus on Tibet and Wong’s reporting has been some of the best in recent weeks. Clearly, though, this article and others like it are about March 10th and what may happen inside Tibet on the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan national uprising.
China’s ban on foreigners to Tibet (the T.A.R. and Tibetan regions annexed to Chinese provinces), as well as the long standing media ban into Tibet, means it will be very difficult for the world to know what happens next week. Last year, the national uprising came as a surprise. There were journalists and many tourists inside Tibet to document the peaceful Tibetan protests which lead to violent Chinese response and subsequent rioting and greater protests. If such events happen this year, news of them will only come out by Tibetans risking their lives to tell the world. This is a deeply troubling fact and one that the Chinese government has worked hard to create through their draconian lock down of Tibet.