Deaths at Kirti Monastery

Following up on my recent post about the situation at Kirti Monastery in Tibet: Reports Saturday that Chinese police killed two Tibetan villagers during a raid on the monastery. The US-based International Campaign for Tibet say two monks were beaten to death Thursday after they tried to prevent police from detaining hundreds of other monks. The deceased were identified as two elderly Tibetans, 60 year old Dhonkho of Thawa Ghongma township and 65 year old Sherkyi of the Rako Tsang house Chashang township. The raid by Chinese police resulted in the arrest of around 300 monks who were taken to an undisclosed location.

Tibetans in exile around the world have gone on hunger strikes protesting the repression in Tibet and demanding the withdrawal of Chinese troops from the monastery.

The Tibetan government-in-exile Saturday once again appealed to the international community to persuade China not to use force against locals in northeastern Tibet.

Still, not a word mentioned on the cable news networks. Nothing on their websites. We know how many were killed in Libya and Syria, but not Tibet. We know what happened to Lindsey Lohan on Friday and how many hours are left until the Royal Wedding, but viewers are not informed about Kirti Monastery. No protests from the US Senate or the House of Representatives. Nothing from the White House.

Friday,  President Obama released a statement on Syria, in which he said “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of force by the Syrian government against demonstrators. This outrageous use of violence to quell protests must come to an end now. We regret the loss of life and our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims, and with the Syrian people in this challenging time.”

And what about Tibet, Mr. President? As a well-known singer-songwriter once asked, “How many deaths will it take . . .”

China is an equal opportunity repressor. This past weekend, Chinese authorities detained several hundred congregants of an “underground” evangelical Protestant church in their homes while arresting 36 others when they gathered in a public square to hold Easter services.  The church is called Shouwang, or Lighthouse, maintains that it is not political and only interested in either returning to its rented space, from which they were evicted earlier in the month (unlawfully they maintain), or be allowed to hold gathering outdoors or in private homes.

This week the Dalai Lama will visit the United States.  On Wednesday, an announcement is expected on the new prime minister for the Tibetan parliament-in-exile . . .

Hopefully the visit will help focus some attention on the situation.

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