PROTESTS AFTER 2008 TIBETAN RIOTS
protest at Labrang There have been reports of violence and small uprisings since the 2008 uprising. Many protests and troubles were in Aba. Aba is in Sichuan Province, which contains large swaths of the Tibetan area known as Kham and parts of Amdo. The Tibetans of Kham, known as Khampas, have a reputation for impassioned ferocity. In the spring of 2008, many Khampas and people in Amdo took part in a widespread uprising against Chinese rule that began with protests and riots in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital.
Things remained very tense in the Ganze area of Sichuan. Incidents occurred there almost daily. In March 2009, on Tibetan monk was killed and eight people were wounded in a clash between Tibetan farmers and para military police. Farmers had refused to plant crops and were forced to by Chinese Security forces. There were unconfirmed reports that Chinese troops opened fire on protesters in the eastern Tibetan region of Kham and 140 people were killed,
In March 2009, during the first anniversary of the 2008 Tibetan uprising, Tibetan exile groups reported several small protests in support of independence and the exiled Dalai Lama, including at least one on anniversary of rioting. News agencies reported: “ Paramilitary police have sealed off almost all Tibetan areas of China to foreign journalists and tourists for more than one week while the government has tightened border security and cut off some text messaging and other mobile telephone services in Lhasa and other Tibetan areas. "Tibet is virtually under undeclared martial law as the Chinese government has deployed massive paramilitary forces across the length of Tibet," the Tibetan government-in-exile said. In Lhasa troops in full battle dress reportedly patrolled deserted streets in the city centre.
In March 2009, hundreds of monks at Sey monastery in Aba prefecture in Sichuan Province staged a protest after Chinese officials banned prayers during the Monlam Buddhist festival. Chinese security forces responded by surrounding the monastery after the monks returned and put them under what Tibetan activists called a lockdown. A week earlier a monk protesting the ban on prayers set himself on fire and was shot at nearby Kirti monastery
In March 2009, nearly 100 protesters, most of them monks, were detained after riots broke out at the Ragya monastery and crowds stormed the local police station in the Golog region of Qinghai. The altercation began when a rumor spread of the disappearance of man arrested for advocating Tibetan independence. Authorities said six were arrested and 89 others had surrendered to the police. A few days earlier a bomb was set off in a government building in a Tibetan part of western China’s Sichuan Province. About a week earlier, a police car and a fire truck were damaged by minor explosions in a Tibetan part of Qinghai.
In the spring of 2009, Tibetan farmers in Sichuan expressed their discontent by refusing to plant crops, Alarmed by situation Beijing sent troops to the region to work with the farmers and do the planting themselves if need be. The extent of the protests were hard to gage but were large enough that the Dalai Lama issued an appeal, telling the farmers they were mainly hurting themselves and stop their “refusal to till the fields.”
The Dalai Lama said in August 2008, ‘since the riots in March, reliable witnesses have established that 400 people have been killed in the Lhasa area alone.
Protest During Tibetan New Year in 2009
Many Tibetans did not celebrate New Year in February 2009 as an expression of their discontent and a sign of respect for those who died in the Lhasa riots. Losar, the Tibetan New Year, fell a few weeks ahead of the 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, and a year after a crackdown on renewed ethnic unrest in this area, Tibetans staged low-key but angry protests.[Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, February 25, 2009]
Edward Wong wrote in the New York Times, “Tibetans are quietly but irrepressibly seething. Monks, nomads and merchants have turned the joyous Losar holiday into a dirge, memorializing Tibetans who died in last year’s conflict and pining for the return of the exiled Dalai Lama. An informal grass-roots boycott is under way. Tibetans are forsaking dancing and dinner parties for vigils with yak-butter candles and the chanting of prayers. The Losar campaign signifies the discontent that many of China’s six million Tibetans still feel toward domination by the ethnic Han Chinese. They are resisting pressure by Chinese officials to celebrate and forget.”
“Tibetans here and in other towns, including in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, say government officials have handed out money to Tibetans to entice them to hold exuberant new year parties. On Wednesday, state-run television showed Tibetans in Lhasa dancing, shooting off fireworks and feasting in their homes. At the same time, the government has drawn a curtain across Tibet. Officials have shut down access to many Tibetan regions to foreigners and sent armed guards to patrol the streets.”
“Here in eastern Qinghai Province, near the Dalai Lama’s birthplace, the boycott of festivities began as early as January, during the Chinese Lunar New Year...I n Tongren, called Rebkong by Tibetans, one of the few bursts of firecrackers took place outside a Chinese paramilitary compound. “The government thinks we should celebrate this holiday properly,” said Shartsang, the abbot of Rongwo Monastery. “Certainly this year people haven’t celebrated it in the same way they did in past years.”
The campaign for the boycott of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, has spread via text and e-mail messages and fliers. The call for a boycott began several months earlier and gained traction among younger Tibetans as well as intellectuals and dissidents. It was endorsed by overseas Tibetans, including the government in exile in Dharamsala, India. It’s deeply connected with Tibetan culture, the idea that after such a horrible year filled with death, how can we celebrate? Woeser, a popular Tibetan blogger, said in an interview. Instead, it should be a memorial. [Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, February 18, 2009]
Protests in Qinghai Over Efforts to Curb the Tibetan Language
In October 2010, at least 1,000 ethnic Tibetan students in the town on Tongrem (Rebkong) in Qinghai Province protested curbs against the use of the Tibetan language. They marched through the streets, shouting slogans but were left alone by police observors told Reuters. [Source: AFP, Reuters, South China Morning Post, October 22, 2010]
The protests spread to other towns in northwestern China, and attracted not university students but also high school students angry over plans to scrap the two language system and make Chinese the only instruction in school, London-based Free Tibet rights said. Thousands of middle school students had protested in Qinghai province's Malho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in anger at being forced to study in the Chinese language. About 2,000 students from four schools in the town of Chabcha in Tsolho prefecture marched to the local government building, chanting “We want freedom for the Tibetan language,” the group said. They were later turned back by police and teachers, it said. Students also protested in the town of Dawu in the Golog Tibetan prefecture. Police responded by preventing local residents from going out into the streets, it said.
