On Tibet Frontlines, Protestors 'Shot Like Dogs'


He sat in front of a sign that read "Rise Up, Resist, Return." Unlike the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Youth Congress stands for aggressive protest. Unlike the Dalai Lama, it stands for Tibetan independence from China and not just autonomy. And unlike the Dalai Lama, it believes that China should be stripped of the Olympics.

"There is a growing frustration within the Tibetan community, especially the younger generation," Rigzin said. "His holiness' brand of 'middle way' has been in existence for the last 20 years. And as of right now, nothing has come of it whatsoever."

The Dalai Lama has stuck to his principles. "Particularly in our case," he said during a press conference on Sunday, "violence is almost like suicide."

But he pointedly did not condemn the protesters' actions during the press conference. He said he didn't have the power to stop the demonstrations, though he admitted that he'd received requests not to intervene.

"Generally, Tibetans follow, I think quite sincerely, non-violent peaceful" protest, he told reporters. "Of course, individual human beings, emotions become out of control, and [that leads to] violent actions. So this is possible."

Asked by ABC News whether he supported the demonstrators and had the power to stop them, the Dalai Lama parried, saying, "I have no such power."

Perhaps he is not standing in the way because he and his advisers realize this is a moment the Tibet movement needs to seize. The Summer Olympics begin in only five months. Never have so many eyes been on China. And it seems that never has he been so impressed by the possibilities of this week's protests.

When the Dalai Lama heard the Chinese impose a deadline to the protestors, he said, "I got the same sort of mental state which I experienced in 1959." That is an extremely significant year for the Tibetan people — the year the Dalai Lama fled to India, and the year Tibetans tried to seize their homeland through force. "One side, Chinese military determined to crush. Other side, Tibetan side also, determined to resist that," he said.

Emotions have never been higher here. Lobsang Tsering, a 28-year-old monk, left Tibet in 1989 to move to a monestary in Dharamsala. He has been following the protests in Tibet closely.

Situation in Lhasa

"So many people have been killed in Lhasa. Yesterday 15 were killed in Amdho. And yet the protesters continue, with only a photo of the Dali Lama and the Tibetan flags as their weapons. They have no guns. The Chinese have the guns," he said.

While being interviewed he and another monk received a call from one of their friends in Tibet. The caller described a scene of violence unfold right in front of his eyes.

"The police are beating 70 people," the called said. "One policeman just hit a monk's head with a baton. The monk is bleeding right now." As he continued describing the scene, the violence turned worse. "Oh! Just now, two people were killed. I saw it right in front of me."

Tsering was inconsolable. Speaking a few hours before the Chinese deadline, he feared that the violence would only get worse.

"If the Chinese shoot bullets into the Tibetans, the feeling is felt in the heart of those of us in exile," he said. He started crying, and hugged a visiting reporter. "When I think about the news from the last couple of days, I feel mad. I don't know what to do."

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