It was sobering reading an email today (reproduced below) from Tibet Watch marking the 30th anniversary of the 1987 Lhasa protest uprising.
It is impossible to visit Tibet without confronting the oppression Tibetans live with and wondering if you are supporting it. In addition to information and current news on the Tibetan struggle freetibet.org/about/travel-in-tibet has information on ethics of travelling in Tibet and recommendations for travellers.
Oppression on display, my travel experience
In 2014 I was part of a cycle tour from Lhasa across Tibet to Kathmandu, Nepal. Although we travelled without a Police ‘escort’, I believe uncommon, and could speak to anybody the civil and military oppression was obvious.
Stand on the roof top of Jokhang Temple and you can gaze at the square where much of the 1987 protest happened, albeit since surrounded by a new city. In the distance the Potala Palace stands apart—as iconic as ever—but decades have passed since it served its real purpose; home of the Dalai Lama.
You can’t fail to notice military/police presence (below) and literally hundreds of CCTV cameras watching every move. None of it is to protect the people of Tibet.
There are regular Police ‘Checks’ which impede travel between towns, much more for locals than tourists, as permits are checked. In a medical emergency our vehicles could not backtrack to (much closer) Lhasa and had to drive hundreds of kilometres to the Nepalese border because of ‘paperwork’.
Vehicle movements were being photographed at the entry to this town.
Although the oppression was evident in cities and at provincial borders it was at the Tibet Nepal border where it really hit home. After the usual border bureaucracy we just walked across “Friendship Bridge” and out of Tibet.
Something many Tibetans will never do, something Free Tibet.org works to change and something I support.
(Bizarre border as we left Tibet, photo above by braver than me Kirsten)
Today from Tibet Watch
Email From: Eleanor - Free Tibet
Sent: Thursday, 28 September 2017 06:32
Subject: Today is the 30th Anniversary of the 1987 Tibetan uprising (and the founding of Free Tibet)
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the first protest of the 1987 uprising.
30 years ago today, a series of protests calling for Tibet's freedom began in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. China retaliated with brutal force, and many lives were lost as a result.
This kick-started a series of protests over the next few years and was a major milestone in the international movement for a free Tibet. In fact, our organisation was formed in the aftermath of these horrific events.
A new report from our research partner Tibet Watch publishes never before seen images from the protests and reveals previously unknown details about the brave individuals involved.
We must warn you that the report contains extremely graphic imagery of the violence that ensued on that day and some readers may find them upsetting.
The photos, which were obtained from a relative of one of Tibet Watch’s researchers who had worked for the Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA) Department of Security, capture the strife of individual Tibetan protesters who were beaten and killed during the uprising.
Additionally, the report highlights the coverage of the protests in the international media and how Free Tibet was founded in response to the crackdown.
Thank you for you support.