This story just off the wire talks about more violence on the foothills of the Himalayas, resulting from a recent government crack-down on a long simmering separatist movement.
The story, however, is not about China. It’s instead about a violent separatist movement in democratic India, in which thousands have been killed in recent years. The original story is here.
As a small thought experiment, I have rewritten part of the text here, replacing Indian details with Chinese details.
Lhasa, China (AP) — Suspected rebels lined up and fatally shot eight railroad workers in China’s insurgency-wracked southwestern region of Tibet, police said Monday.
Sunday’s attack came a day after the Chinese army killed six rebels in a shootout, People’s Liberation Army General Tang Buxi said.
The attack took place in the village of Faiding, where the victims were building homes for rail workers, Buxi told The Associated Press. Faiding is about 200 miles east of the Tibet region capital, Lhasa.
Buxi said authorities suspect the attack was carried out by a faction of the Tibet Youth Congress rebel group. The rebels are fighting for wide regional autonomy.
“Around 10 armed rebels fired indiscriminately on a group of rail construction workers at Faiding village, killing eight of them late Sunday,” he said.
He said the rebels also attacked a railroad station in the area on Saturday night and killed one rail worker.
Tenzin Takla, a spokesman for the rebel group, said in a statement it had ended a nearly two-month cease-fire with the government after its fighters were killed Saturday. However, he did not take responsibility for either of the railway attacks.
Several rebel groups are fighting for autonomy or independence in China’s southwest. The militants say the national government exploits the region’s rich natural resources while doing little for its indigenous people, most of whom are ethnically closer to people in nearby Nepal and India than to the rest of China.
The purpose of this thought experiment is not to suggest a total equivalency between China and India, nor Tibet and Assam. But there are clearly similarities here.
And the lingering question in my mind is why the Western press and the Western public at large are not demanding freedom for these “oppressed” peoples of India, nor calling for “restraint” from the Indian government.