James Forsyth

The world must not forget Tibet

The world must not forget Tibet
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The New York Times has a great tick-tock on the riots in Tibet, it is the best thing I’ve read yet on what has gone on there these past few days. Intriguingly, the police initially backed away from confrontation with the protesters perhaps because of a desire to avoid reminding the world just what kind of regime China is ruled by so close to the Olympics.

However, this Chinese passivity did not last long:

“The Chinese authorities have also confirmed that army troops had arrived in Lhasa by March 15, saying their role was limited to traffic control and securing military property. But many people question if some of those troops were involved in the crackdown. Several armored vehicles had their license plates removed or covered in white paper.

Mr. Miles noticed that many of the People’s Armed Police officers actually appeared to be wearing irregular uniforms. One military analyst who studied photographs of the scene concluded that some armored vehicles belonged to an elite military unit. Witnesses reported hearing the sounds of gunshots throughout that Saturday afternoon.” The press blackout the Chinese have imposed means that we are unsure of what the current situation in Tibet is and without information or pictures interest in the story could rapidly dwindle. But it is essential that we do not forget Tibet. The relative restraint that China has shown demonstrates that it is not impervious to international pressure, especially with the Olympics close at hand. Continuing interest in the story will, hopefully, act as a check on Chinese actions in Tibet as well as offering some protection to those Chinese intellectuals brave enough to question the Beijing government’s version of events.  

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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