A Chinese student at Duke University has come under attack from fellow Chinese students since allegedly taking part in a pro-Tibet demonstration on the campus last week, according to The Chronicle, the campus newspaper at Duke.
After the protest, the woman began to receive threatening messages from Chinese students who felt she had expressed support for the independence of Tibet, which has been gripped by ethnic clashes in recent weeks. China regards advocates of Tibetan independence as people seeking to split the country.
In addition, the student’s personal information, including her name, telephone number, and Chinese national identity card number, were posted on the Web site of the Duke Chinese Scholars and Students Association.
The campus newspaper also reported that her photograph and a video of her at the rally had been posted on several popular Chinese-language Web sites. The student told the newspaper that some messages had called for her to be “burned alive with oil.” The student’s name was not revealed in the news report, which quoted her as saying she did not support Tibetan independence.
She said that she had been informed she was on a Chinese-government blacklist and that she was afraid to return home. “If I go back, I might end up in jail forever,” she said.
The rally on the Duke campus took place in the wake of protests in Tibet that began peacefully on March 10, the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. The protests became violent four days later, when Tibetans went on a rampage, attacking Chinese shops and people.
The online attacks on the student are the latest in a series of incidents involving the Tibet issue and Chinese students in the United States. The Chinese Students and Scholars Association of the University of Washington sent a letter last week to campus officials expressing “serious concern” about a visit to the university by the Dalai Lama this week, saying the exiled Tibetan leader’s appearance would not “show respect” to China’s “own domestic issues.” They also demanded that the university ensure his visit would raise “no political agenda.”
When a film on Tibet was shown at Cornell University last week, Chinese students made death threats against the organizers. —Paul Mooney