News Checker

Read News, Share news, Tell the truth.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

India cops arrest 4,000 Christian marchers

DELHI, India May 29 -- Police arrested more than 4,000 protestors who were engaged in a peaceful march through the streets of India's capital Tuesday to call for the government to end violence against Christians. The rally, called "Stop Violence On Christians," was organized after two recently televised attacks on Christians and an increase of anti-Christian incidents in 2007, AsiaNews reported Tuesday.

The station house police chief confirmed he had "arrested" approximately 4,000 people at 1:05 pm and released them an hour later.

"This was the first time since November 1997 that such large numbers of Christians have been arrested in the Parliament Street Police Station. It was incredible to see Catholic nuns, Protestant pastors, civil society activists and more singing Christian songs of liberation within the police station," said John Dayal, Secretary General, All India Christian Council, and President, All India Catholic Union.

Organizers expected 2,000 people, but attendance was estimated at 5,000. Speakers demanded human dignity and constitutional rights for the Christian community and other repressed minorities, who face harassment from Hindu fundamentalists and, in many cases, local government officials.

The news came from here.

I post this just want to show that China and India, or generally most of Asia don't welcome Christians in religion. The business and travels are still wecomed.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

China's approach to African nations a lesson for the World Bank

Jeffrey Sachs, New York

The China Daily recently ran a front-page story recounting how Paul Wolfowitz used threats and vulgarities to pressure senior World Bank staff.

The newspaper noted that Wolfowitz sounded like a character out of the mafia television show "The Sopranos". At the same time, while the Wolfowitz scandal unfolded, China was playing host to the Africa Development Bank (ADB), which held its board meeting in Shanghai. This is a vivid metaphor for today's world: while the World Bank is caught up in corruption and controversy, China skillfully raises its geopolitical profile in the developing world.

China's rising power is, of course, based heavily on its remarkable economic success. The ADB meeting took place in the Pudong district, Shanghai's most remarkable development site. From largely unused land a generation ago, Pudong has become a booming centre of skyscrapers, luxury hotels, parks, industry, and vast stretches of apartment buildings. Shanghai's overall economy is currently growing at around 13 per cent per year, thus doubling in size every five or six years. Everywhere there are start-ups, innovations, and young entrepreneurs hungry for profits.

I had the chance to participate in high-level meetings between Chinese and African officials at the ADB meetings. The advice that the African leaders received from their Chinese counterparts was sound, and much more practical than they typically get from the World Bank.

Chinese officials stressed the crucial role of public investments, especially in agriculture and infrastructure, to lay the basis for private-sector-led growth. In a hungry and poor rural economy, as China was in the 1970s and as most of Africa is today, a key starting point is to raise farm productivity. Peasant farmers need the benefits of fertiliser, irrigation, and high-yield seeds, all of which were a core part of China's economic takeoff.

Two other critical investments are also needed: roads and electricity, without which there cannot be a modern economy. Farmers might be able to increase their output, but it won't be able to reach the cities, and the cities won't be able to provide the countryside with inputs. The officials stressed how the government has taken pains to ensure that the power grid and transportation network reaches every village in China.

Of course, the African leaders were most appreciative of the next message: China is prepared to help Africa in substantial ways in agriculture, roads, power, health, and education. And the African leaders already know that this is not an empty boast.

All over Africa, China is financing and constructing basic infrastructure. During the meeting, the Chinese leaders emphasised their readiness to support agricultural research as well. They described new high-yield rice varieties, which they are prepared to share with their African counterparts.

All of this illustrates what is wrong with the World Bank, even aside from Wolfowitz's failed leadership. Unlike the Chinese, the Bank has too often forgotten the most basic lessons of development, preferring to lecture the poor and force them to privatise basic infrastructure, rather than to help the poor to invest in infrastructure and other crucial sectors.

The Bank's failures began in the early 1980s, when, under the ideological sway of President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, it tried to get Africa and other poor regions to cut back or close down government investments and services. For 25 years, the Bank tried to get governments out of agriculture, leaving impoverished peasants to fend for themselves. The result has been a disaster in Africa, with farm productivity stagnant for decades. The Bank also pushed for privatisation of national health systems, water utilities, and road and power networks, and grossly under-financed these critical sectors.

This extreme free-market ideology, also called "structural adjustment", went against the practical lessons of development successes in China and the rest of Asia. Practical development strategy recognises that public investments - in agriculture, health, education, and infrastructure - are necessary complements to private investments. The World Bank has instead wrongly seen such vital public investments as an enemy of private-sector development.

Whenever the Bank's extreme free-market ideology failed, it has blamed the poor for corruption, mismanagement, or lack of initiative. This was Wolfowitz's approach, too. Instead of focusing the Bank's attention on helping the poorest countries to improve their infrastructure, he launched a crusade against corruption. Ironically, of course, his stance became untenable when his own misdeeds came to light.

The Bank can regain its relevance only if it becomes practical once again, by returning its focus to financing public investments in priority sectors, just as the Chinese leadership is prepared to do.

The good news is that African governments are getting the message on how to spur economic growth, and are also getting crucial help from China and other partners that are less wedded to extreme free-market ideology than the World Bank.

Many African governments at the Shanghai meeting declared their intention to act boldly, by investing in infrastructure, agricultural modernisation, public health, and education.

The Wolfowitz debacle should be a wake-up call to the World Bank: it must no longer be controlled by ideology. If that happens, the Bank can still do justice to the bold vision of a world of shared prosperity that prompted its creation after World War II.

Jeffrey Sachs is a professor of economics and the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.


This could be a direct answer to those who said or believe that China is colonizing Africa. Those people never understand why African countries is collectively, happily to shake hands with China after they had got "assistants" from western countries.

Labels: , , ,

Indian police fire on Bhutanese refugees

A Bhutanese refugee was killed and 11 injured after Indian police fired on them as they tried to cross the Nepal-India border to return to their homeland.
Mr Poudel says at least 11 others were injured in the shooting at the Mechi bridge.

Indian officials blamed the gathering of 7,000 refugees trying to cross the border for provoking the police action.

More detail, please visit:

Labels: ,

Army deployed after deadly riots in India

The army has been deployed in India's Rajasthan state after 14 people were killed in violent clashes over the government's affirmative action plans.

Police fired on protesters from the nomadic Gujjar tribe who had blocked a key highway near Delhi on Tuesday.

At least two of those killed are believed to be policemen.

The BBC's Narayan Bareth in the state capital, Jaipur, says that there have been reports of protests by Gujjars spreading to other parts of the state.

In a separate incident, a mob cut off the hands of one policeman and the leg of another, according to Rajasthan interior minister Gulab Chand Kataria.

A Gujjar community leader, Avinash Badana, told India's state-run Doordarshan channel that the police had fired on "unarmed people".

The Gujjars are a large and politically-influential nomadic tribe spread across north India.

The issue of affirmative action is a sensitive one in India

They are demanding that they be categorised as an official tribe so that they may benefit from affirmative action quotas which will give them access to government jobs as well as places in state-supported schools and colleges.

The issue of affirmative action is a sensitive one in India, with many poor communities arguing that it is the only way millions of under-privileged people can benefit from India's economic boom.

