The March 14th 2008 Riots in Lhasa, Tibet
It was a defining time in my journey, and a defining moment for Tibet. On March 14th 2008, years of resentment and hatred spewed out into violent riots for freedom that saw Tibet’s capital city turn into a war zone.
Facts about the riots in Tibet:
The story behind this photograph
I was traveling overland from Nepal to Tibet and on into mainland China. Delayed due to the horrendous snow storms in early 2008 in southern China I was had secured a “single” group Tibetan permit and entered.
I won’t go into depth here as I’ve already written about my experiences during the 2008 Tibet riots here.
It was already late afternoon and the Chinese army were making their first push into Lhasa. People on the streets were either looting, running from mobs of rioters, or simply trying to shelter from potential violence.
Buildings were being set on fire. Lone, and small groups of people were seeking cover from explosions, debris, fire, gunshots, rioters, mobs, police, and soldiers.
What happened next is that the people here were taken away, without violence. It was more a rush of panic and fear.
On the roofs of surrounding buildings Tibetan’s shouted angrily and jeered at the soldiers below. Meanwhile a near unending charge of more tanks, armored personnel and armed soldiers ploughed into Lhasa.
In regards to photographs and video taken during the riots.
I bore witness to international media outlets offering sums upwards of USD$10,000 for photographic, video and eyewitness reports of what was happening on the ground. I also was witness to several people accepting these offers.
A more defining moment occurred when I also bore witness to local Tibetans who had helped foreigners escape the violence state their fear over being seen, or become a victim of mistaken identity and arrested due to this footage.
During those few days authorities were doing house to house searches. CCTV footage from international media was being used to identify people found on the streets. Not just single people were being arrested, but whole families.
It simply does not sit right with me morally.
Any photographs I have published have been blurred out, and identifying features removed as you will see if you choose to read the above articles I wrote.
This is the story behind just one, of many photographs I took during the 2008 Tibet riots.
Discover more great travel photographs
This is an additional photograph feature from my world travel photography gallery, documenting the story behind the picture
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