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Tibetan kids protest China’s ‘genocide tourism’

The herdsmen’s children use the 'urduo' rope to express their disapproval of the stage-managed tours
A young Tibetan girl uses an urduo rope in this undated image.

A young Tibetan girl uses an 'urduo' rope in this undated image. (Photo: Bitter Winter via Weibo)

Published: May 21, 2024 11:05 AM GMT
Updated: May 21, 2024 11:11 AM GMT

Children in a city of Tibet have resorted to a unique form of protest to denounce China’s stage-managed tourism that reportedly seeks to deflect attention from various acts of repression in the region.

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been sponsoring tourism to Tibet to encourage domestic Chinese and international visitors to visit the China-occupied region, Bitter Winter magazine reported on May 20.

During the state-sponsored trips, tourists are allowed to visit renowned Buddhist temples and take photographs with some monks, the report said.

This prompted Tibetan children and youth to use the traditional “urduo,” a rope or whip made of yak or goat hair as a form of protest in Nagku, a prefecture-level city in Northern Tibet.

The rope is used by herdsmen to drive cattle but also to throw stones to show the road to the livestock or scare away wild animals.

The herdsmen’s children take the “urduo” when trains with tourists pass their area and whip the passing trains or throw small stones.

The children do not intend to hurt anybody but aim to tell the tourists that staged tours are not welcome, the report said.

The protest is reportedly inspired by persecuted ethnic Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region who oppose CCP-managed “genocide tourism” to villages where everybody smiles and dances under the watchful eye of the Chinese authorities.

“The reality is different, but tourists do not see it,” the report said.

China is accused of a genocidal crackdown on the Turkic Muslim minority group in the region.

Human rights groups alleged that about one million Uyghurs are subjected to brutal oppression in dozens of concentration camps in Xinjing where China has been carrying out physical and cultural genocide in the name of counter-insurgency measures.

Since invading and annexing Tibet in the 1950s, Beijing has tightened its grip to crush all forms of dissent against China’s iron-fisted rule.

The CCP is accused of various attempts to systematically destroy Tibetan culture and Buddhist religion to assert more control over the region.

Hundreds have been killed and sentenced to long terms in jail for opposing Chinese rule in the past decades.

The CCP has recently warned parents of the children they would be held responsible and face dire consequences for the behavior of their children.

Until the 1950s, Tibet was largely isolated from the outside world. The Himalayan region has been long known for its unique cultural and religious community strongly influenced by Tibetan culture and Tibetan Buddhism.

Tibetans strongly opposed China’s annexation of the region following the communist takeover. China claims the region has always been an integral part of China.

The CCP brutally suppressed the Tibetan struggle for independence and banned freedom of speech, religion and political association by Tibetans who view Chinese occupation as an invasion by a foreign force.

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