But those opposed to it say it is a cynical move by politicians to gain more votes from politically influential communities who make up a large percentage of the country's population.

More detail can be found on BBC website.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Shanghai builds China's biggest container ship

Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of China Shipbuilding Group Corporation, built a container ship capable of carrying 8,530 20-foot containers, making China the fourth country in the world capable of creating such container ships after South Korea, Japan and Denmark.

With a loading capacity of 101,000 tons, the 334-meter-long ship only needs one helmsman and is equipped with four electricity generators.

It is one of the five 8,530-TEU-ships the company is building for China Shipping Container Lines Co. Ltd. The company will also build four such ships for Greek shipping company Costamare.

Source: Shanghai Daily:

Labels: , ,

Chinese ports' cargo handling capacity to reach 8 billion tonnes by 2010

Mumbai: The cargo handling capacity of China's ports is expected to reach eight billion tonnes and 170 million TEUs in 2010 amidst a trade boom and continued economic expansion.

The combined cargo handling capacity of China's ports totalled 5.6 billion tonnes and 93 million TEUs (twenty-foot container equivalent units) last year, the largest in the world for four consecutive years, the head of China Communication and Transportation Association, Qian Yongchang, said.

China had 12 ports with throughput capacities exceeding 100 million tonnes last year. Shanghai port handled 530 million tonnes of cargo last year, making it the busiest in the world.

China had been investing heavily in port construction as the national economy soars and foreign trade increases steadily. In 2006, more than 160 construction projects kicked off on China's seaports, involving 60 billion yuan, up 30 per cent year-on-year.

China's exports reached $252.1 billion, up 27.8 per cent, while imports were valued at $205.7 billion, up 18.2 per cent, figures from Chinese customs showed.

The priority of the investment in port construction would be on expanding capacity and improving comprehensive services, Mr Qian said.

China is expected to replace Germany as the world's second largest trader this year with $2.1 trillion in foreign trade and may overtake the US to become the world's largest trader by the end of the decade. China's foreign trade in the first three months totalled $457.7 billion, up 23.3 per cent year-on-year.


Labels: , ,

Monday, May 28, 2007

China's productivity growth leaves its neighbours gasping

Some multinationals are consciously adopting a “China plus one” strategy, siting a second plant in one of the ten countries of ASEAN, the Association of South-East Asian Nations, to hedge against things' going wrong in China.

The ASEAN countries and their 560m people should aim to be more than a backstop—if only because many investors may decide, sooner or later, they no longer need one.

Others are going to be more and more tempted by India as their “plus one”, given the recent acceleration in its growth rate and the size of its potential market.

A new report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) highlights one of South-East Asia’s biggest weaknesses: mediocre productivity growth.

In 2000 China’s workers were about 26% less productive than ASEAN’s. By 2005 the Chinese had become 5% more productive. The gap is set to widen: Chinese productivity has been growing at about 6.6% a year, more than double ASEAN’s 2.9%.

Indian workers are still some way behind—their productivity was 27% less than ASEAN workers’ in 2005. But they are catching up too. The ILO puts their recent productivity growth at 4.4%.

The ILO notes that China’s productivity boom has coincided with surging enrolments at its secondary schools and universities. Enrolments have grown in ASEAN too, but not as fast.

Another potential cause of South-East Asia’s mediocre productivity growth is its lack of innovation. According to Pichit Likitkijsomboon, an economist at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand spends only 0.25% of GDP on research and development each year, way behind the 1.23% that China spends. Save for Singapore, which has poured money into science and technology, ASEAN’s research spending is feeble. Even Malaysia, which fancies itself as a high-tech hub, spends only 0.69% of GDP, while in Indonesia it is a piffling 0.05%.

Full of the report can be reached from Economist.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 25, 2007

Behind Dalai Lama's holy cloak

Dalai Lama show is set to roll into Australia again next month and again Australian politicians are getting themselves in a twist as to whether they should meet him.

Rarely do journalists challenge the Dalai Lama.

Partly it is because he is so charming and engaging. Most published accounts of him breeze on as airily as the subject, for whom a good giggle and a quaint parable are substitutes for hard answers. But this is the man who advocates greater autonomy for millions of people who are currently Chinese citizens, presumably with him as head of their government. So, why not hold him accountable as a political figure?

No mere spiritual leader, he was the head of Tibet's government when he went into exile in 1959. It was a state apparatus run by aristocratic, nepotistic monks that collected taxes, jailed and tortured dissenters and engaged in all the usual political intrigues. (The Dalai Lama's own father was almost certainly murdered in 1946, the consequence of a coup plot.)

The government set up in exile in India and, at least until the 1970s, received $US1.7 million a year from the CIA.

The money was to pay for guerilla operations against the Chinese, notwithstanding the Dalai Lama's public stance in support of non-violence, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

The Dalai Lama himself was on the CIA's payroll from the late 1950s until 1974, reportedly receiving $US15,000 a month ($US180,000 a year).

The funds were paid to him personally, but he used all or most of them for Tibetan government-in-exile activities, principally to fund offices in New York and Geneva, and to lobby internationally.

Details of the government-in-exile's funding today are far from clear. Structurally, it comprises seven departments and several other special offices. There have also been charitable trusts, a publishing company, hotels in India and Nepal, and a handicrafts distribution company in the US and in Australia, all grouped under the government-in-exile's Department of Finance.

The government was involved in running 24 businesses in all, but decided in 2003 that it would withdraw from these because such commercial involvement was not appropriate.

Several years ago, I asked the Dalai Lama's Department of Finance for details of its budget. In response, it claimed then to have annual revenue of about $US22 million, which it spent on various health, education, religious and cultural programs.

The biggest item was for politically related expenditure, at $US7 million. The next biggest was administration, which ran to $US4.5 million. Almost $US2 million was allocated to running the government-in-exile's overseas offices.

For all that the government-in-exile claims to do, these sums seemed remarkably low.

It is not clear how donations enter its budgeting. These are likely to run to many millions annually, but the Dalai Lama's Department of Finance provided no explicit acknowledgment of them or of their sources.

Certainly, there are plenty of rumours among expatriate Tibetans of endemic corruption and misuse of monies collected in the name of the Dalai Lama.

Many donations are channelled through the New York-based Tibet Fund, set up in 1981 by Tibetan refugees and US citizens. It has grown into a multimillion-dollar organisation that disburses $US3 million each year to its various programs.

Part of its funding comes from the US State Department's Bureau for Refugee Programs.

Like many Asian politicians, the Dalai Lama has been remarkably nepotistic, appointing members of his family to many positions of prominence. In recent years, three of the six members of the Kashag, or cabinet, the highest executive branch of the Tibetan government-in-exile, have been close relatives of the Dalai Lama.

An older brother served as chairman of the Kashag and as the minister of security. He also headed the CIA-backed Tibetan contra movement in the 1960s.

A sister-in-law served as head of the government-in-exile's planning council and its Department of Health.

A younger sister served as health and education minister and her husband served as head of the government-in-exile's Department of Information and International Relations.

Their daughter was made a member of the Tibetan parliament in exile. A younger brother has served as a senior member of the private office of the Dalai Lama and his wife has served as education minister.

