From Mint, India:
The hum of prayer reverberates through this settlement of 22,000, across its monasteries and the palace. Some 250km west of Bangalore, Bylakuppe holds the distinction of being the biggest Tibetan settlement outside Tibet, bigger even than Dharamsala.
But confusion is beginning to creep into this peaceful town that lies amid fields of maize, ginger and chillies, as Tibetan youth find themselves battling over how to battle.
The youth have been divided over their future course of action by a despairing threat from the Dalai Lama to resign if violence in Tibet continued or escalated. On Tuesday, the Dalai Lama called Tibetan violence “suicidal” and expressed his reservations about batches of protest marches from Dharamsala to Lhasa. “Don’t commit violence, it is not good,” he said at a news conference. “Violence is against human nature, violence is almost suicide. Even if 1,000 Tibetans sacrifice their lives, it will not help.”
But, while one small segment seeks to accede to the Dalai Lama’s plea, a larger section still calls for meeting fire with fire.
[Photo: Tibetans hold candles during a prayer march in Bylakuppe, India]
China’s patchy Tibet blackout
Edward Cody from Beijing in The Washington Post:
As news reverberated around the world that bloody disturbances had erupted in Tibet, a star journalist for a leading Chinese newsmagazine was asked if he had any good sources in the remote mountain region. “Why?” he asked, unaware that anything was going on.
The reporter’s reaction was not unusual. When rioting by outraged Tibetans shook Lhasa last Friday, the Communist Party’s censorship apparatus tamped down news of the rampage, leaving most of China’s 1.3 billion people in the dark. Government-controlled television news ignored the crisis for the first few days, and Chinese newspapers were restricted to skeleton dispatches from the official New China News Agency.
It’s the Tibetan economy, stupid
Lack of economic opportunity fueled the riots in Tibet, says Abrahm Lustgarten, author of the upcoming “China’s Great Train: Beijing’s Drive West and the Campaign to Remake Tibet,” in The Washington Post:
On a winter night not long ago, I walked through the glowing doorway of Lhasa’s newest nightclub, Babila, for an interview with its owner, a Chinese entrepreneur. Disco balls spun from the ceiling. Fiber-optic strands of plastic beads drizzled down like rain to a long, sleek stainless steel bar. On the stage, dancers in stiletto heels and lingerie gyrated to thumping music.
“Tibetan culture is so deeply rooted here,” the owner told me. “I don’t think it will be diluted — it’s important for business.” Yet looking around, I saw no Tibetan employees, and Tibetans represented only a smattering of customers. The bar served mostly Chinese businessmen and army officers, whose tabs could run as high as $2,000, several times the per capita income in Tibet.