Our congratulations to Philip Wen of the Sydney Morning Herald, who has become the third foreign journalist to run the Chinese blockade of Ngaba and report from the area itself. He has a video and article over here, both of which confirm earlier reports from The Guardian and McClatchy:
STEPPING foot on the main street in the small town of Aba, you cannot shake the ominous feeling that your every move is being watched.
Heavily armed police are set up at every intersection. Security personnel holding spiked clubs stand guard beside army trucks full of soldiers in riot gear. Roadblocks cut off the town at both ends, with every vehicle entering and leaving the town closely monitored and identity cards routinely checked.
The town’s symbolic Kirti monastery now resembles a military camp. Army trucks loaded with soldiers are stationed outside. Soldiers are permanently based in the monastery itself. The number of monks at the monastery has fallen from more than 2000 four years ago to about 600, after most were forced from the monastery by authorities.
Those who remain at Kirti are monitored constantly. Each monk is watched around the clock, usually by junior-level public servants who even sleep in the monks’ quarters.
One public servant said she would likely have been assigned the unenviable task if she was not female, and said her male colleague desperately disliked the amount of intrusion and disrespect it showed the monks. ”He doesn’t want to have to do it. He’s Tibetan himself,” she said. ”He wanted to quit but wasn’t allowed.”
”For them to sacrifice their lives, we are on the one hand very sad,” Jigme said. ”But on the other hand, we completely agree with their thoughts. We don’t have any religious freedom. Life has no meaning without freedom; it’s a principle of life.”
Despite the violence, the Aba prefecture party secretary Shi Jun has been rewarded for his draconian stance. He was promoted to assistant governor of the Sichuan People’s Provincial Government last week.
Is there any reason CNN or MNSBC couldn’t do this, other than their pro-authority bias? Watching the meaningless junk cable news networks spend their time on when this is happening is almost as depressing as accounts from the area themselves.