Changing China

Giant on the move

Nick, the torch and Mt Everest – Day 1

April 30, 2008


At last, 11 of us did get onto a plane to Lhasa last Friday. It was soon clear that while the Tibetan authorities were prepared to let us in, this was by no means going to be a free-ranging reporting assignment.

The hotel ‘near Lhasa airport’ that we had been promised turned out to be 300 kilometres away in Shigatse (3,900m).

day1_12.JPGThe compensation was the drive up a stunning river valley. Tibetan prayer flags fluttered in a stiff breeze above the squat houses and children skinny-dipped in the aquamarine water beneath azure skies.

On one of the toilet stops, a friend of mine in the Chinese media party told me he had been acclimatizing in Lhasa for four days. It turned out that all the Chinese media had had at least one day more to get accustomed to the high altitude. 

We arrived at Shigatse late in the evening, were fed and told to be ready for departure at 9am the next morning.

Seen through the windscreen of an official Chinese government bus, a paramilitary soldier stands guard under a road sign located near Lhasa Airport April 25, 2008 indicating the road to the Tibetan capital of Lhasa and the town of Rikaze. A heavy troop presence was evident on Friday lining the road between the capital Lhasa and Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet, after foreign reporters were allowed into the region to witness the Olympic torch ascend Mt Everest. REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)


Nick the torch from it’s Mt Everes. My once respectful admiration of China’s leaders efforts to steer cultural change, has become shocked the more I hear and find out about its culture inside its government.

China’s leaders need to address what they are doing in the world. I question China’s role on moral grounds over Tibet, Darfur/Sudan, Iraq and Zimbabwe. I pray deeply for China’s citizens, especially the writers and human rights critics held in China’s jails.

Thank You for providing this space to speak.


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