The second wife of a brother-in-law serves as the representative of the Tibetan government-in-exile for northern Europe and head of international relations for the government-in-exile. All these positions give the Dalai Lama's family access to millions of dollars collected on behalf of the government-in-exile.

The Dalai Lama might now be well-known but few really know much about him. For example, contrary to widespread belief, he is not a vegetarian. He eats meat. He has done so (he claims) on a doctor's advice following liver complications from hepatitis. I have checked with several doctors but none agrees that meat consumption is necessary or even desirable for a damaged liver.

What has the Dalai Lama actually achieved for Tibetans inside Tibet?

If his goal has been independence for Tibet or, more recently, greater autonomy, then he has been a miserable failure.

He has kept Tibet on the front pages around the world, but to what end? The main achievement seems to have been to become a celebrity. Possibly, had he stayed quiet, fewer Tibetans might have been tortured, killed and generally suppressed by China.

In any event, the current Dalai Lama is 72 years old. His successor — a reincarnation — will be appointed as a child and it will be many years before he plays a meaningful role. As far as China is concerned, that is one problem that will take care of itself, irrespective of whether or not John Howard or Kevin Rudd meet the current Dalai Lama.

The above artilce was written by Michael Backman. His website is
The article was published at

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Tibet Myth and Dalai Lama

The histories of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam are heavily laced with violence. Throughout the ages, religionists have claimed a divine mandate to massacre infidels, heretics, and even other devotees within their own ranks. Some people maintain that Buddhism is different, that it stands in marked contrast to the chronic violence of other religions. To be sure, for some practitioners in the West, Buddhism is more a spiritual and psychological discipline than a theology in the usual sense. It offers meditative techniques that are said to promote enlightenment and harmony within oneself. But like any other belief system, Buddhism must be judged not only by its teachings but by the secular behavior of its proponents.

Buddhist Exceptionalism?
A glance at history reveals that Buddhist organizations have not been free of the violent pursuits so characteristic of religious groups. In Tibet, from the early seventeenth century well into the eighteenth, competing Buddhist sects engaged in armed hostilities and summary executions.1 In the twentieth century, in Thailand, Burma, Korea, Japan, and elsewhere, Buddhists clashed with each other and with nonBuddhists. In Sri Lanka, armed battles in the name of Buddhism are part of Sinhalese history.2

Just a few years ago in South Korea, thousands of monks of the Chogye Buddhist order fought each other with fists, rocks, fire-bombs, and clubs, in pitched battles that went on for weeks. They were vying for control of the order, the largest in South Korea, with its annual budget of $9.2 million, its additional millions of dollars in property, and the privilege of appointing 1,700 monks to various duties. The brawls partly destroyed the main Buddhist sanctuaries and left dozens of monks injured, some seriously. The Korean public appeared to disdain both factions, feeling that no matter what side took control, “it would use worshippers’ donations for luxurious houses and expensive cars.”3

But what of the Dalai Lama and the Tibet he presided over before the Chinese crackdown in 1959? It is widely held by many devout Buddhists that Old Tibet was a spiritually oriented kingdom free from the egotistical lifestyles, empty materialism, and corrupting vices that beset modern industrialized society. Western news media, travel books, novels, and Hollywood films have portrayed the Tibetan theocracy as a veritable Shangri-La.

The Dalai Lama himself stated that “the pervasive influence of Buddhism” in Tibet, “amid the wide open spaces of an unspoiled environment resulted in a society dedicated to peace and harmony. We enjoyed freedom and contentment.”4 A reading of Tibet’s history suggests a different picture. In the thirteenth century, Emperor Kublai Khan created the first Grand Lama, who was to preside over all the other lamas as might a pope over his bishops. Several centuries later, the Emperor of China sent an army into Tibet to support the Grand Lama, an ambitious 25-year-old man, who then gave himself the title of Dalai (Ocean) Lama, ruler of all Tibet. Here is quite a historical irony: the first Dalai Lama was installed by a Chinese army. His two previous lama “incarnations” were then retroactively recognized as his predecessors, thereby transforming the first Dalai Lama into the third Dalai Lama.

To elevate his authority beyond worldly challenge, the first (a.k.a. third) Dalai Lama seized monasteries that did not belong to his sect, and is believed to have destroyed Buddhist writings that conflicted with his claim to divinity. The Dalai Lama who succeeded him pursued a sybaritic life, enjoying many mistresses, partying with friends, and acting in other ways deemed unfitting for an incarnate deity. For this he was done in by his priests. Within 170 years, despite their recognized status as gods, five Dalai Lamas were murdered by their high priests or other courtiers.

Bitter hostility between competing Buddhist sects continued over the centuries. In 1660, the fifth Dalai Lama was faced with a rebellion in Tsang province, the stronghold of the rival Kagyu sect with its high lama known as the Karmapa. The fifth Dalai Lama called for harsh retribution against the rebels, directing the Mongol army to obliterate the male and female lines, and the offspring too “like eggs smashed against rocks….In short, annihilate any traces of them, even their names.”

In 1792, many Kagyu monasteries were confiscated and their monks were forcibly converted to the Gelug sect (the Dalai Lama’s denomination). The Gelug school, known also as the “Yellow Hats,” showed little tolerance or willingness to mix their teachings with other Buddhist sects. In the words of one of their traditional prayers: “Praise to you, violent god of the Yellow Hat teachings/who reduces to particles of dust/ great beings, high officials and ordinary people/who pollute and corrupt the Gelug doctrine.” An eighteenth-century memoir of a Tibetan general depicts sectarian strife among Buddhists that is as brutal and bloody as any of the wars of other religions. This grim history remains largely unvisited by followers of Tibetan Buddhism in the West.5

Shangri-La (for Lords and Lamas)
Religions have had a close relationship not only with violence but with economic exploitation. Indeed, it is often the economic exploitation that necessitates the violence. Such was the case with the Tibetan theocracy. Until 1959, when the Dalai Lama last presided over Tibet, most of the arable land was still organized into manorial estates worked by serfs. Even a writer sympathetic to the old order allows that “a great deal of real estate belonged to the monasteries, and most of them amassed great riches.” Much of the wealth was accumulated “through active participation in trade, commerce, and money lending.”4 Drepung monastery was one of the biggest landowners in the world, with its 185 manors, 25,000 serfs, 300 great pastures, and 16,000 herdsmen. The wealth of the monasteries rested in the hands of small numbers of high-ranking lamas. Most ordinary monks lived modestly and had no direct access to great wealth. The Dalai Lama himself “lived richly in the 1000-room, 14-story Potala Palace,” and admits to having owned slaves during his reign.5

Secular leaders also did well. A notable example was the commander-in-chief of the Tibetan army, who owned 4,000 square kilometers of land and 3,500 serfs. He also was a member of the Dalai Lama’s lay Cabinet.7 Old Tibet has been misrepresented by some of its Western admirers as “a nation that required no police force because its people voluntarily observed the laws of karma.“8 In fact. it had a professional army, albeit a small one, that served as a gendarmerie for the landlords to keep order and hunt down runaway serfs.

