Last updated 12-31-08 at 12 p.m.
March 10: China cracks down
on protests in Tibet using force — or
Some 400 Buddhist monks participated in a
protest march in Tibet’s capital,
Lhasa, to commemorate the failed uprising
of 1959, which resulted in the Dalai Lama
fleeing to India.
On March 14, the largest
protests in two decades turned violent.
Ethnic Tibetans reportedly attacked Chinese
citizens and vandalized public and private
property. Chinese police used force to
suppress the demonstrations. Tibetan leaders
said that more than 100 Tibetans were killed,
but Chinese officials said there were only
16 fatalities and denied that police had
used lethal force.
April 10: Nepal holds a historic
Millions of voters turned out to elect a
601-seat constituent assembly that would
write a new constitution. Maoist rebels,
who recently signed a peace agreement with
the government that ended the guerrillas’ 10-year
insurgency, vied for seats in the assembly.
On April 21, it was reported that the Maoists
won 120 out of 240 seats.
On May 28, the newly elected constituent
assembly voted to dissolve the 239-year-old
monarchy and form a republic. King Gyanendra
was told to step down in the following 15
May 12: Earthquake kills thousands
As many as 68,000 people were killed and
thousands injured when an estimated 7.9
magnitude earthquake hit the Sichuan, Gansu,
and Yunnan Provinces in western China.
Nearly 900 students were trapped when Juyuan
Middle School in the Sichuan Province collapsed,
The earthquake was China’s worst natural
disaster in three decades.
May 18: North Korea hints
at transparency — then takes it away
North Korea gave U.S. officials about 18,000
pages of documents detailing its efforts
in 1990, 2003, and 2005 to reprocess plutonium
for nuclear weapons. The country raised hopes
that it was on the path toward denuclearization.
However, months later, any progress seemed
to have ground to a halt as North Korea rescinded
the offer to inspectors and said it would
restart its plutonium reprocessing plant
at Yongbyon. The miasma was further complicated
by reports that President Kim Jong-Il had
suffered a stroke, leaving many to question
who was calling the shots in the secretive
July 16: Milk scandal in
China makes world headlines
The scandal broke after 16 infants in Gansu
Province, who had been fed on milk powder
produced by Sanlu Group, were diagnosed with
kidney stones. After the initial focus on
Sanlu, the market leader in the budget segment,
government inspections revealed the problem
existed to a lesser degree in products from
21 other companies, including Mengniu, Yili,
The issue has raised concerns about food
safety and political corruption in mainland
China, and it has damaged the reputation
of China’s food exports.
Aug. 8: The Summer Games
open, Michael Phelps makes history
The Games opened in Beijing with 14,000
performers and 91,000 spectators in the Bird’s
Nest Stadium. Dancing, music, and fireworks
entertained 840 million television viewers
On Aug. 13, U.S. swimmer Michael
Phelps won his 11th career gold medal, becoming
the first athlete in Olympic history to do
On Aug. 17, Michael Phelps won his eighth
gold medal, breaking the record set by Mark
Spitz in the 1972 Games. Phelps also set
the record for the most golds in a single
Sept. 1: Thai protests
turn violent, government declares state of
One person was killed and dozens were wounded
in a fight between supporters of an opposition
group and pro-government demonstrators. For
more than a week, thousands of protesters,
called People’s Alliance for Democracy
(PAD), staged a sit-in outside the government
buildings in Bangkok, calling for the resignation
of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. Pro-government
groups launched counterdemonstrations.
2, Sundaravej declared a state of emergency.
Nov. 26: Terrorists attack
More than 170 people were killed and about
300 were wounded in a series of attacks on
several of Mumbai’s landmarks and commercial
hubs that were popular with foreign tourists,
including two five-star hotels, a hospital,
a train station, and a cinema.
Indian officials said ten gunmen carried
out the attacks; it took Indian forces three
days to end the siege.
Deccan Mujahedeen, a previously unknown group,
claimed responsibility for the attacks. Pakistan
officials denied any involvement in the attacks,
but some Indian officials hinted that they
suspect Pakistani complicity.
This report was compiled by Northwest Asian Weekly staff. Infoplease.com contributed to this report.
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