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Monday, March 17, 2008

Monks’ Protest of Chinese Rule in Tibet Ends in Violence

On March 10th, in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, 50 Buddhist monks were arrested by police for organizing a peaceful protest against the religious restrictions applied by the Chinese government. Other protests took place the following days, but on March 14th, what started out as another demonstration in a market place ended in a deadly riot with shops getting ransacked, cars set on fire and at least 10 people killed, as reported by the New York Times. The causes of this violent outcome are still unclear, sources mention that police started beating up the monks thus enraging the Tibetan population, but Chinese authorities have dismissed these claims. This is the largest Tibetan protest against Chinese rule since 1989.

Luc Schaedler’s film, ANGRY MONK, examines the life and work of Gendun Choephel (1903-1951) a legendary figure in Tibet. Choephel was believed to be the reincarnation of a famous Buddhist lama but he eventually turned his back on monastic life and became a fierce critic of his country's religious conservatism, cultural isolationism and reactionary government.

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