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Friday, 14 March 2008

Reporting Tibet

Protests in Tibet have escalated today triggering the largest demonstrations in the province for decades. According to the BBC and Reuters, protesters have been burning cars and shops in Lhasa. (Even the Chinese news agency Xinhua acknowledges that something is happening.)

Unrest began earlier in the week after police arrested a number of Buddhist monks marching to mark the 49th anniversary of a Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.

One BBC reporter I spoke to today, who is working on the story, admitted it was difficult to know exactly what was going on.

But he said that blogs, and people who had contacted the BBC's User Generated Content (UGC) department, were helping to build up a picture of events on the ground:

"UGC is coming up trumps on Tibet".

Yesterday, the BBC's World At One radio programme used information they had obtained from a blog written by a Western tourist.

What's on the blogs?

  • One traveller wrote about his experience of the gathering on Barkhor Square on 10 March. His blog post also has a couple of images and a very short video, which has been running on BBC World Television today.
  • A 'blond scientist' joined the march to Tibet from India and meets Tenzin Tsundue on the way.
  • Another traveller twittered the (non)-coverage of the event on television in China, suggesting that the plug simply gets pulled when the BBC mentions the situation.
  • A round up of unrest can be found at the Students for a Free Tibet blog.
  • Some short extracts translated from Chinese blogs can be found here at Global Voices Online.

Update

  • Unfortunate error in an article by MSNBC.com: "BEIJING - At least people were killed in rioting between Tibetans and Chinese security forces in Lhasa on Friday, according to a report." Hopefully someone will notice and amend it in due course.

2 comments:

Grumblecake said...

While in China, we noticed that the censorship was less and less effective the later at night it was. If you watched TV at 5:00 pm, you definitely didn't see any news about Tibet, other than the leading sentence. But if you watched at 11:00 pm or 1:00 am, you could sometimes watch an entire news item!

Daniel Bennett said...

Thanks for this insight and apologies it's taken me so long to get back to you. It seems the censor had a strict bedtime routine and no back up!

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