The nationwide protests throughout Tibet take place less than two weeks before the start of the Olympic torch relay. Tibet will be the starting location of the Olympic torch relay. Many pro-Tibet independence groups plan to use the relay sites throughout the country to stage their protests taking advantage of the free press to publicize their cause.
China’s crackdown on the protesters have brought forth outcry from the international community. Pro-Tibet independence activists not only demonstrated in Tibet; but, they have demonstrated in front of Chinese embassies in the United States, Europe, and Australia.
While witnesses say that at least 80 protesters were killed, the Chinese government downplayed the estimate and say that only 10 were killed. So far, all foreigners are not allowed to enter into Tibet. As a result, international reporters such as those from the United States are unable to get the necessary information.
Foreign tourists were forced to leave Tibet in the wake of the violence.
His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama the spiritual leader of Tibet, which is predominantly Buddhist, acknowledges that there have been activists that took a radical approach. While he said he expresses concern, he said that he feels powerless.
The Dalai Lama, who currently lives in India in exile ever since China’s occupation in 1959, said that while he is the spiritual leader, he does not control them.
He does support using the press covering the Olympics in Beijing to publicize the cause of an autonomous Tibet. Hollywood actor Richard Gere, a supporter of Tibet and a convert to Buddhism expressed criticism towards China. Gere said that he may plan to boycott the Olympics.
China has already been warned that its image as the host of this year’s Olympics will be hurt. The country has tried to keep the games and politics separate.
While there are talks about threats of boycotts, many European countries have dismissed it. The European Olympic Committee (EOC) said that it will be the athletes who suffer in the end. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) urged the international community not to boycott the Beijing Olympics over Tibet.
However, the issue of Tibet is not the only subject that is a woe surrounding the Beijing Olympics. The second major issue is that of the violence going on in the Darfur region of Sudan.