Tibetan protest in 2008, the result of genuine grievances against China: Report

June 6th, 2009 - 5:18 pm ICT by ANI  

New York, June 6 (ANI): The Tibetan riots and protests of March 2008 were the result of genuine grievances brought about by failed Chinese Government policies, and not through a plot of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

A group of prominent Chinese lawyers and legal scholars have released a research report arguing that Tibetans ran from clashes between protesters and Chinese soldiers in March 2008 in Lhasa, The New York Times reports.

The authors of the report are members of a Chinese group called Gongmeng, or Open Constitution Initiative, which seeks to promote legal reform in China.

Lawyers in the group also tried to file lawsuits on behalf of families whose babies suffered in the tainted milk scandal last year, and two members have defended Tibetans in court this year.

The lengthy paper is the result of interviews conducted over a month in two Tibetan regions, The New York Times reports.

It represents the first independent investigation into the causes of the widespread protests, which the Chinese Government harshly suppressed. It blamed the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan exiles in Dharamsala for the unrest.

The government has quashed the expression of any dissenting opinions on the causes of the protests, which spread quickly across western China.

The research paper was quietly posted last month on Chinese Web sites, and an English translation was released this week by the International Campaign for Tibet, an advocacy group based in Washington.

The authors of the report concluded that Chinese government policies had promoted a form of economic modernization in Tibet that left many Tibetans feeling increasingly disenfranchised over the decades.

The researchers found that Tibetans had enormous difficulty finding work in their homeland, while ethnic Han Chinese migrants seemed to have a monopoly on jobs in restaurants, hotels and stores.

When violent rioting broke out in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, on March 14, 2008, after four days of peaceful protests, businesses owned by Chinese were looted and burned. At least 19 people were killed, most of them Han Chinese, the paper reports.

The report also cast blame on the governing structure in Tibetan regions, saying that there had been problems adapting Tibetan culture and society to the “ruling state’s systems.”

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