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Tibet: Scholars Submit Open Letter to Chinese Government

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Tibet: Scholars Submit Open Letter to Chinese Government

A burning car sits on a street in the Tibetan capital Lhasa

An incident late last week revealed the intensity of the situation in Tibet perfectly. The Chinese authorities took several western journalists on a tour of Tibet to demonstrate that ethnic harmony had returned to the city.

While in one of Lhasa 's most important temples the journalists were confronted by 30 young Tibetan monks who wept, accusing the authorities of lying and asked emphatically for a free Tibet . They also complained of their house arrest.

The journalists were dragged away to prevent more conversation, but the dramatic video and photo's of the encounter have reminded the world about the open wound in Tibet .

Tibetan scholars have written an open letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao that's been posted on the internet. It says that criminalizing basic freedoms is counterproductive; that demonizing the Dali Lama only fuels Tibetan anger and alienation. Then the letter suggests that Beijing acknowledge its policy failures.

Matthew Kapstein is among the scholars who signed the open letter to Hu Jintao. He's Numata Professor of Buddhist Studies at the U niversity of Chicago and Director of Tibetan Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris .

He explains what the scholars hoped to accomplish…

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