The talk Tibet unrest chatter is escalating here at the School in China here in Hangzhou. Today’s morning newspaper reading class was more active than normal as we briefly touched on the Tibetan issue before moving on to our topic of the day: Taiwan. Our teacher kept stressing the vocabulary of the day: One China. One student brought the issue out in the open immediately from the beginning of class, calling Taiwan a country. The teacher immediately retorted that Taiwan was a special administrative region of China. According to our teacher, the issue was black and white: either Taiwan unacceptably declared independence or it was one with China. There is no in between. Our teacher said to me, Taiwan cannot declare independence because if they go, a lot of other ethnic groups will want to declare independence too. Ah yes, the Domino Theory.
Meanwhile, it’s becoming harder and harder to get information about the Tibet situation with websites being heavily filtered by the Great Firewall of China. Youtube is completely blocked with NYTimes.com loading slowly. Apparently, The Economist is the only news agency with a reporter actually in Lhasa before the clampdown. The official China news agency, Xinhua, is making me impossibly angry with quotes like, “It is obvious that the latest well-planned sabotage in Lhasa was another bloody exercise of Dalai clique’s political conspiracy,” and “All these facts have come to say and will continue to prove that the Dalai group’s ill-willed attempts to destabilize Tibet, in whatever forms, will not succeed, since such efforts go against the popular will of the international community and 2.8 million people in the Tibet Autonomous Region.” Thank goodness my newsreader is still feeding information in via blogs.
Stay tuned for Wednesday’s class discussion of Tibet! True colors will fly as agitated students here ask questions of our pro-China teacher.
And, yes, all of us in Hangzhou are safe and sound away from the action around Tibet, Sichuan, and Yunan. But our travel plans for Spring Break could be drastically altered as some students opt to stay away from the West of China.
Picture of the Day: While camping this weekend, we encountered our own Chinese forces guarding the reservoir.