Celebrations at the Barkhor

Celebrations at the Barkor in Lhasa after the Dalai Lama was awarded the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. A tense atmosphere in Lhasa has been described as similar to ‘martial law’, with increased numbers of troops on the streets and Tibetans prevented from organizing celebrations or in some cases even attending monasteries to make offerings.

On March 28, a group of 30 monks in Tibet’s most sacred temple and place of pilgrimage, the Jokhang, spoke out to foreign press who were on an official tour of Lhasa orchestrated by Beijing. Images of the monks speaking directly to the journalists about the crackdown in Tibet’s capital and the “lies” of the Communist Party were captured on film by the press and broadcast all over the world.

A translation of the taping of the monks’ protest by Associated Press is enclosed below. The first few minutes are missing, and many of the monks are weeping. After several different conversations at the same time, the monks realize some of the journalists speak Chinese and gradually begin to express some of their concerns. Two or three Chinese-speaking journalists ask questions. Seven minutes into the tape officials come in and order the monks to move away. The whereabouts of the monks is not currently known.

Comments made by Tibetan monks to foreign journalists on government-arranged trip

By the Associated Press
March 28, 2008 16:50

The statements were translated by Tibetan scholars in the U.S. who listened to audiotapes of the outburst made by AP Television News.

“The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) tricked the people.”

“The government is always telling lies, it’s all lies.”

“They killed many people. They killed many people.”

“They (the government) has destroyed the way we are seen by the people.”

“The cadres and the army killed more than 100 Tibetans.”

“They arrested more than a thousand.”

“There were monks and lay people, both.”

“We want freedom and we want peace.”

“But after you leave, we are probably going to be arrested.”