With thousands of soldiers deployed in the streets and surveillance cameras everywhere, Lhasa, the city of the gods, like a city under occupation. Here, the Chinese government is keeping watch on the autonomous region annexed in 1951.
Since the serious pro-Tibetan riots of 2008, China has banned access to journalists, leaving only enter foreign to a trickle. "It took eight months to get visas and elude the vigilance of the Chinese authorities," said Cyril Payen, the special envoy of FRANCE 24, who worked at the knowledge of the authorities. His conclusion is clear: the "cultural genocide" that denounced the Dalai Lama in 2008 is still running.
First target of Beijing Tibetan monks who hold the highest authority in the company but are confined to the role of figuration. "It is not recommended to leave the monastery. It's dangerous out there are many patrols and checks, "reflects one of them anonymously. 50 years ago, monks accounted for 30% of the Tibetan male population. Today, they are more than 20 000 to 30 000 over the 3 million people that live in Tibet.
10 million tourists and hundreds of thousands of migrants
Tibetans do not support what they see as growing domination of Hans, ultra-ethnic majority in China, and the repression of their religion and their culture. "There is no freedom in Tibet and we do not have the rights in this country, says one young activist who has agreed to testify at the heart of a market , the Lhasa. We believe in Buddhism, it is our sacred religion, the Dalai Lama is our sun. But it is forbidden to think and say. Speak publicly about it can cost us to jail! "
Faced with this repression camera, which stands in the total indifference of the international community, Tibetans choose a form of ultimate challenge: the self-immolation. About 120 were thus sacrificed since 2009. "This is the last resort for those Tibetans living under the Chinese yoke, says Cyril Payen. This act of desperation is one of the only hope to talk of the country. "
Following the self-immolation of two Tibetan monks in April, China had for its part claimed to have "peacefully liberated" Tibet and improved the lot of its people by funding economic development of the poor and isolated region. Beijing put on some 10 million Chinese tourists this year as well as the influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants from all over China. Every day, some 2,500 migrants and Chinese tourists arrive by train to Lhasa. "All the Chinese want is to bring their tourists in the temples", spear, on condition of anonymity, a monk from the Jokhang, the most sacred place in Tibet Pé kin is currently building a shopping mall attached underground parking. But he regretted that "money is only for the government, not the Tibetans."