tv BBC Newsnight WHUT April 21, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
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>> tibet in despair. however increasing numbers oppose chinese rule by setting fire to themselves -- how increasing numbers of poe's chinese rule by setting fire to themselves. tibetan opposition to beijing has been mostly non-violent for decades. now some believe that strategy has failed them. increasingly, men like these have been driven to burn themselves to death, a desperate act to change china. we hear from the dalai lama. >> they do not understand. >> this man was hauled off a plane and sent to gaddafi's torture chambers, allegedly with the help of british intelligence. he is suing the british foreign secretary he claims helped put him there. and saudi arabia allows a woman to represent it for the first
time. we speak to a saudi princess. hello. over the past year, 32 tibetans, mainly monks and nuns, have set themselves on fire in protest against chinese rule as a call for the return of the exiled dalai lama. the majority of them have died. this wave of self immolations has traumatized and divided the tens of thousands of tibetans who live in exile with the dalai lama in india. many of whom believe his current strategy with china has failed. we have this exclusive report. you may find some of the images disturbing. data and monastery in the
himalayas in india. tibetans in exile try to keep alive a religion and a culture. the ritual has hardly changed since buddhism was introduced into tibet in the seventh century. in a monastery next door, they are using the tools of the 21st century to mark the latest expression of tibetan despair. there has been another self immolation, and they spring into action. they are told he threw his body into a truck, still raising his arms and shouting "free tibet."
he died the next day. once they hear from three different sources, they send the news to to the support groups and journalists. >> our greatest concern is to protect our sources inside of tibet. we are very aware of the risks they are taking. since 2008, people there have been arrested for simply being in touch with us. >> four years ago saw an abrupt downturn in chinese treatment of tibetans. beijing's olympic torch was met in nearly every city on its journey -- london included -- by demonstrations in support of freedom for tibet and the dalai lama. as news of the demonstrations reached the rooftops of the world, tibetans rose up against their rulers, and the protests spread from the tibetan
autonomous region to the many tibetans who live in provinces in china. it was here that the most brutal crackdown then took place. locals claim that dozens were killed and hundreds arrested. numbers, which we cannot verify, because the area was been and is now forbidden to journalists -- was then and is now forbidden to journalists. monks in a monastery that the protest in szechuan in 2008 -- led the protest in szechuan in 2008. their fellow monks anxiously look for the faces of those who are killing themselves today. there have been more self- revelations' here than anywhere
else. -- self and malaysians -- self immolations. their spiritual leader explains why. betty recent self immolations express not just the pain of the lungs but of the entire tibetan people -- >> the recent self immolations. when there is oppression, the people will revolt. this is the tibetan way of revolt. since 2008, hundreds of monks have been arrested. religious services have been disrupted. they found posters of mao next to the buddha. if the chinese continue like this, the self immolations will continue. >> a 20-year-old nun set fire to herself on the street in session on in october. she was the tend to do so --
the 10th to do so. since they began just over a year ago, there have been more than 30 self immolations, most of them monks and nuns. they tend to swallow kerosene first and cover themselves with barbwire to prevent anyone stopping them from burning to death. a few may have survived. no one is to assure -- no one is too sure. they want the dalai lama to return to tibet, but he has been living in india since he fled chinese rule over 50 years ago. at 76, he has announced his retirement as a political
leader, leaving that role to an elected prime minister in the government in exile. he retains his role as spiritual leader of some 5 million tibetans, and yet, has remained strangely quiet on the subject of the self immolations. >> as a spiritual leader, i think there is some surprise that you have not come out more strongly condemning what they are doing. >> it is a very sensitive political issue. if i get involved in that, then it is meaningless. the chinese government immediately -- what could i say that the chinese government would not immediately manipulate? they do not understand what the
real tibetans are feeling. >> some 150,000 tibetans have fled to join him in india. they seldom questioned the dalai lama oppose a policy of nonviolence and the middle way in his dealings with the chinese -- the dollar llama -- the dalai .ama's policy of nonviolence the meetings between his representatives and successive chinese governments have come to nothing. >> i will oppose modest failure to get some sort of close understanding with chinese government and some improvement in sight of tibet.
