Two brief media notes about Tibet
Like most other people, I don't know for sure what is going on in Tibet, and in ethnic-Tibetan regions in nearby provinces (Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai, etc) right now. It does look ominous. For the moment, here are two semi-surprising media notes, as of Wednesday morning, March 11, Beijing time:
1) CNN and BBC are just now running extensive reports on crackdowns and extra Chinese troops being set to Tibet and Tibetan ethnic areas. Plus, historical footage of Chinese soldiers "liberating" Tibet 50 years ago. The surprising aspect: the transmissions are not being blocked or cut off, as happened routinely last year with far less sensitive material. Even footage of an old interview with the Dalai Lama is coming right across the airwaves. Oversight? New strategy? Just too busy? Don't care what people hear in English? Impossible to say.
2) The official Chinese media usually take the sledgehammer approach when explaining China's Tibet policy to the outside world. "Jackal in a Buddhist monk's robes" as an epithet for the Dalai Lama, etc. But yesterday's editorial in my favorite newspaper, the China Daily, instead tried... the light touch! The editorial, in the form of an open letter to the D.L, was mock reverent (rather than blusteringly condemnatory), consistently addressing him as "Your Holiness" and asking him if he would be so kind as to explain various mysteries and problems. It began this way:
Full text, again, here. A new approach? An aberration? Something that will be shelved now that the D.L. has taken a much harsher, "hell on earth" tone? I don't know. We all will watch.