Thursday, October 12, 2006

chinese soldiers fire, tibetans fall

Apparently, my karma to learn about was due to ripen one way or the other. I still thank my friend Christine for first directing me to it, but a few hours after being introduced to this video service, I received an email with a link to this disturbing, though not surprising video footage of Chinese soldiers picking off Tibetan refugees in the Himalayas.

Without warning, and from a safe distance on a nearby ridge, Chinese soldiers take pot shots at Tibetans filing across an exposed stretch of snow. They hit two, the refugees continue trudging forward looking to pass the summit and find cover, perhaps too stunned and exhausted from the altitude and the physical exertion of crossing the Himalayas on foot to even break into a full run. As one utterly terrified Tibetan hides in the toilet of the Western climbers who shot the footage, the Chinese soldiers relax in the camp, smoking cigarettes, as if they have simply completed a little target practice.

In the ongoing disregard for life and truth that is a hallmark of totalitarian regimes everywhere, the Chinese government-controlled news agency later says the soliders had been 'forced to defend themselves' when they were attacked by refugees. Had this footage not emerged, it is highly unlikely the Chinese authorities would have bothered to make public mention of the incident at all. As long as the Chinese marketplace continues to beckon Western corporations, it is unlikely any other authorities will say much of anything at all.

In a clear sign of the desperation of the situation in Tibet, among the 20 prisoners the soldiers captured after killing two were seven children. No one fleeing for reasons of economic opportunity or political conscience exposes their children in this way to the elements - and to Chinese brutality, unless things are even worse at home.

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