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Wednesday, March 26

A Hu howdunit. But is Ruan Ming talking through his hat? A second look at the riots in Lhasa, Tibet

"The riots in Tibet were spontaneous expressions of resentment against the policies of the Chinese government. It was tanked up anger that found expression in Lhasa."
-- Tempa Tsering, the Dalai Lama’s representative in New Delhi

"The CCP carefully staged the unrest in Tibet to deceive the world."
-- Ruan Ming, former advisor to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary

Today, Phayul (a website run by Tibetan exiles) published a March 24 article in The Epoch Times titled Former Advisor to Party General Secretary Claims Regime Staged Lhasa Incident.

By "incident" they're referring to Tibetan riots against Han Chinese and Hui Muslims that started in Lhasa on the afternoon of March 14.

I've been asked to comment on Ruan's observations, which Epoch Times (ET) picked up from a Sound of Hope interview with him. Reading ET is somewhat of an art, like reading tea leaves. The thing to keep uppermost in mind when reading ET is that the CCP is to that newspaper what Moriarity is to Sherlock Holmes.

So, disgruntled or ex-CCP members have used ET to stage vendettas against each other or various bureaucracies and military factions inside China. This means that separating chaff from the grain can be an adventure for ET readers. But ET stories about the CCP are often an accurate barometer on weather conditions in the CCP.

If I read the tea leaves right, I'd venture that ET editors heard on the grapevine that Hu Jintao was scrambling to find sacrificial goats. (If so, this might not bode well for the political careers of Tibet's CCP boss and the governor.) From that view, publishing Ruan's comments was ET's contribution to pouring gasoline on Hu's head.

With those caveats out of the way, from my reading of Ruan's comments, I'd say he's in the same boat as Pundita, except that he has many contacts in the CCP. Knowing Hu Jintao, Ruan is certain that Hu again got away with murder, but he's speculating on how Hu did it. And he's speculating from tiny mosaics of data and hearsay.

Ruan Ming clearly has his facts wrong in certain places; e.g., "Before the [March 14 rioting], the authorities drove away all foreign reporters and even forbade them from going out."

Or course that's wrong; James Miles was in Lhasa during the rioting and he was left to wander around on his own.

Other of Ruan's statements are unclear; e.g., "The demonstration on March 10 was meant to be peaceful. You can see from the pictures that the demonstration was all monks."

The photographs issue is important, as I pointed out in yesterday's post. So I want to know what pictures he's referring to. If he's describing a "peaceful" demonstration in Lhasa or immediate outskirts on March 10, none of them were peaceful for any more than a few minutes. That's because Lhasa police moved in immediately to halt the demonstrations and/orstop them before they got underway. Those are the kind of pictures I'm looking for.

That doesn't mean there are no published photos of the demonstrations on the 10th but I haven't seen them yet.

There has been much confusion about photographs of Tibetan monks at a demonstration; some published photos were not taken in Lhasa or even Tibet but were wrongly attributed to a Lhasa demonstration.

On March 14 Phayul wrote that "TCHRD has obtained pictures and identities of the 15 monks who staged a peaceful protest in Barkhor street in Lhasa on 10 March 2008."

Okay, but it's not clear from that statement whether the pictures show the monks demonstrating on the 10th or whether the photos represent individual or group shots taken at another time.

Yet to his credit Ruan understands the great significance of the photographs issue. He floats what might be at least a partial explanation for the dearth of photos and footage showing police breaking up the Lhasa demonstrations on March 10:
"Why did the CCP need to do a door-to-door search right after the suppression? They fear there were pictures taken during the suppression and don't want them to leak out and circulate around. What could the CCP be searching for door-to-door if it wasn't for the pictures? I doubt it was for guns and weapons. [...]"
Okay, but he's not clearly stated which round of suppression he's referring to: After the initial demonstrations on the 10th and 11th? Or after the crackdown in wake of the riots?

So, following Ruan's attempt to explain how Hu done it is very frustrating, yet this doesn't mean the gist of his accusation is wrong. There is still not much to go on, but from the mosaics available so far, a highly suspicious pattern has emerged:

Draconian measures were used to halt all peaceful demonstrations by the Tibetan monks in Lhasa, while no measures were taken to halt Tibetan rioting against Lhasa's Han Chinese and Hui Muslims -- not until after the rioting was clearly fizzling out and widespread damage had been done to Han businesses.