these leaders -- very foolish. narrow minded, authoritarian sort of people. never willing to listen. >> in over 20 years of coming here and meeting with the dalai lama, i have never heard him so angry, nor despondent. nor have i come across so many here who are now prepared to criticize their spiritual leader. even those of the dalai lama's own age home i found demonstrating in sympathy of those who have taken refuge in tibet. >> i question the current policies and positions. not to say reality and enforcing tibetans to commit suicide. >> after trying nonviolent, peaceful means for the last 53
years, many people might feel in desperation that they should opt for violence. >> n they are looking at the man walking in, what looks clearly like a protest. >> they monitor the latest pictures coming out of the tibetan region. she notes that the demonstrations after each self immolation are growing. >> there are others who say there are more than 8000. >> what strikes me it -- what strikes me as extraordinary is that 8000 are allowed to gather. >> the police came, but when
they saw a huge number of tibetans present, they chose to withdraw. i think they were delighted by the fact that there was such a huge number of tibetans there. >> as anger increases, so does the daring of people's demands. -- i think they were daunted. >> the people have spoken. that is something that i see people so very committed to, even with the self immolations. right now, it has been very consistently nonviolent, but we do not know when it will spiral out of control. >> that evening, news of another self immolation comes. it used to be the dalai lama and his team in exile who decided the direction in which his
people should go. now, tibetans in tibet are asserting themselves, and those in exile can only respond with candle lit processions and prayer. what else can these people do? it is 53 years since the dalai lama left to that, and the act of despair -- the act of despair being carried out in tibet today -- the facts -- the acts of despair being carried out in tibet today show the people are running low on options. >> no one is sure what to expect next. >> this much we know about libyan dissidents -- he was taken off a plane to london, tortured, and eventually ended up in colonel gaddafi's libya. documents discovered after gaddafi's paul suggest that the
british secret intelligence service was involved -- documents discovered after gaddafi's fall. he previously denied involvement, but now, there are allegations he signed papers authorizing mi-6 involvement. now a member of the new libyan regime, the victim is suing. here is our diplomatic editor. >> the case of the islamic militant who was flown home from the far east to imprisoned and tortured, has taken a new turn. the focus has moved to the british foreign office. his lawyers served papers on jack straw, the uk's foreign secretary back in 2004 when the militant leader was bundled on a plane back to libya. >> mr. straw has the letter and has been given until the 19th
of may to respond. unfortunately, it seems that although he clearly said that he had no part in it and knew nothing about it last year, unfortunately it looks as though the response now is going to be the same as the rest of the government, which is neither to confirm nor deny the circumstances. so it might well be that we end up having to ask the court to proceed with the matter. >> the case has its origin in the turbulent downfall of the gadhafi's regime and the looting of his intelligence service headquarters -- of the gaddafi regime. head of counter terrorism had written, noting, "most
importantly, i congratulate you on the safe arrival. this was the least we could do to demonstrate the remarkable relationship we have built with libya over the years." >> evidence of british involvement led some to launch a legal action in britain. >> we would like those behind this crime to be brought before justice and to be put on trial. >> the trail led back to mi-6, the secret intelligence service. how had it facilitated the loading of libyans on two planes in thailand and hong kong? the service let it be known tha whatever had been done was subject to legal scrutiny and political approval, but the foreign secretary at the time did not sound so sure. >> not only did we not agree with it, we would not implicit in it, nor did we turn a blind eye to it. >> of the terms of the
legislation dating back to 1994, sensitive intelligence operations need to be signed off by the foreign secretary operative of the day, and that is what happened with jack straw signing off on what they call the submission in the intelligence business. the fact that both he and one of the senior mi-6 officers connected with thease could now find themselves in court, despite having followed procedure, has caused consternation in some quarters. >> it is not just intelligence officers who worry they may be sued despite following the legal provisions of their trade. in britain's corridors of power, there are questions as well about the political masters that must sign off sensitive overseas operations. might this make them reluctant to act in the future? >> you want to use every weapon, every skill, a repeat of apparatus you have to counter your enemies, but everything we
do has got to be completely and totally transparent, and within the law. if we do not, if will start breaking the law or infringing the law or making ourselves vulnerable to the law, we are handing a victory to our enemies. >> while the circumstances produced by the downfall of gaddafi were highly unusual, the water principles at stake about whether a british minister or intelligence officer should be subject to a private prosecution despite having followed the laws of the land could produce a pitched battle in court. >> will there be any female saudi competitors at the olympics in august? saudi arabia has never allowed a female competitor before. even if the saudis the lead, when it really make any difference for women in the
country when their rights seem few and far between and where they are barred from venturing out site without a chaperone? we will hear from one saudi princess calling for reform in her homeland in a moment, but first -- >> the lot of a saudi woman is not a happy one. unable to drive, limitations on work and sport. shopping is about the only activity available. when i was in the kingdom a year ago, women had to be served by non-saudi then in lingerie shops. now, women are at last allowed to serve women. that is one battle one -- won,
but what about the driving? >> we keep our fingers crossed, but we also are calling for assistance because even if women are allowed to drive, not all women are eligible for qualified. the problem goes a little bit beyond women driving. >> the talks in saudi today is about women and sport. up until today, saudi arabia is not sending any female competitors to the london all of vix, so at least one saudi woman might be eligible. -- the london olympics. the first female saudi athlete to compete in the u.s. olympics was in singapore in 2010 and claimed a bronze medal. yet, the head of the saudi olympic committee says, "i do not approve of saudi female participation in the olympics at the moment."
