The protests taking place in Tibet are one of many marches planned in order to use the free publicity that will be provided as a result of the 2008 Olympic Games that are going to be hosted in Beijing, China. Recently, Tibet exiles and pro-Tibet independence activists have started to make their moves from both Nepal and India for a three to six month march towards China where along with many other groups will use the press coverage of the Olympic Games to publicize their causes.
However in the recent days, Indian authorities had prevented them from leaving one area to head into Tibet.
Now, there has been a violent clash in Lhasa, the main city of Tibet. In the wave of the violent clashes, at least two people have been reported dead. Radio Free Asia which is based in the United States got the information from witnesses that say they have seen the two bodies in the street.
Chairman Qiangba Puncog of Tibet’s government which is controlled by China said that these protesters will be punished.
“We will deal harshly with these criminals who are carrying out activities to split the nation,” the chairman said to The Associated Press.
One Western tourist explains: “[The rioters] seemed to go for all the Chinese shops and the Chinese people as well. I saw quite a few Chinese people beaten up… it turned totally crazy.”
The testimony from this Western tourist gives off an indication of possible tensions between the Chinese and the native Tibetans.
Qiangba denied allegations that the police opened fire. However, the Xinhua new agency which is controlled by China’s government says otherwise. According to Xinhua, police fired warning shots and used tear gas. The report from Xinhua contrasts from what the chairman of Tibet’s government has stated in regards to the violence.
In turn, China’s government placed blame on those that support the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama of causing this unrest. The Dalai Lama fired back and said that there was no base to place the blame on his followers. He also gave his expression for wanting the violence in Lhasa to stop.
This is one example on how Tibet is one of the issues plaguing the Olympic Games that will take place in Beijing.
Other issues that have caused trouble for the Olympics in Beijing were: Darfur, Taiwan, violation of human rights, and the tainted food supply.
In the case of Darfur, Sudan, the Olympics Beijing is going to be used as a platform to publicize the cause. During the CNN Democratic Debates last year in 2007, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former Democratic hopeful, noted when the candidates were asked about Sudan, that China is the biggest customer of its oil.
Richardson said that the US should threaten to boycott the Olympics as a means to pressure China to do more to end the violence taking place in Darfur. Former Democratic hopeful Mike Gravel had dismissed the idea as being a bit too radical.
Recently, Hollywood award-winning director Steven Spielberg resigned from his post as a creative director for the Olympics in Beijing. In his resignation, he stated that China was not doing enough in Darfur.
Before going on his six-day Africa trip, US President George W. Bush said that he will attend the Olympics. He said that he would use that time to remind China’s President Hu Jintao that there is more he can do in Darfur.
The issue of tainted food has gotten many nations concerned for the welfare of their athletes.
There are many human rights groups that plan to address China’s record on human rights at the Beijing Olympics.
In regards to Tibet, there is a high chance that pro-Tibet independence groups will use the free publicity that the games will provide. Hollywood actor Richard Gere who converted to Buddhism and a supporter of Tibet said that he plans to support a boycott if China does not take a new approach.