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Undercover footage highlights Tibetan repression PDF Print E-mail
[10 October 2012] A TV crew from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has managed to circumvent China's ban on foreign journalists in Tibet and capture a glimpse of the repression Tibetans currently endure. Before being forced to leave, the crew visited Ngaba and Labrang, where major protests and self-immolations have occurred, and interviewed two Tibetans willing to speak out about the injustices occurring in Tibet.

The 10-minute video report contains footage of self-immolations (at 1:00-1:16 minutes and 4:34-4:47 minutes).

(The video report was broadcast in Australia on 9 October.)

In the report, ABC's China correspondent Stephen McDonell and his team, evade the Chinese government's ban on foreign journalists and travel to Tibetan regions in Sichuan and Gansu provinces, including the towns of Ngaba and Labrang.

In Ngaba, footage is secertly shot of the security measures the Chinese authorities have taken. In the narration, Stephen McDonell says Ngaba is "chocked full of military police and SWAT teams". He adds, "The streets are barricaded as if in a war zone - something akin to Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles."

ABC News reportOne monk, when asked why Tibetans are self-immolating, says, "They feel unsettled in their hearts, that's why they set themselves on fire."

A Tibetan woman says, "The reason they committed suicide is that the monasteries have lots of difficulties in this country. We don't have any rights, even the right of speech. They tell us exactly what we have to say. If we speak the truth, they will arrest us and beat us to death."

Along with the undercover footage, there is an interview with Lobsang Sangay, Sikyong (equivalent to Prime Minister) of the Tibetan government in exile. Dr Sangay says, "If the Chinese Government wants to see an end to self-immolation and various forms of protest inside Tibet: open up Tibet, liberalise Tibet, treat them humanly, give them basic freedom."

As the report comes to an end, with the TV crew forced to Tibet, Stephen McDonell concludes, "Behind us is fear, resentment and tragedy, along with government policies showing no sign of winning over Tibetans."

Despite the ban of foreign journalists, several undercover reports have been made this year. In January, a CNN crew was detained after trying to get into the Tibet Autonomous Region. In February, a BBC's China Correspondent Damian Grammaticus was detained after entering Tibetan regions. The Guardian's Jonathan Watts also filed an undercover report from Tibet in February. [Note: the CNN and BBC reports contain images of self-immolations.]

Further information:
Background to self-immolations I Take Action
Online film: The Burning Question: Why are Tibetans Turning to Self-immolation? (30-minute documentary examining the reasons underlying the self-immolations, produced by the Tibetan government in exile.)

Tibet Society, the worlds first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. (Annual membership 24; Overseas 36; Life 500).

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