Tibetan Uprising and the 2008 Beijing Olympics: A Chronology

August 07, 2008

March 11, 2008: The Indian Government stops Tibetan exiles marching from northern India to Tibet to protest against the Chinese government. The symbolic march was intended to end in six months, to coincide with the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games.

March 13, 2008: The Official Spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said that “Government of India does not permit Tibetans to engage in anti-China political activities in India and the Government of India has the responsibility to maintain public order. Any activity which causes disruption would be dealt with in accordance with the laws of India.”

March 14, 2008: Uprising in Tibet caused by the harsh stand of the Chinese government on the issue of celebration of the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising.

March 15, 2008: Dalai Lama upset over Tibet unrest.

March 16, 2008: 80 killed in the Tibetan Uprising.

March 16, 2008: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urges the Chinese government to exercise restraint in dealing with the Tibetan unrest.

March 16, 2008: 50 Tibetans are detained in New Delhi after they try to storm the Chinese Embassy. 200 Tibetans start a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar.

March 17, 2008: Speaking in the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee expressed distress over the "unsettled situation and violence" in Tibet and stated that the causes of trouble in this autonomous region of China should be resolved through dialogue and non-violent means. He also stressed that India’s policy on China and Tibet was formed in 1959 and no government since then has changed it.

March 17, 2008: The Russian foreign ministry said that it views Tibet as “an inseparable part of China and believes that the settlement of relations with the Dalai Lama is an internal affair of the People's Republic of China."

March 18, 2008: Dalai Lama announces that he will resign if the violence continues.

March 18, 2008: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao expresses confidence that India will honour its stand and not allow any anti-China activity on its soil.

March 18, 2008: The Government of Pakistan issues a statement on Tibet Violence: “The Olympic Games is the most important sports event for all the people around the world. The Olympic spirit embodies the commitment of the host country and its people towards peaceful development, harmonious society and people's happiness. Pakistan opposes any attempt to politicize and subvert the Beijing Olympic Games. This includes the violent protests by certain vested interest to tarnish the spirit of the Olympic Games by encouraging violence in Tibet, which we condemn. Tibet is an inalienable part of China. This is universally recognized by the international community. Pakistan is firmly opposed to any attempt to undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

March 19, 2008: First announcement by China on arrests in Tibet. China refers to Dalai Lama as a “wolf in monks’ robes”.

March 21, 2008: The West protests China’s handling of the Tibetan uprising.

March 23, 2008: During the Olympics torch rally in Greece a protestor manages to unfurl a banner that read: "Boycott the country that tramples on human rights".

March 25, 2008: French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated that boycotting the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics was a possibility, making him the first world leader to raise the prospect of punishing China for its crackdown in Tibet.

March 26, 2008: China allows foreign media to visit limited places in Tibet, but the tour is disrupted by monks.

March 26, 2008: The Dalai Lama said that the Indian government was a little overcautious in its handling of Tibetan protestors in India.

March 28, 2008: Apparently unhappy over India’s handling of the Tibetan issue, China does not invite Indian diplomats to the visit of Lhasa, but diplomats of 15 countries are invited including from the United States, United Kingdom, and Russia.

March 29, 2008: European Union (EU) foreign ministers reject the call for a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games over China’s handling of the Tibet unrest.

March 30, 3008: Chinese media blames Dalai Lama of closing the door on talks over Tibet’s future.

March 30, 2008: A small group of Tibet activists try to stop the Olympic Torch entering Athens stadium for handover to Chinese officials. The group fails to break through the security cordon and is quickly removed by Greek police.

April 6, 2008: Thousands of protesters wave Tibetan flags and shout "Shame on China" as the torch relay passes through London. At least 35 people are arrested. Thousands of protesters and counter-protesters lined the original planned route through the city.

April 7, 2008: French officials extinguish the Olympic flame at least twice and carry the torch by bus when protesters try to seize it. The Flame's scheduled five-hour passage is cut short after thousands of protesters block its path.

April 9, 2008: San Francisco changes Olympic Torch route at the last minute, wrong-footing protestors.

April 10, 2008: Dalai Lama begins his first international trip after the Tibetan unrest started.

April 10, 2008: British PM Gordon Brown states that he will not attend the Opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

April 12, 2008: Hu Jintao expresses his displeasure over the statement by Australian PM Kevin Rudd on the human rights issue in Tibet. Hu said that Tibet is an “internal issue” of China.

April 17, 2008: Thousands of women, children and monks of exiled Tibetans take part in a parallel relay, as the torch is paraded in New Delhi, with traditional banners and placards.

April 19, 2008: In Bangkok, about 200 China supporters taunt scores of pro-Tibet demonstrators as police man barricades to protect the Olympic Torch on its route beginning in the city's China Town.

April 24, 2008: More than 10,000 Chinese Australians stage the biggest pro-Beijing rally of the Olympic Torch relay in Canberra.

April 24, 2008: In the Rajya Sabha Question and Answer session External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that the Government of India recognises the Tibet Autonomous Region as part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China and that it does not allow Tibetans to engage in anti-China political activities in India.

April 26, 2008: Chinese students scuffle with pro-Tibet protesters and Japanese nationalists during the Olympic torch relay through Nagano.

April 27, 2008: Thousands of Chinese outnumber South Koreans along the Olympic Flame's route in Seoul.

April 28, 2008: Nepal Police detains 150 Tibetans who held a protest near the Chinese Embassy visa office in Kathmandu. Nepalese officials said that they will not allow protests against any friendly nation, including neighbouring China.

April 29, 2008: 17 Tibetans sentenced for involvement in the uprising in China.

May 7, 2008: Olympic Torch lit on Everest Peak.

June 20, 2008: Tibet torch rally ends peacefully, Lhasa was sealed off, and the torch made its way through Tibet without any incident.

June 25, 2008: Tibet reopens to foreigners; China declares it has overcome "splittist" demonstrations in Tibet and reopened the province to foreigners.

July 1-2, 2008: Talks take place between the representatives of the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama. There is no concrete conclusion and the date for the next talks is set for October 2008.

July 6, 2008: Dalai Lama celebrates 73rd Birthday; in view of the March protests by the Tibetans and the level of suffering faced by them the celebrations were kept at a modest scale. Hundreds of Tibetans traveled to Dharamshala to take part in the proceedings.

July 6, 2008: President George Bush states that he will be attending the Olympics Opening ceremony as a boycott "would be an affront to the Chinese people."

July 9, 2008: French President Nicolas Sarkozy states that he will attend the August 8 opening of the Beijing Olympics, retreating from comments that he may skip the ceremony because of China's March crackdown in Tibet. He made the decision in the spirit of ``peace, friendship and brotherhood.''

July 29, 2008: Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has ruled out attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. He has offered no specific reason. The premier says Italy will be represented at the August 8 ceremony by Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

August 4, 3008: Sixteen policemen killed in a terrorist attack in Xinjiang four days before the Olympics.

Prepared by Gunjan Singh