Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Despite the official narrative of ethnic harmony, the March riots seem to have frayed further already-fragile Tibetan-Han relations.

“We rarely really interact with the Tibetans. They are really bu xing,” muttered an ethnic Chinese shopkeeper about how the Tibetans were “no good”, echoing a view voiced by a few others.

Wang, a taxi driver who arrived from Gansu province two years ago, was more blunt: “These days, when business is good, I avoid picking up Tibetan passengers and take only Chinese ones. When I’ve no choice, I drive the Tibetans. But when they get into my car, I feel angry.”He added: “Before March, we Hans often gave money to the Tibetan pilgrims who beg. Now we don’t give a cent.”

The Sichuan cook, who has lived in Lhasa for 15 years, was more polite. “There’s a bit of a psychological barrier now when we interact with Tibetans. But overall ethnic relations are good. Eighty per cent of our customers are Tibetans.”

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