Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Relay Hunger Strike in McLeod Ganj for Ngaba

"Fasting for anything is a pointless gesture that will achieve exactly nothing, much like intercessory prayers, live sacrifices and communing with nature spirits. And no one's going to give a shit if you only stop eating from eleven to five. How is the Chinese government going to react to this? 'Oooh, you not eat for six hours? We totally see error in our ways now!'? If you want anything done, do a hunger strike. Imagine the press it'll generate once the first starving striker dies."

Kok Sen Wai on the Students Worldwide Fast
in Solidarity with People in Ngaba, Tibet

This morning, I had a mind to visit the Tsuglagkhang temple complex and perhaps do the kora, a ritual circuit, around the edifice just for kicks. There I was met with this,

Relay Hunger Strike in McLeod Ganj for Ngaba
"We are hungry! For freedom!"

The place was crawling with the agents of the press and distinguished personages I do not recognise were being interviewed about this relay hunger strike campaign organised by the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), a radical non-government body of activists labouring towards nothing less than the complete independence of Tibet from the governance of the People's Republic of China. Their current battle is the present hot issue in Ngaba, a county in Tibet, where recently (as recently as the 16th of March, 2011), a 20-year-old monk named Phuntsok set himself on fire - reportedly to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Historic Uprising of 2008 when the China's People's Armed Police fired live rounds at unarmed protestors (including monks from the Kirti Monastery), killing seven and wounding several. I'm assuming that Phuntsok means "Balls of Fire-Tempered Steel" in Tibetan.

Tsewang Rigzin Talking to Reporters
Tsewang Rigzin, President of the TYC and consummate polyglot.

So, how did the Chinese government respond to this? Predictably, with their usual stunning lack of PR finesse. They launched a "patriotic reeducation" campaign in scare quotes and threw Chinese soldiers at the problem until it goes away. According to a statement released by the TYC,

The Chinese authorities have imposed a severe lockdown and armed guards are patrolling in and around the monastery completely restricting the movement of monks to go outside and the pilgrims to visit the monastery to pray and offer food to the monks. The innocent monks are suffering without food and the situation in Ngaba is very tense. From March 16th to April 12th 2011, 17 monks from Kirti Monastery and 17 local Tibetans have been arrested.

Local residents of Ngaba learned on April 12th that the Chinese authorities were planning to forcibly remove monks from the monastery and blocked the entrance. The armed police tried to break through the crowd by severely beating the people and unleashing trained dogs in the crowd resulting in many bitten by dogs and injured. The restricting of food access to the monks and unleashing of trained dogs in the crowd is the most barbaric act in this century and complete violation of human rights.

The above is by no means an objective source - it's the TYC's agenda to paint the PRC in as poor a light as possible - but the alternative is what China has to say on the issue. And as everybody knows (excepting the Chinese people because they don't have Google), the Chinese propaganda machine is full of 牛粪.

Hunger Strike for Ngaba, Nuns
Hungry nuns.

Of course, this is a relay hunger strike. It means they take turns skipping meals. Since Chinese authorities are intentionally embargoing the flow of victuals to the Tibetan monks in the Kirti Monastery, my guess is they aren't going to give a 飞行的性交 if a few more monks and nuns elsewhere threaten to lose a few pounds.

Yes, I know the point is to pressure the toothless human rights watchdogs worldwide and other world governments to intervene. We'll see how that works out. Today is the 5th day counting.

In other news,

Bob Marley's Biggest Fan
I must ask him if he likes Bob Marley.

This Tibetan bloke is sporting an Afro and a pair of pink heart-shaped sunglasses. That is all.

P.S. All these happened about 12:00 PM, Indian time. It's 3:00 PM now. I'd have reported this earlier but I went to grab a couple of bowls of laphing first. The hunger strikers made me feel peckish.

k0k s3n w4i


McGarmott said...

You just gave away the fact that you're a banana in hilarious fashion right there.

Rewarp said...

"as recently as the 16th of March, 2001), a 20-year-old monk named Phuntsok set himself on fire - reportedly to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Historic Uprising of 2008"

Sounds like a regenerating Timelord to me.

Or was it a Back to the Future deal?

k0k s3n w4i said...

McGarmott: i thought i ought to leave a joke or two for my readers who can read chinese :)

Rewarp: well, the full story said that he was doused by the authorities soon after he started the barbecue. he succumbed to his injuries after that - hardly in line with dr who lore. he got what he wanted though: reinvigorated international attention on the human rights issues in tibet.

Rewarp said...

I meant the dates.

He commemorated the 2008 uprising, with a self-immolation in 2001.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Rewarp: gotcha. fixed the typo.