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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Tight security on show alongside re-education in Tibet

July 1, 2010

Sydney Morning Herald (SMH)
June 30, 2010

In March 2008, two weeks after bloody riots
erupted across the Tibetan plateau, a group of
monks stormed a Chinese-government led tour of
foreign journalists at Jokhang temple.

"We want freedom -- they are telling lies," said
the monks, some in tears, saying they had been
imprisoned in the temple after being falsely accused of causing the carnage.

Yesterday, on another tightly controlled foreign
media tour, a Jokhang administrator agreed to
present one of those monks to show he had not
been badly punished. ''I have not been beaten [or
arrested], I had to learn more about the law,''
said the shy 29-year-old monk, Norgye. ''Through
law education I realised what I had done.''

Norgye's impromptu testimony, relayed through a
local government translator, provided some
evidence that the Tibetan government's patriotic
education blitz to bring monks to heel is yielding results.

The re-education campaign has taken place
alongside a security blitz, which a US
congressional report says has led to the arrest
and detention of at least 643 Tibetans since March 10, 2008.

Towards nightfall clusters of armed police walk
anti-clockwise into the crowds of monks, shoppers
and occasional tourists circling around Jokham temple.

Police with semi-automatic rifles are stationed
at intersections, others in full riot gear loiter
in groups, and plain-clothed men struggle to hold
back Alsatian dogs. But after dusk in hidden
corners of the majestic old city, occasionally
Tibetans give alternative views of life under the
Communist Party's hard-line rule. One man, 28,
said the situation remained ''tense'' and ''terrible''.

After leading the Herald to a secluded room, he
said in a quiet but excited voice that ''the
Dalai Lama is the number one best person'' and
told how he and many friends had photographs of
the exiled spiritual leader hidden in home villages far away.

Photos of the Dalai Lama are now impossible to
obtain in Lhasa say the Tibetans, and also the
Han Chinese proprietor of New Beauty Painting
Shop, which sells posters of government-approved
Tibetan gods and spiritual leaders.

She, like many migrants from eastern China who
bore the brunt of senseless violence that killed
18 mainly Han Chinese in March 2008, was also
feeling the pressure of Lhasa's barely concealed divisions.

"Of course it's better [in my home town of
Wuhan]," she said, declining to give her name.

"The people here just shit in the streets."

The Chinese government has taken some steps to
reduce tensions in Tibet, including offering
discount flights for international tourists and
inviting in our small band of journalists.
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