it could be that there simply are not enough women of a standard. some say there's hardly any sport today for school-aged girls. >> back in the 1980's in my time when i was a kid, we used to play volleyball, basketball, badminton, whatever -- so many types of sports. more than i can count. gymnastics, a robust, everything you can think about. the is in saudi arabia were more progressive 4 female's back then in many respects -- things in saudi arabia or more progressive for females. >> divorce laws make it almost impossible for women to apply. after a divorce, the father gets custody of children over the age of six. i found women who were widowed or had been abandoned by their husbands, virtual prisoners in
their own homes, unable even to attend a hospital appointment without a male guardian. even professional women -- lawyers and doctors -- are affected. they have to ask male guardians for permission to travel. this surgeon works in london. >> if i am be untrustworthy, working, independent, going to hospitals, seeing patients, saving lives, can i not go on my own to attend a conference without permission of my guardian? >> as a professional woman, do you feel insulted to be treated this way? >> i do not. i have been brought up in the society, the culture. i understand that change does not happen over day and night. it takes time. >> some doubt whether change will come soon enough, even for the next generation. with me is basma bint saud bin abdulaziz.
her uncle is the king of saudi arabia. you are calling for a fundamental change in the country. if something comes in like a request for saudi women to come to the olympics, does that help? >> i would say it does not at all. it is just another slogan for another political agenda that is calling for attention about something or another, to acquire something behind it. i have no idea what they have in mind. i have no idea if they have done their homework. if they want women from saudi arabia to be represented in the olympics, i would have thought that they would have at least asked if p.e. even exists in our schools for women. >> does that lack of knowledge of it you?
>> definitely it does. it has been used in the media as something of abuse of human rights, women's rights, women's empowerment. >> you want fundamental change. in what way? what is it you want to see happen in your country? >> reform of our constitution. i want a constitution full stop. readable, tangible, something which is coherent and transparent, that we can rely on and come back to whenever we have something to execute. >> this would be a constitution that sets out equal rights for women? bamut equal rights for women -- >> not just about driving? >> it is actually nothing about driving. it is ridiculous. everywhere i go, everyone asks if women drive in saudi arabia, and i asked if women had any
rights. before you start having electricity in your home, you have to have the infrastructure to get that electricity. >> for women, whether they be women who are doctors, women who work as nurses or whatever, even though they can be professional women, within the law of the country, they have no power whatsoever? >> no, they do not. >> they are subject to and often abuse, divorce, left alone? >> definitely, and it is all over the news in saudi arabia. i'm not saying anything which is new knowledge. if you go back to saudi newspapers, you will find all sorts of stories over there. why on earth nobody is looking there and reading what is going on -- >> you are speaking out, but there is not a network of people like you. >> there is not. >> do you want a revolution or
reform? >> reform, definitely. i love my cane. i love my family. i think they can do a lot, but i think there's something missing. -- i love my canking,. g. i love my family. \ >> e-mails in your family are resistant? >> i would not say resistant as much as scared. -- the males in your family are resistant. >> is there a danger that if they do not listen to you and others like you, it will not be reformed but it will be revolution? >> i would not put it in that form, but i would rather put it in another form, which is it is about time that we sit on the same table, talk, negotiate, and really put our heads together and get down there and do
something about the constitution and the reform. >> that is all for this week. from all of us, goodbye. >> funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to know your business, offering specialized solutions in capital to help you meet your growth objectives. we offer expertise and tailored solutions for small businesses and major corporations. what can we do for you? what can we do for you? >> "newsnight" was pre