Young Tibetan boys were regularly taken from their families and brought into the monasteries to be trained as monks. Once there, they became bonded for life. Tashì-Tsering, a monk, reports that it was common for peasant children to be sexually mistreated in the monasteries. He himself was a victim of repeated rape, beginning at age nine.9 The monastic estates also conscripted impoverished peasant children for lifelong servitude as domestics, dance performers, and soldiers.

In Old Tibet there were small numbers of farmers who subsisted as a kind of free peasantry, and perhaps an additional 10,000 people who composed the “middle-class” families of merchants, shopkeepers, and small traders. Thousands of others were beggars. A small minority were slaves, usually domestic servants, who owned nothing. Their offspring were born into slavery.10 The greater part of the rural population—some 700,000 of an estimated total of 1,250,000—were serfs. Serfs and other peasants generally were little better than slaves. They went without schooling or medical care. They spent most of their time laboring for high-ranking lamas or for the secular landed aristocracy. Their masters told them what crops to grow and what animals to raise. They could not get married without the consent of their lord or lama. And they might easily be separated from their families should their owners send them to work in a distant location.11

One 22-year old woman, herself a runaway serf, reports: “Pretty serf girls were usually taken by the owner as house servants and used as he wished.” They “were just slaves without rights.”12 Serfs needed permission to go anywhere. Landowners had legal authority to capture those who tried to flee. One 24-year old runaway welcomed the Chinese intervention as a “liberation.” He claimed that under serfdom he was subjected to incessant toil, hunger, and cold. After his third failed escape, he was merciless beaten by the landlord's men until blood poured from his nose and mouth. They then poured alcohol and caustic soda on his wounds to increase the pain.13

The serfs were under a lifetime bond to work the lord’s land—or the monastery’s land—without pay, to repair the lord's houses, transport his crops, and collect his firewood. They were also expected to provide carrying animals and transportation on demand.14 They were taxed upon getting married, taxed for the birth of each child, and for every death in the family. They were taxed for planting a tree in their yard and for keeping animals. There were taxes for religious festivals, for singing, dancing, drumming, and bell ringing. People were taxed for being sent to prison and upon being released. Those who could not find work were taxed for being unemployed, and if they traveled to another village in search of work, they paid a passage tax. When people could not pay, the monasteries lent them money at 20 to 50 percent interest. Some debts were handed down from father to son to grandson. Debtors who could not meet their obligations risked being placed into slavery sometimes for the rest of their lives.15

The theocracy’s religious teachings buttressed its class order. The poor and afflicted were taught that they had brought their troubles upon themselves because of their wicked ways in previous lives. Hence they had to accept the misery of their present existence as a karmic atonement and in anticipation that their lot would improve upon being reborn. The rich and powerful of course treated their good fortune as a reward for, and tangible evidence of, virtue in past and present lives.

Torture and Mutilation
In the Dalai Lama’s Tibet, torture and mutilation—including eye gouging, the pulling out of tongues, hamstringing, and amputation—were favored punishments inflicted upon runaway serfs and thieves. Journeying through Tibet in the 1960s, Stuart and Roma Gelder interviewed a former serf, Tsereh Wang Tuei, who had stolen two sheep belonging to a monastery. For this he had both his eyes gouged out and his hand mutilated beyond use. He explains that he no longer is a Buddhist: “When a holy lama told them to blind me I thought there was no good in religion.”16 Since it was against Buddhist teachings to take human life, some offenders were severely lashed and then “left to God” in the freezing night to die. “The parallels between Tibet and medieval Europe are striking,” concludes Tom Grunfeld in his book on Tibet.17

In 1959, Anna Louise Strong visited an exhibition of torture equipment that had been used by the Tibetan overlords. There were handcuffs of all sizes, including small ones for children, and instruments for cutting off noses and ears, gouging out eyes, and breaking off hands. There were instruments for slicing off kneecaps and heels, or hamstringing legs. There were hot brands, whips, and special implements for disemboweling.18

The exhibition presented photographs and testimonies of victims who had been blinded or crippled or suffered amputations for thievery. There was the shepherd whose master owed him a reimbursement in yuan and wheat but refused to pay. So he took one of the master's cows; for this he had his hands severed. Another herdsman, who opposed having his wife taken from him by his lord, had his hands broken off. There were pictures of Communist activists with noses and upper lips cut off, and a woman who was raped and then had her nose sliced away.19

Early visitors to Tibet comment about the theocratic despotism. In 1895, an Englishman, Dr. A. L. Waddell, wrote that the populace was under the “intolerable tyranny of monks” and the devil superstitions they had fashioned to terrorize the people. In 1904 Perceval Landon described the Dalai Lama’s rule as “an engine of oppression.” At about that time, another English traveler, Captain W.F.T. O’Connor, observed that “the great landowners and the priests . . . exercise each in their own dominion a despotic power from which there is no appeal,“ while the people are “oppressed by the most monstrous growth of monasticism and priest-craft.” Tibetan rulers “invented degrading legends and stimulated a spirit of superstition” among the common people. In 1937, another visitor, Spencer Chapman, wrote, “The Lamaist monk does not spend his time in ministering to the people or educating them….The beggar beside the road is nothing to the monk. Knowledge is the jealously guarded prerogative of the monasteries and is used to increase their influence and wealth.”20

Occupation and Revolt
The Chinese Communists occupied Tibet in 1951, claiming suzerainty over that country. The 1951 treaty provided for ostensible self-government under the Dalai Lama’s rule but gave China military control and exclusive right to conduct foreign relations. The Chinese were also granted a direct role in internal administration “to promote social reforms.” At first, they moved slowly, relying mostly on persuasion in an attempt to effect change. Among the earliest reforms they wrought was to reduce usurious interest rates, and build a few hospitals and roads. “Contrary to popular belief in the West,” writes one observer, the Chinese “took care to show respect for Tibetan culture and religion.” No aristocratic or monastic property was confiscated, and feudal lords continued to reign over their hereditarily bound peasants.21

The Tibetan lords and lamas had seen Chinese come and go over the centuries and had enjoyed good relations with Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek and his reactionary Kuomintang rule in China.22 The approval of the Kuomintang government was needed to validate the choice of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama. When the young Dalai Lama was installed in Lhasa, it was with an armed escort of Chinese troops and an attending Chinese minister, in accordance with centuries-old tradition. What upset the Tibetan lords and lamas was that these latest Chinese were Communists. It would be only a matter of time, they feared, before the Communists started imposing their collectivist egalitarian solutions upon Tibet.

In 1956-57, armed Tibetan bands ambushed convoys of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA). The uprising received extensive assistance from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), including military training, support camps in Nepal, and numerous airlifts.23 Meanwhile in the United States, the American Society for a Free Asia, a CIA front, energetically publicized the cause of Tibetan resistance, with the Dalai Lama's eldest brother, Thubtan Norbu, playing an active role in that group. The Dalai Lama's second-eldest brother, Gyalo Thondup, established an intelligence operation with the CIA in 1951. He later upgraded it into a CIA-trained guerrilla unit whose recruits parachuted back into Tibet.24

Many Tibetan commandos and agents whom the CIA dropped into the country were chiefs of aristocratic clans or the sons of chiefs. Ninety percent of them were never heard from again, according to a report from the CIA itself, meaning they were most likely captured and killed.25 “Many lamas and lay members of the elite and much of the Tibetan army joined the uprising, but in the main the populace did not, assuring its failure,“ writes Hugh Deane.26 In their book on Tibet, Ginsburg and Mathos reach a similar conclusion: “As far as can be ascertained, the great bulk of the common people of Lhasa and of the adjoining countryside failed to join in the fighting against the Chinese both when it first began and as it progressed.“27 Eventually the resistance crumbled.

