News and Views on Tibet

From Tibet to Boston

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Tibetan chairman: ‘I’m sure we can bring down the dictatorship’

By James O’brien

The Chairman of the Board of the Tibetan Association of Boston said Tuesday the tide of events in China may lead to an end to Communist “dictatorship” in the region.

Chairman Pema Tsewang said he is hopeful newly focused attention on China and Tibet will bring about not only an international probe, but a gestalt switch in the rising superpower’s fortunes.

“I would definitely believe this is the opportunity — not only for the Tibetans but so many other minorities who are also under the same oppression and suppression by the People’s Republic of China,” Tsewang said. “If every one of these groups can walk together in a coalition form, I’m sure we can bring down the dictatorship in China.”

The news from the Asian Pacific region has been grim.

Political opposition boiled over into physical confrontation in Lhasa, Tibet on March 10, as monks and demonstrators commemorating the 49th anniversary of a Tibetan uprising against the Chinese.

“Now can you imagine, if someone fires on the crowd, who are airing their grievances peacefully – wouldn’t from that very crowd a few elements get angry?” said Tsewang. “And they would throw rocks? It is imaginable. That is understandable.”

Chinese officials maintain the Tibetan protesters rioted, spurring military response.

Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama said Tuesday he would resign if ongoing violence continues.

Dissident Hu Jia awaits a verdict in China this week in connection with charges he subverted the ruling Communist Party.

His trial prompted the European Union to call for Hu’s release.

China In Focus

China has been in the news not only for its controversial human rights and international relations, but also with its products and its conduct in both outer space and cyberspace. Some highlights:

Chinese-made pet food sickened thousands of animals in early 2007. On Feb. 3, insecticide-laced bags of Chinese dumplings poisoned 10 in Japan. Trader Joe’s responded to consumer concerns Feb. 11 by pulling some Chinese “single ingredient” foods like garlic and frozen spinach from its shelves.

Contaminated eukemia drugs manufactured by Shanghai Pharmaceutical Co. allegedly paralyzed the legs of a Chinese 5-year-old, and dozens of others in June 2007. Baxter International of the United States suspended production of a drug thinner in February after 350 patients fell ill from the Chinese-made medicine.

China blew its obsolete Feng Yun 1-C weather satellite out of space on Jan. 11, 2007. The debris created will clog low Earth orbit for a century, according to United States Air Force engineers.

A pair of FBI investigations netted arrests on Feb 11: A California engineer allegedly delivered 24 B-1 Bomber manuals to China. A Department of Defense analyst, a Chinese national, and a New Orleans businessman allegedly provided military technology sales information to Chinese officials.

Chinese hackers, who claim to have broken into Pentagon computers, told CNN this month the Chinese government funds cyber-warfare. The Chinese government denied the allegations.

China ramped up its military spending 17.6 percent, or $58.8 billion, for 2008. The Chinese military is comprised of 2.3 million individuals, the largest standing army in the world.

Director Steven Spielberg opted out as artistic adviser to the Beijing Olympics over China’s association with genocide in Darfur, Sudan. China purchases two-thirds of Sudan’s oil and provides its military with weapons. China promised it would improve its human rights record by the 2008 Olympics. Analysts say the nation has instead increased pressure on dissidents.

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