Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tibetan Students Held Campus Vigil in Beijing

Amid the riots and violence in Lhasa and other locations in and near Tibet, it is easy to overlook that a group of ethnic Tibetan students had staged a vigil in Beijing, at the campus of the Central University of Nationalities (中央民族学院), a college devoted to the education of China's ethnic minorities. In sharp contrast, this protest appeared to be low-profile, peaceful, and was eventually broken up by authorities without much disturbance.

Ever since 1989, it's been extremely rare to see any protests held on college campuses.

What is clear, however, is that the Tibetan students did not receive any support or even sympathy from their non-Tibetan compatriots. In China, even the best educated are not immune to nationalist pride and zeal, in which the nation's territorial integrity is held above all other values. Any thought of independence, be it Tibet or Taiwan, is automatically condemned, not only by the government in power, but also by the common mass. It is therefore unsurprising that the, as Washington Post had put it: Beijing's Crackdown Gets Strong Domestic Support. The violent nature of the current protest in Tibet certainly has not helped either.

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