Enter the Communists
Whatever wrongs and new oppressions introduced by the Chinese in Tibet, after 1959 they did abolish slavery and the serfdom system of unpaid labor, and put an end to floggings, mutilations, and amputations as a form of criminal punishment. They eliminated the many crushing taxes, started work projects, and greatly reduced unemployment and beggary. They established secular education, thereby breaking the educational monopoly of the monasteries. And they constructed running water and electrical systems in Lhasa.28

Heinrich Harrer (later revealed to have been a sergeant in Hitler’s SS) wrote a bestseller about his experiences in Tibet that was made into a popular Hollywood movie. He reported that the Tibetans who resisted the Chinese “were predominantly nobles, semi-nobles and lamas; they were punished by being made to perform the lowliest tasks, such as laboring on roads and bridges. They were further humiliated by being made to clean up the city before the tourists arrived.” They also had to live in a camp originally reserved for beggars and vagrants.29

By 1961, the Chinese expropriated the landed estates owned by lords and lamas, and reorganized the peasants into hundreds of communes. They distributed hundreds of thousands of acres to tenant farmers and landless peasants. Herds once owned by nobility were turned over to collectives of poor shepherds. Improvements were made in the breeding of livestock, and new varieties of vegetables and new strains of wheat and barley were introduced, along with irrigation improvements, all of which reportedly led to an increase in agrarian production.30

Many peasants remained as religious as ever, giving alms to the clergy. But the many monks who had been conscripted into the religious orders as children were now free to renounce the monastic life, and thousands did, especially the younger ones. The remaining clergy lived on modest government stipends, and extra income earned by officiating at prayer services, weddings, and funerals.31

Both the Dalai Lama and his advisor and youngest brother, Tendzin Choegyal, claimed that “more than 1.2 million Tibetans are dead as a result of the Chinese occupation.”32 But the official 1953 census—six years before the Chinese crackdown—recorded the entire population residing in Tibet at 1,274,000.33 Other census counts put the ethnic Tibetan population within the country at about two million. If the Chinese killed 1.2 million in the early 1960s then whole cities and huge portions of the countryside, indeed almost all of Tibet, would have been depopulated, transformed into a killing field dotted with death camps and mass graves—of which we have not seen evidence. The thinly distributed Chinese military force in Tibet was not big enough to round up, hunt down, and exterminate that many people even if it had spent all its time doing nothing else.

Chinese authorities do admit to “mistakes,” particularly during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution when religious persecution reached a high tide in both China and Tibet. After the uprising in the late 1950s, thousands of Tibetans were incarcerated. During the Great Leap Forward, forced collectivization and grain farming was imposed on the peasantry, sometimes with disastrous effect. In the late 1970s, China began relaxing controls over Tibet “and tried to undo some of the damage wrought during the previous two decades.”34

In 1980, the Chinese government initiated reforms reportedly designed to grant Tibet a greater degree of self-rule and self-administration. Tibetans would now be allowed to cultivate private plots, sell their harvest surpluses, decide for themselves what crops to grow, and keep yaks and sheep. Communication with the outside world was again permitted, and frontier controls were eased to permit Tibetans to visit exiled relatives in India and Nepal.35

In the 1990s, the Han, the ethnic group comprising over 95 percent of China’s immense population, began moving in substantial numbers into Tibet and various western provinces. On the streets of Lhasa and Shigatse, signs of Han preeminence are readily visible. Chinese run the factories and many of the shops and vending stalls. Tall office buildings and large shopping centers have been built with funds that might have been better spent on water treatment plants and housing. Chinese cadres in Tibet too often view their Tibetan neighbors as backward and lazy, in need of economic development and “patriotic education.” During the 1990s Tibetan government employees suspected of harboring nationalist sympathies were purged from office, and campaigns were launched to discredit the Dalai Lama. Individual Tibetans reportedly were subjected to arrest, imprisonment, and forced labor for carrying out separatist activities and engaging in political “subversion.” Some arrestees were held in administrative detention without adequate food, water, and blankets, subjected to threats, beatings, and other mistreatment.36

Chinese family planning regulations allow a three-child limit for Tibetan families. (For years there was a one-child limit for Han families.) If a couple goes over the limit, the excess children can be denied subsidized daycare, health care, housing, and education. These penalties have been enforced irregularly and vary by district. Meanwhile, Tibetan history, culture, and religion are slighted in schools. Teaching materials, though translated into Tibetan, focus on Chinese history and culture.37

Elites, Émigrés, and the CIA
For the rich lamas and lords, the Communist intervention was a calamity. Most of them fled abroad, as did the Dalai Lama himself, who was assisted in his flight by the CIA. Some discovered to their horror that they would have to work for a living. However, throughout the 1960s, the Tibetan exile community was secretly pocketing $1.7 million a year from the CIA, according to documents released by the State Department in 1998. Once this fact was publicized, the Dalai Lama’s organization itself issued a statement admitting that it had received millions of dollars from the CIA during the 1960s to send armed squads of exiles into Tibet to undermine the Maoist revolution. The Dalai Lama’s annual payment from the CIA was $186,000. Indian intelligence also financed both him and other Tibetan exiles. He has refused to say whether he or his brothers worked for the CIA. The agency has also declined to comment.38

In 1995, the News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina, carried a frontpage color photograph of the Dalai Lama being embraced by the reactionary Republican senator Jesse Helms, under the headline “Buddhist Captivates Hero of Religious Right.”39 In April 1999, along with Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, and the first George Bush, the Dalai Lama called upon the British government to release Augusto Pinochet, the former fascist dictator of Chile and a longtime CIA client who had been apprehended while visiting England. The Dalai Lama urged that Pinochet not be forced to go to Spain where he was wanted to stand trial for crimes against humanity.

Today, mostly through the National Endowment for Democracy and other conduits that are more respectable-sounding than the CIA, the US Congress continues to allocate an annual $2 million to Tibetans in India, with additional millions for “democracy activities” within the Tibetan exile community. The Dalai Lama also gets money from financier George Soros, who now runs the CIA-created Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and other institutes.40

The Question of Culture
We are told that when the Dalai Lama ruled Tibet, the people lived in contented and tranquil symbiosis with their monastic and secular lords, in a social order sustained by a deeply spiritual, nonviolent culture, inspired by humane and pacific religious teachings. The Tibetan religious culture was the social glue and comforting balm that kept rich lama and poor peasant spiritually bonded together, to maintain those proselytes who embrace Old Tibet as a cultural purity, a Shangri-La.

