Letter to The Editor:
The Guardian, Wednesday 30 November 2011 21.00 GMT
Dai Qingli has entirely failed to recognise the Chinese government’s wronged policies in Tibet that subsequently led to 12 young Tibetans resorting to self-immolation since 2009 (Letters, 26 November). The allegation that it is highly likely these Tibetans have “fallen victim to the control of an abnormal force” is clearly an affront to what are actually desperate bids towards highlighting the deteriorating situation under the Chinese rule in Tibet. Had Dai Qingli’s government in Beijing taken corrective and progressive measures by allowing the Tibetan people to freely exercise their aspirations and rights, then those young Tibetans would never have had to resort to such desperate acts.
Dai Qingli writes: “People in Tibet have legal channels to make their voices heard.” This statement could not be further from the sad truth. Countless legal cases for Tibetans are quashed by Chinese authorities, and are now clearly overdue the attention they deserve. For example, Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan filmmaker, was arrested in March 2008 for making a documentary, Leaving Fear Behind. In his film, Wangchen travelled across Tibet seeking Tibetans’ views on the Beijing Olympics, Chinese policies in Tibet and the Dalai Lama. On 28 December 2009 Dhondup was charged with “inciting separatism” and “subversion of state power” for simply making his documentary. He is serving a six-year jail sentence and has struggled to get legal representation, as the authorities have threatened to close law firms if they attempt to represent him.
This is the reality of the Chinese government’s convenient truth about the availability of legal channels in Tibet.