And unlike Ruan, I think there is indication to suggest that the "spontaneous expressions of resentment" in Lhasa got big help. The same kind of help made famous by Soviet Communist Party bosses under orders from Moscow to turn East European democracy marches into deadly mob violence.

That said, here is the ET report:
Former Advisor to Party General Secretary Claims Regime Staged Lhasa Incident
The Epoch Times
March 24, 2008
By Wang Qian and Chang Qing
Sound of Hope

The violent riots that the Chinese state-run media have reported as having taken place in Lhasa are not what they seem to be, according to a former highly placed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official.

Mr. Ruan Ming claims the CCP carefully staged the incidents in Tibet in order to force the Dalai Lama to resign and to justify future repression of the Tibetans.

Since 1997 Ruan has lived in Taiwan, where he has served as a diplomatic advisor to President Chen Shui-bian. He is also the author, among other books, of Deng Xiaoping: Chronicle of an Empire.

Earlier in his life, he worked as the main speechwriter for Mr. Hu Yaobang, who served as General Secretary of the CCP from 1981-1987 and was admired by democracy activists as a reformer. Hu's death in 1989 is said to have sparked the student demonstrations in Beijing of that year.

In an interview with Sound of Hope, Ruan warned international society that in considering the unrest in Lhasa, it must keep its eyes open and be aware of the CCP's violent and deceptive nature.

At the heart of the deception in Lhasa was the murder of peaceful monks.

"The CCP carefully staged the unrest in Tibet to deceive the world. Before the incident, the authorities drove away all foreign reporters and even forbade them from going out," according to Ruan.

"The demonstration on March 10 was meant to be peaceful. You can see from the pictures that the demonstration was all monks," Ruan explained.

"The CCP arrested some of these monks and killed them. The killing angered some young Tibetans. By March 14, the Tibetans could no longer stand the killing of innocent monks and protested."

According to Ruan, when the young Tibetans reacted, they fell into the CCP's trap.

"The CCP seized this opportunity and took pictures of these Tibetans in violent actions and sent out officers to do a door-to-door search, calling on the 'guilty' to surrender themselves."

While Ruan said the CCP meticulously staged the whole thing in Lhasa, there were things it missed.

"All pictures from inside Lhasa came from the CCP, but the CCP forgot about the small Tibetan autonomous counties in Gansu, Qinghai, and Sichuan Provinces. Pictures of the dead bodies of those killed by the CCP that we saw came from outside of Lhasa. The CCP couldn't have imagined pictures of its killing would leak out from these small villages."

Ruan believes the events in Tibet are aimed at influencing world opinion.

"This time the CCP has a more thorough plot with carefully designed propaganda," said Ruan.

"The Dalai Lama has always proposed a peaceful solution to Tibet issues and has won the world's recognition. With all that in mind, the CCP has framed the Dalai Lama for having 'carefully planned and stirred up the event.'

"This is exactly like how the CCP framed Zhao Ziyang for the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989 and accused Zhao of 'splitting the Party and supporting unrest.'

"The Dalai Lama had already said he would resign if the unrest continued. The Dalai Lama is influential globally and if he really retired, the CCP could gradually push and label the Tibetans as terrorists like the Xinjiang independence movement.

"This will give the CCP an excuse to ignore Tibetans appeals and to further repress them."

The CCP has kept out foreign media, because their reports might expose what is really happening there, according to Ruan.

"If the CCP opens up Tibet for foreign media, someone brave has got to talk. I don't believe there wasn't a single picture taken during the suppression.

"Why did the CCP need to do a door-to-door search right after the suppression? They fear there were pictures taken during the suppression and don't want them to leak out and circulate around.

"What could the CCP be searching for door-to-door if it wasn't for the pictures? I doubt it was for guns and weapons. It there were only few violent protestors as they claimed, how come 170 people are said to have confessed?

"How many monks have the CCP arrested and killed? The international media should be allowed to go into Tibet to investigate."

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