One is reminded of the idealized imagery of feudal Europe presented by latter-day conservative Catholics such as G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. For them, medieval Christendom was a world of contented peasants living in a deep spiritual bond with their Church, under the protection of their lords.41 Again we are invited to accept a particular culture on its own terms, which means accepting it as presented by its favored class, by those at the top who profited most from it. The Shangri-La image of Tibet bears no more resemblance to historic reality than does the romanticized image of medieval Europe.

When seen in all its grim realities, Old Tibet confirms the view expressed earlier in this book that culture is anything but neutral. Culture can operate as a legitimating cover for a host of grave injustices, benefiting some portion of a society’s population at great cost to other segments. In theocratic Tibet, ruling interests manipulated the traditional culture to fortify their wealth and power. The theocracy equated rebellious thought and action with satanic influence. It propagated the general presumption of landlord superiority and peasant unworthiness. The rich were represented as deserving their good life, and the poor as deserving their mean lowly existence, all codified in teachings about the karmic residues of virtues and vices accumulated from past lives, all presented as part of God's will.

It might be said that we denizens of the modern secular world cannot grasp the equations of happiness and pain, contentment and custom, that characterize more traditionally spiritual societies. This is probably true, and it may explain why some of us idealize such societies. But still, a gouged eye is a gouged eye; a flogging is a flogging; and the grinding exploitation of serfs and slaves is a brutal class injustice whatever its cultural wrapping. There is a difference between a spiritual bond and human bondage, even when both exist side by side

Many ordinary Tibetans want the Dalai Lama back in their country, but it appears that relatively few want a return to the social order he represented. A 1999 story in the Washington Post notes that he continues to be revered in Tibet, but

few Tibetans would welcome a return of the corrupt aristocratic clans that fled with him in 1959 and that comprise the bulk of his advisers. Many Tibetan farmers, for example, have no interest in surrendering the land they gained during China's land reform to the clans. Tibet's former slaves say they, too, don't want their former masters to return to power.
“I've already lived that life once before,” said Wangchuk, a 67-year-old former slave who was wearing his best clothes for his yearly pilgrimage to Shigatse, one of the holiest sites of Tibetan Buddhism. He said he worshipped the Dalai Lama, but added, “I may not be free under Chinese communism, but I am better off than when I was a slave.”

Kim Lewis, who studied healing methods with a Buddhist monk in Berkeley, California, had occasion to talk at length with more than a dozen Tibetan women who lived in the monk’s building. When she asked how they felt about returning to their homeland, the sentiment was unanimously negative. At first, Lewis thought their reluctance had to do with the Chinese occupation, but they quickly informed her otherwise. They said they were extremely grateful “not to have to marry 4 or 5 men, be pregnant almost all the time,” or deal with sexually transmitted diseases contacted from a straying husband. The younger women “were delighted to be getting an education, wanted absolutely nothing to do with any religion, and wondered why Americans were so naive.” They recounted stories of their grandmothers’ ordeals with monks who used them as “wisdom consorts,” telling them “how much merit they were gaining by providing the ‘means to enlightenment’— after all, the Buddha had to be with a woman to reach enlightenment.”

The women interviewed by Lewis spoke bitterly about the monastery’s confiscation of their young boys in Tibet. When a boy cried for his mother, he would be told “Why do you cry for her, she gave you up - she’s just a woman.” Among the other issues was “the rampant homosexuality in the Gelugpa sect. All was not well in Shangri-la,” Lewis opines.43

The monks who were granted political asylum in California applied for Social Security. Lewis, herself a devotee for a time, assisted with the paperwork. She observes that they continue to receive Social Security checks amounting to $550 to $700 per month along with Medicare and MediCal. In addition, the monks reside rent free in nicely furnished apartments. “They pay no utilities, have free access to the Internet on computers provided for them, along with fax machines, free cell and home phones and cable TV.” In addition, they receive a monthly payment from their order. And the dharma center takes up a special collection from its members (all Americans), separate from membership dues. Some members eagerly carry out chores for the monks, including grocery shopping and cleaning their apartments and toilets. These same holy men “have no problem criticizing Americans for their ‘obsession with material things.”44

To support the Chinese overthrow of the old feudal theocracy is not to applaud everything about Chinese rule in Tibet. This point is seldom understood by today’s Shangri-La adherents in the West.

The converse is also true. To denounce the Chinese occupation does not mean we have to romanticize the former feudal régime. One common complaint among Buddhist followers in the West is that Tibet’s religious culture is being undermined by the occupation. Indeed this seems to be the case. Many of the monasteries are closed, and the theocracy has passed into history. What I am questioning here is the supposedly admirable and pristinely spiritual nature of that pre-invasion culture. In short, we can advocate religious freedom and independence for Tibet without having to embrace the mythology of a Paradise Lost.

Finally, it should be noted that the criticism posed herein is not intended as a personal attack on the Dalai Lama. Whatever his past associations with the CIA and various reactionaries, he speaks often of peace, love, and nonviolence. And he himself really cannot be blamed for the abuses of the ancien régime, having been but 15 years old when he fled into exile. In 1994, in an interview with Melvyn Goldstein, he went on record as favoring since his youth the building of schools, “machines,” and roads in his country. He claims that he thought the corvée (forced unpaid serf labor for the lord’s benefit) and certain taxes imposed on the peasants were “extremely bad.” And he disliked the way people were saddled with old debts sometimes passed down from generation to generation.45 Furthermore, he now proposes democracy for Tibet, featuring a written constitution, a representative assembly, and other democratic essentials.46

In 1996, the Dalai Lama issued a statement that must have had an unsettling effect on the exile community. It reads in part as follows:

Of all the modern economic theories, the economic system of Marxism is founded on moral principles, while capitalism is concerned only with gain and profitability. Marxism is concerned with the distribution of wealth on an equal basis and the equitable utilization of the means of production. It is also concerned with the fate of the working classes-that is the majority—as well as with the fate of those who are underprivileged and in need, and Marxism cares about the victims of minority-imposed exploitation. For those reasons the system appeals to me, and it seems fair… I think of myself as half-Marxist, half-Buddhist.47

And more recently in 2001, while visiting California, he remarked that “Tibet, materially, is very, very backward. Spiritually it is quite rich. But spirituality can’t fill our stomachs.”48 Here is a message that should be heeded by the well-fed Buddhist proselytes in the West who wax nostalgic for Old Tibet.

What I have tried to challenge is the Tibet myth, the Paradise Lost image of a social order that actually was a retrograde theocracy of serfdom and poverty, where a favored few lived high and mighty off the blood, sweat, and tears of the many. It was a long way from Shangri-La.


