Tuesday 18 March 2008

China never won respect of Tibetians

"Why did the unrest take off?" asked Liu Junning, a liberal political scientist in Beijing. "I think it has something to do with the long-term policy failure of the central authorities. They failed to earn the respect of the people there."

For now, Beijing's hard line on Tibet is only likely to get harder. Military police officers are pouring into Tibetan regions to stifle new protests. Nor are the demonstrations winning sympathy in a nation that is 94 percent Han Chinese. State media have tightly controlled coverage to focus on Tibetans burning Chinese businesses or attacking and killing Chinese merchants. No mention is made of Tibetan grievances or reports that 80 or more Tibetans have died.

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