Tibet’s fragile peace

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Seven years after deadly rioting ripped through Tibet, increased surveilance and investment has helped restore calm. But violence could break out again exile groups warn. Natalie Thomas reports.

Tibet’s fragile peace

Every morning hundreds of Tibetans come to pray at the Jokhang, one of Tibet’s holiest sites.

A few years ago they would have done so under the watchful eye of state security forces, after anti-Chinese rioting shook the region in 2008.

Now the paramilitary troops have vanished, Replaced by a comprehensive network of lookout posts on street corners and in courtyards.

The monasteries, who were at the forefront of the 2008 protests, are also under greater surveillance, with communist officials permanently stationed within their walls.

Some monks say there’s now little chance of them taking to the streets again.

(SOUNDBITE)(Tibetan) SERA MONK, GYENSENG LUOSANG, SAYING:

“Those who break the law will be punished by the law but those cases are very rare. Most of us won’t do things like that.”

The authorities have also been spending heavily to win over the younger generation, with a range of initiatives including free vocational training.

(SOUNDBITE) (Tibetan) WOODWORK STUDENT, SUONAM NORBU, SAYING:

“Life in the past was like hell, and brutal so I didn’t like it. Now we have development and we have good policies, I like it.”

Tibet may appear calm on the surface but some, like exiled parliamentarian Penpa Tsering, warn the peace could be hanging by a thread.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SPEAKER OF TIBETAN PARLIAMENT IN-EXILE, PENPA TSERING, SAYING:

“Now if the fourteenth Dalai Lama has to pass away in exile then it will be very difficult to fathom what the Tibetans inside Tibet would do. This might not just be a simple protest, this could be widespread all over Tibet.”

Tsering is urging the Chinese leadership to do more to seek a reconciliation with the Dalai Lama.

Tags : peace, Fragile, Tibets

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