Melvyn C. Goldstein, The Snow Lion and the Dragon: China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 6-16.
Mark Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 113.
Kyong-Hwa Seok, “Korean Monk Gangs Battle for Temple Turf,” San Francisco Examiner, December 3, 1998.
Dalai Lama quoted in Donald Lopez Jr., Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West (Chicago and London: Chicago University Press, 1998), 205.
Stuart Gelder and Roma Gelder, The Timely Rain: Travels in New Tibet (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1964), 119, 123.
Pradyumna P. Karan, The Changing Face of Tibet: The Impact of Chinese Communist Ideology on the Landscape (Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 1976), 64.
Gelder and Gelder, The Timely Rain, 62 and 174.
As skeptically noted by Lopez, Prisoners of Shangri-La, 9.
Melvyn Goldstein, William Siebenschuh, and Tashì-Tsering, The Struggle for Modern Tibet: The Autobiography of Tashì-Tsering (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1997).
Gelder and Gelder, The Timely Rain, 110.
Anna Louise Strong, Tibetan Interviews (Peking: New World Press, 1929), 15, 19-21, 24.
Quoted in Strong, Tibetan Interviews, 25.
Strong, Tibetan Interviews, 31.
Melvyn C. Goldstein, A History of Modern Tibet 1913-1951 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 5.
Gelder and Gelder, The Timely Rain, 175-176; and Strong, Tibetan Interviews, 25-26.
Gelder and Gelder, The Timely Rain, 113.
A. Tom Grunfeld, The Making of Modern Tibet rev. ed. (Armonk, N.Y. and London: 1996), 9 and 7-33 for a general discussion of feudal Tibet; see also Felix Greene, A Curtain of Ignorance (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1961), 241-249; Goldstein, A History of Modern Tibet 1913-1951, 3-5; and Lopez, Prisoners of Shangri-La, passim.
Strong, Tibetan Interviews, 91-92.
Strong, Tibetan Interviews, 92-96.
Waddell, Landon, and O'Connor are quoted in Gelder and Gelder, The Timely Rain, 123-125.
Goldstein, The Snow Lion and the Dragon, 52.
Heinrich Harrer, Return to Tibet (New York: Schocken, 1985), 29.
See Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison, The CIA's Secret War in Tibet (Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press, 2002); and William Leary, “Secret Mission to Tibet,“ Air & Space, December 1997/January 1998.
On the CIA's links to the Dalai Lama and his family and entourage, see Loren Coleman, Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti (London: Faber and Faber, 1989).
Leary, “Secret Mission to Tibet.” ;
Hugh Deane, “The Cold War in Tibet,” CovertAction Quarterly (Winter 1987).
George Ginsburg and Michael Mathos, Communist China and Tibet (1964), quoted in Deane, “The Cold War in Tibet.“ Deane notes that author Bina Roy reached a similar conclusion.
See Greene, A Curtain of Ignorance, 248 and passim; and Grunfeld, The Making of Modern Tibet, passim.
Harrer, Return to Tibet, 54.
Karan, The Changing Face of Tibet, 36-38, 41, 57-58; London Times, 4 July 1966.
Gelder and Gelder, The Timely Rain, 29 and 47-48.
Tendzin Choegyal, “The Truth about Tibet,“ Imprimis (publication of Hillsdale College, Michigan), April 1999.
Karan, The Changing Face of Tibet, 52-53.
Elaine Kurtenbach, Associate Press report, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 February 1998.
Goldstein, The Snow Lion and the Dragon, 47-48.
Report by the International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet, A Generation in Peril (Berkeley Calif.: 2001), passim.
International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet, A Generation in Peril, 66-68, 98.
Jim Mann, “CIA Gave Aid to Tibetan Exiles in '60s, Files Show,“ Los Angeles Times, 15 September 1998; and New York Times, 1 October, 1998; and Morrison, The CIA's Secret War in Tibet.
News & Observer, 6 September 1995, cited in Lopez, Prisoners of Shangri-La, 3.
Heather Cottin, “George Soros, Imperial Wizard,“ CovertAction Quarterly no. 74 (Fall 2002).
The Gelders draw this comparison, The Timely Rain, 64.
John Pomfret, “Tibet Caught in China's Web,“ Washington Post, 23 July 1999.
Kim Lewis, correspondence to me, 15 July 2004.
Kim Lewis, additional correspondence to me, 16 July 2004.
Goldstein, The Snow Lion and the Dragon, 51.
Tendzin Choegyal, “The Truth about Tibet.“
The Dalai Lama in Marianne Dresser (ed.), Beyond Dogma: Dialogues and Discourses (Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic
Books, 1996).
Quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, 17 May 2001.

Here is a video from the contents above. I know many westerners will refuse to acknowledge these simple and straight forward facts.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Killings return to haunt Indian security forces

NEW DELHI - Hundreds if not thousands of extra judicial killings are coming back to haunt Indian security forces who are facing a wave of public revulsion and demands for justice.

Years of apathy over human rights reports of the murder of innocent people by police, paramilitary and army appear to be ending as the scale of the killings emerges.

Today security forces are under fire from families, rights groups and the media to account for the missing and dead across the country from Punjab to Assam, Kashmir to Manipur and Chhattisgarh to Gujarat.

However, Human Rights Watch South Asia researcher Meenakshi Ganguly is far from certain the killings can be halted soon.

“There is a sense of outrage,” she said.

But “we are not hearing enough outrage in New Delhi, in government.”

While newspapers report new cases almost daily, the rights groups are waiting for the first prosecutions to succeed.

HRW says extrajudicial killings are common and wants to see real political will to tackle the issue, the police empowered and politicians held to account.

Ganguly notes one of the most notorious killings in which troops shot dead five Kashmiri villagers in 2000 and passed them off as Islamic militants is still languishing in court.

Some 3,000 people are still listed as officially missing in Punjab after a Sikh militant campaign for a homeland which erupted in 1982 was put down with the loss of 50,000 lives.

“It ended in the 1990s but we are now in 2007,” said Ganguly. ”The state does not want to acknowledge what has happened.”

At least three Sikh separatists purportedly killed by officers appeared in the media as back from the dead. Police officers reportedly claimed a 2.5 million rupee (55,555 dollar) bounty offered by the state.

That also raised the question of who was killed in their place. The Punjab Human Rights Group claims more than 300 innocent men were shot dead as “terrorists” during the campaign.

The officer credited with putting down the uprising, K.P.S. Gill, insists no “fake encounters” took place with his knowledge. But he said India needs to devise a “system to combat terrorism and organised crime” and a strong criminal justice system where justice is meted out swiftly.

In Kashmir, the government lists more than 20,000 rebels killed in the insurgency against Indian rule.

“How many were terrorists, how many were really civilians, killed in fake encounters, how many were innocent?” asked Ganguly. ”We just don’t know.”

But suspicions are strong.

Police are investigating at least four other cases in which security forces allegedly killed innocent civilians and pretended they were militants in return for rewards and promotions.

A demand for information on the whereabouts of thousands of missing people in the Himalayan outpost gained momentum after authorities exhumed the bodies of the five missing people in February.

Indian rights groups say up to 10,000 Kashmiri Muslims have disappeared -- most of them after being detained by security forces -- since the insurgency against New Delhi’s rule began in 1989.

Government figures put the number of missing at between 1,000 and 3,900 in a revolt that has claimed more than 42,000 lives while separatists put the figure as high as 100,000 dead.

In western Gujarat state, three policemen and three senior officials have been arrested for their alleged role in the murder of a Muslim couple.

The April-May arrests came after the Gujarat government admitted in court that a man falsely accused of plotting to murder the state’s chief minister had been killed in a fake gunbattle.

The government later told the court that Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s wife had also been killed and her body burned to destroy evidence.

