Unrest in Lhasa over Blatant Discrimination

Here’s a little nugget of news about about Tibet while we’re all enraptured with the mid-term elections and everything else in the world. It’s nothing that’s particularly revealing about the nepotism and systematic discrimination that runs rampant up there in Tibet; what’s worth noting about this particular case was that the Tibetans actually managed to stage a protest in front of a government office without being, oh I don’t know…shot at or run over by tanks.

No arrests were made, but TAR authorities talked with the Tibetan protesters and tried to defuse the situation,” said another source…the graduates protested in different groups of about 200 people “for several days in front of the TAR government offices and the Department of Education in Lhasa during the last week of October.

It was a non-violent protest and no Tibetans are reported to be arrested. In a case of numbers bearing evidence of the unfair treatment of Tibetans inside Tibet: only two Tibetans were offered the official positions out of a possible 100 available. Take a wild guess where 98% of the remaining jobs were handed? Hint: they were offered to a certain group of people from an ethnicity that rhymes with Khan. Remember, these are all Tibetans who have diligently studied and graduated from various noted universities around China. “Many had been backed in their studies by families and villages in poor rural areas.” They have bought the system and tried their best to fit in it. And for all the trouble that they went through, all they got was a big, fat NO.

Which shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people who are familiar with the gross inequality, corruption, human rights abuses and the microcosmic concentration of power and wealth in Beijing, Shanghai and other coastal cities. Tibetans aside, the majority of the Chinese populace are growing increasingly disenfranchised and even hostile towards the supposedly “harmonious” reconciliation of China’s growing wealth and status across the globe. 90% of China’s new billionaires are the children of senior party officials. But here’s the kicker: In a country of 1.17 billion people, 77% of their population earn no more than US$250 in a year.

So, while China is gearing itself up for the big event in 2008, her country-folks remain neglected and abused — awash in a sea of rhetorical promises and polluted rivers. Maybe the escalating discontent among the Chinese people can herald in a new wave of progressive idealism. Maybe the students will rise again, with the peasants backing them up, against an administration which has no clear structure of authority or purpose. Maybe the unrest reaches to a tipping point such that it spills all across the country, reinvigorating the resistance movements among the Tibetans and the Uighurs. And maybe, just maybe, Students For a Free Tibet will no longer need to exist in a few years. Maybe we can finally change our handle then to Students for a Funky Tibet, or anything else that doesn’t carry such a consequence with it’s namesake.

Until that time arrives, we’ll just have to keep kindling that fire which burns in the bloated belly of an insecure giant.


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