A Chinese theater has staged a propaganda opera on China-Tibet history to
coincide with the Olympics. The Beijing games have been dogged by protests
against China's heavy-handed rule over Tibet. Daniel Schearf reports from
Chinese troops invaded Tibet in 1950 but China's claims on
the Himalayan Kingdom go back centuries.
One historical reference is the
7th century marriage of Chinese princess Wen Cheng to the Tibetan King Songtsen
A Peking Opera theatre in Beijing has chosen the last days of
the Beijing Olympics to stage an opera depicting China's version of the
The show portrays China as a selfless power bringing
civilization to the area that would become Tibet. Tibetan and Chinese actors
rejoice what the opera calls a "cementing of relations" by singing and
Gao Mukun, the director of the opera, says after watching the
show you will understand how artists of the two minorities treasure this
hard-won harmony. He says they are brothers of a family and that no one can
The opera is trying to spread a message of ethnic
unity at a time when Beijing is still recovering from Tibetan anti-China
protests in March that turned violent.
China's harsh crackdown led to a
series of international protests against Beijing's hosting the
The organization Students for a Free Tibet says, in the last
three weeks, China has detained and deported 49 activists for participating in
Ginger Cassady is a volunteer with the group
and spoke Friday to reporters in Beijing.
"They said, you know, by
getting this bid, getting the Olympic bid, that they were going to clean up
their human rights record," she said. "But, what we've seen is actually its
gotten a lot worse. That's something that we're going to continue to put the
Chinese police have
roughed up and detained foreign media trying to cover the pro-Tibet protests,
despite promises of non-interference in reporting during the Olympics.
Photographers have also been forced to erase their photos.
Olympic spokesman Wang Wei lashed out at reporters Friday for raising criticisms
of China on Tibet and other issues.
"There's so many criticism in this
room. It just reflects how biased some of the media are about China," he said.
"And how little they understand China."
China designated three parks for
approved protests during the Olympics and officials say they received 77
applications. None were approved.