In Mumbai, five elite policemen dubbed “encounter specialists” killed more than 350 alleged gangsters over 10 years in a bid to clean up the streets of India’s financial and entertainment capital.

Former Mumbai police chief Julio Ribeiro justified shoot-on-sight policies, saying the public supported extrajudicial killings.

“There is public support for these kind of measures because the middle classes feel threatened by the criminals,” Ribeiro told The Hindustan Times, which is running a campaign headlined “Killers in Uniform”.

“The judicial system is flawed and often people have little faith in getting justice through legitimate means.”

“Even Amnesty International has commented that there is public approval for extrajudicial killings in India,” he added.

Profiles of eight “encounter specialists” -- or police with a licence to kill -- appears in the latest edition of Outlook magazine alongside their kill tallies. Three boasted 100 killings or more.

“Are our encounter specialists super-cops or ruthless killers?” the weekly asked, describing the men as “a law unto themselves”.


Labels: , ,

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Separatists kill 6 labourers in India's Assam state

Separatist rebels killed six immigrant labourers in coordinated strikes on Tuesday in northeast India's restive Assam state, police said.

Guerrillas from the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) gunned down five people near Dibrugarh and another group killed a worker in the nearby town of Sivasagar, both in eastern parts of the state.

In January, ULFA rebels killed 55 people, mostly labourers from Bihar.

Tuesday's attacks came a day after five people were killed on Sunday in ethnic clashes in eastern Assam.

Two people were killed on Monday in a bomb blast set off by the rebels at a market in Guwahati.

More than 20 000 people have been killed since the insurgency began in Assam in 1979.

The ULFA accuses New Delhi of plundering the state's mineral and forest resources, neglecting welfare of the local people and flooding the area with outsiders.


Labels: , ,

Bombing killed Muslims, Police Fired on Muslims and India government suspects Muslims

Big joke in India.

The bomb, hidden under a bench in the mosque's courtyard, exploded during prayers Friday, killing 11 people.

During clashes that erupted between security officials and Muslim protesters after the blast, police opened fire on stone-throwing crowds, killing five.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Indian media reported that intelligence agencies were looking at a possible link to Islamic militant groups based in predominantly Muslim neighbouring Pakistan, India's longtime rival.

None of the reports offered any reasons why investigators would suspect Muslim groups in an attack on a mosque, but the militants are routinely blamed even when Muslims are targeted.

Such accusations stoke resentment among Muslims, who account for about 130 million of India's 1.1 billion people, about 80 per cent of whom are Hindu.


Labels: , , ,

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hundreds in Hong Kong complain Bible too sexual in apparent protest of obscenity ruling

HONG KONG: More than 1,700 people have complained to Hong Kong regulators that the Bible is overly sexual and violent, apparently to mock a recent ruling condemning a sex survey in a student newspaper.

The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority said Thursday it had received 1,766 complaints since the launch of an anonymous Web site detailing sexual and violent content in the Bible.

The site and the deluge of complaints were sparked by last week's decision by regulatory authorities to classify a university student journal as "indecent."

"Student Press," published by students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, was condemned by the Obscene Articles Tribunal for including a sex survey that asked readers whether they had fantasized about incest and bestiality.

The anonymous Web site — which claims to be authored by "a Hong Kong student" — says the holy book contains passages far more disturbing than the sex survey.

Today in Asia - Pacific

Trains make historic border crossing between Koreas

UN aide credits China with pressing Sudan to accept peacekeeping force

Hong Kong lawmaker's comment on Tiananmen outrages victims' survivors

The Chinese-language Web site quotes lengthy Biblical passages containing scenes of rape, incest and cannibalism. It also includes a sample of a complaint letter, which it encourages readers to copy and submit to authorities.

"The Bible not only has incest, its obscenity far exceeds the university journal," the Web site said, after referencing last weeks regulatory decision.

The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority referred the journal to the obscenity tribunal last week, after receiving more than 20 complaints. The authority said Thursday that a total of 184 complaints were lodged against the paper.

Editors at the student journal insisted they did nothing wrong. They also staged protests, saying the "indecent" label violated academic freedom.

Publications deemed "indecent" must be sealed in a wrapper with a warning, and people who publish or distribute such items without doing so may be fined up to HK$400,000 (US$51,152; €37,795) and jailed for one year.

The Bible should also be "wrapped in a plastic bag with a warning notice before it is sold to people over 18 years old," the anonymous Web site said.

So far no major Christian groups have publicly responded to the complaints against the Bible.

Hong Kong's Christian community, largely Protestant and Roman Catholic, is estimated at about 660,000, including 105,000 Filipino Catholics, many of whom work as domestic helpers in this wealthy city.


Web site alleging Bible is obscene: This is web in traditional Chinese.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, May 13, 2007

26 of 29 Crashed Fighters Had Been Touched by Indian HAL

In a damning indictment of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), parliament was informed Wednesday that 26 of the 29 combat aircraft that crashed in the past three years had been manufactured, overhauled or upgraded by the company.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) operated all the 26 aircraft, which had 40-50 percent of their operational life left when they crashed, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

The other three aircraft belonged to the Indian Navy, which has its own repair and maintenance facilities independent of HAL.

Giving details, Antony said the IAF had lost eight MiG-21s, six Jaguars, four MiG-27s, four Mirages, three MiG-29s, and one Bison - an upgraded version of the MiG-21 during 2004-05 and 2006-07.

The Indian Navy lost three Sea Harriers during this period.

During 1992-2004, Antony said, HAL had manufactured two MiG-21s and overhauled eight, of which eight had crashed. In addition, the company had overhauled a Bison and upgraded another, of which one crashed.

In the case of the Jaguars, the company had manufactured three and overhauled five, of which six crashed.

In the case of the Mirages, HAL had overhauled four, all of which had crashed.

In the case of the MiG-27, HAL had manufactured three and overhauled a similar number, of which four crashed.

As for the MiG-29, HAL had overhauled three, all of which crashed.

Of the 29 crashes, 13 had occurred in 2004-05, and eight each in the subsequent two years.

Sorry for India's quality.


Labels: , ,

Monday, May 07, 2007

China reports its largest oil find in four decades

A huge PetroChina (0857) discovery in Bohai Bay has increased the nation's oil reserves by one fifth, pushed China past Libya to ninth in the world's oil reserve rankings and significantly boosted the oil giant's share price and analysts' outlook.
The surging share price pushed PetroChina to overtake BP to become the world's third-largest oil company by market capitalization, after ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell.

But even though Premier Wen Jiabao called the find "the most encouraging discovery in over 40 years" - giving him a "sleepless night" - the high cost of development and the speed that oil can be obtained from the field are a concern.


Other sources said that the discovery boasted China's oil reserves by 7.35 billion barrels or one billion tons.

Labels: , ,

Free Broadband and US$10 Laptop Promises from India Officials

Recently, there are two promises from the mouth of India officials.

Free broadband by 2009
The government proposes to offer all citizens of India 2Mbps high-speed broadband connectivity by 2009, through the state-owned telecom service providers BSNL and MTNL.

US$10 laptop
Don't think it is wrong. It is US$10 per laptop and it was a promise from India officials.

Labels: ,