The Strike Hard Campaign: Anti Splittism Essay

1944 words - 8 pages

In September 1997, China announced that work-teams conducting a "patriotic reeducation campaign" had covered 1,780 of Tibet's 1,787 monasteries and temples and 30,000 of the 46,000 monks had received reeducation. In December, reeducation expanded beyond the monasteries to the general population. This campaign, launched in May 1996, is the latest installment of numerous programs to reeducate Tibetans into accepting their designation as a minority group within the big family of the Chinese motherland.One month earlier, on April 6th, the national ``Strike Hard" anti-crime campaign began. Its stated aim is to crush crime and corruption, but in Tibet the focus is largely on "splittist activities." Together, the two campaigns are the two arms of Beijing's attack on the Tibetan independence movement. Though subtler than the frenzied violence of the Cultural Revolution, the intention of the present campaign is similar: destroying the foundation of Tibetan culture. China is willing to allow traditional dress and some colorful ceremony, but only as quaint window dressing for its most picturesque colony. Tibet's history, government and territory must remain in the hands of Beijing.The work-teams are composed mainly of Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials. Some of the team members are Tibetan, but most are Chinese. The teams lead extended reeducation sessions, often three or four days a week for three months or more. The teams' main goals are to identify and expel monks and nuns they deem unpatriotic and to extract loyalty pledges from those remaining. The pledge includes denunciation of the Dalai Lama as well as acceptance of Chinese version of Tibet's history. The teams appear to prefer intimidation over logic and documentation in trying to convince the monks and nuns of the rightness of China's claims of sovereignty. According to the monks, the team members carry weapons and don't hesitate to use fists or electric prods during the reeducation meetings. Open disagreement often leads to arrest.The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) reports that Ngawang Tharchin, 25, from Drepung monastery contradicted a work-team member's statement that Tibet had been part of China since the Yuan dynasty. He contradicted the work-team's version of history on three other occasions and once criticized a team memberÕs lack of knowledge on the subject. The work-team arrested and sentenced him without trial to three years "reeducation through labor." At last report he is currently held in Trisam prison. Gyaltsen Yeshe, about 20, also a Drepung monk, was arrested around the same time. Gyaltsen challenged the work-team to provide unbiased records and historical evidence to prove their version of history. He received three-year imprisonment.Challenging the work-team is not the only reason for which monks and nuns are arrested. Two nuns at Raeteling Samtenling nunnery in Lhasa, Yeshe Palmo and Tenzin Yeshe, were both arrested during a patriotic...

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