March 10th is the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s flight from Lhasa to India to escape advancing Chinese troops sent to crush an uprising in the Tibetan capital against Beijing’s rule. (Actually, it is the anniversary of the day throngs of Tibetans surrounded his Potala palace to protect him; he actually fled on march 17 and arrived in India on the 31st). As we’ve observed in previous stories and blogs, the situation in Tibet and Tibetan areas of China (which together account for about a fifth of the nation’s landmass, which gives an excellent reason underlying all the others such as national, history, mineral resources etc, why Beijing will never allow such a huge chunk of its territory to become semi-autonomous) is extremely tense and, as this story indicates, getting tenser. From what I saw on the ground in Qinghai, there will be a good deal more of this. Just how far things deteriorate will depend much on the reaction of the Chinese authorities. Sp far they have been unyielding, as far as we can tell from the restricted information that seeps out of Tibet, which is sealed off to all foreigners now. If that continues, as in this case where monks protest the arrests of other monks and are then arrested themselves. It could have a frightening snowball effect. It’s equally possible that the sporadic protest will continue and the security forces manage to contain things by a combination of intimidation and accommodation, which has often been the pattern in the past.