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Buddhadharma : Spring 2008
spring 2008| 52 |buddhadharma other than their parents, who stay behind so their families won’t be harassed or tortured. Dorjee leads us up more dark stairs to the roof, where a Tibetan refugee and a Western volunteer have been teaching an art class for children. He points to a bulletin board tacked with drawings. One poster-sized sheet resembles an old map of the known world, with white snow mountains ringed by sawtooth blue borders. A line of black figures crawls toward a pass. Green figures fire rows of dots and a black figure falls. Around a red stupa are tents and a cluster of red figures, one holding a red blob that Dorjee says is a video camera. Before we left home, the news of a Chinese army assault on Tibetan refugees at Nagpa Pass made The New York Times and the international news agencies. According to the Chinese government, the Tibetans attacked the soldiers, but that version was challenged by the Romanian climbing team who captured the event on video. The Romanians wore Western expedition clothes in bright colors like red and orange; the Chinese were in green uni- forms. Dorjee says that two Tibetans, a nun and a twenty-three-year-old, were shot. Thirty-three Tibetans were arrested and forty-two escaped. He points to a black square that he says is a cook tent. Curled up inside is a small black figure: a boy who survived the massacre and who made this drawing in the reception center art class. Dorjee, whose face is set in a seemingly immov- able sadness, reminds us that the only open border out of China is the one in Nepal. Tiny Sikkim has already been gobbled up by the Indians, who keep a strict border. Fragile Bhutan, justifiably terrified of the Chinese, will not accept Tibetans (although earlier waves of Tibetan monks and lamas have filled Bhutanese monasteries for years now). The Chinese lately have been pressuring Nepal to close the Tibet office and reception center in Kathmandu, says Dorjee. I recall the long, ruinous courTesYofTIbeTAnchILdren’svILLAGePhoTo:MohAncorsIGLIA;(InseT)courTesYofTIbeTAnchILdren’svILLAGe (Above) A drawing by a young Tibetan refugee who witnessed an attack on Tibetan refugees by Chinese forces at Nagpa Pass. (Inset) Children at a school run by the Tibetan Children’s Village.