Local government officials in the areas denied any protests. “We have had no protests here. The students are calm here,” said an official with the Gonghe county government in Tsolho, who identified himself only by his surname Li. Local officials in China face pressure from their seniors to maintain stability and typically deny reports of unrest in their areas.
The protests were sparked by education reforms in Qinghai requiring all subjects to be taught in Mandarin and all textbooks to be printed in Chinese except for Tibetan-language and English classes, Free Tibet said. “The use of Tibetan is being systematically wiped out as part of China's strategy to cement its occupation of Tibet,” Free Tibet said earlier this week. The area was the scene of violent anti-Chinese protests in March 2008 that started in Tibet's capital Lhasa and spread to nearby regions with large Tibetan populations such as Qinghai.
Chinese Police Kill Tibetan Man and Wound Two in the Golog Area of Qinghai
In March 2012, AP reported: “Police in western China fatally shot a Tibetan man and wounded two others amid protests against Chinese rule, an activist group and a U.S. broadcaster said. The three men were shot Tuesday by police who were looking for or had detained another man in connection with a Jan. 25 incident in which protesters tore down a Chinese flag at a police station in a Tibetan area of Qinghai province, according to London-based Free Tibet and Radio Free Asia. Both cited unidentified sources in the area.[Source: Joe McDonald, Associated Press, March 9, 2012]
Employees who answered the phone at local government and police offices in Pema county and the prefecture where it is located, Golog, said they had not heard of the shootings. The latest protests come at a sensitive time for Tibet and China. China's national legislature is meeting amid heightened security throughout the country. March also is when Tibetans mark significant anniversaries, including that of the unsuccessful 1959 revolt during which the Dalai Lama left for exile in India, and deadly anti-government riots that rocked the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in 2008.
Free Tibet said the man who was killed, identified as Choeri, and the two who were wounded were shot after they went to a police station to object to the arrest of another man. It said that man, Thubwang, was believed to be a leader of the protest. Radio Free Asia said the three men were shot while trying to protect Thubwang during a police manhunt. The two wounded men are brothers, identified as Karkho and Jampel Lodroe, Free Tibet said. One was wounded in the arm and the other in the leg, and both were treated at a local hospital, it said.
Tibetan Protesters Fired on and Killed in Western Sichuan
A wave of protests by Tibetans and crackdowns by Chinese authorities that lasted about a week in late January 2012 killed an estimated seven people and injured more than 60. After the first day of violence, the New York Times reported: ‘security forces opened fire on Tibetan protesters in western China on Monday, wounding at least 32 people and killing at least one of them in the largest violent confrontation in ethnic Tibetan areas of China since 2008, two Tibetan rights groups and the Tibetan exile government said Free Tibet, a group based in London, said tensions remained high into the evening after the shootings in Luhuo, which is known in Tibetan as Draggo and located in westernmost Sichuan Province, near the border with Tibet. [Source: Keith Bradsher, New York Times, January 23, 2012]
It was the second reported shooting of Tibetan protesters in the past week and a half. The previous one, on Jan. 14, in which two people were reported wounded, took place in Aba, also located in Sichuan Province and 100 miles northeast of Luhuo. The combination of increasingly frequent confrontations and rising casualties during them “underlines how the situation is escalating,” said Stephanie Brigden, the director of Free Tibet. The official Xinhua news agency had no report on the latest shooting. Internet access to the area was cut off by the authorities, apparently to slow the dissemination of information.
Free Tibet identified the slain protester as Norpa Yonten, a 49-year-old layman. The International Campaign for Tibet, a rights group based in Washington, said that he was the brother of a reincarnated lama. Ms. Brigden said the group had the names of 31 more people with gunshot wounds. She said other people had been shot and injured but their names were not immediately available.
Kate Saunders, a spokeswoman for the International Campaign for Tibet, said that three people, including Mr. Yonten, had been killed and that 49 people had sought treatment for injuries at a clinic operated by monks. Of the 49, nine had gunshot wounds and 40 had various injuries from beatings and other causes, she said. People in China wounded by gunshots are often leery of going to hospitals, fearing that they will face questioning and possibly retaliation by the authorities.
The Tibetan exile government in India said in a statement on its Web site that it had confirmed one death in the Luhuo shooting but that it had heard other reports that as many as six people had been killed. “The Tibetan Parliament is deeply aggrieved by the incidents and condemns the Chinese authorities for resorting to such drastic acts of force and repression,” the exile government said.
There were varied reports on Monday regarding the cause of the violence in Luhuo, including one that the protesters may have sought the release of people detained for distributing leaflets calling for greater freedom for Tibetans, or that the protest was part of a local boycott against Chinese celebrations of the Lunar New Year. Tibetans traditionally celebrate the arrival of the new year a month later.
Free Tibet had said that the protest might have started with demands for religious freedom, or with a refusal to observe Chinese New Year. “There had been some stones thrown, but we?re uncertain about the sequence of events, whether that was after the security forces opened fire,” Ms. Brigden said.
Luhuo lies in Ganzi Prefecture, known in Tibetan as the Kandze Prefecture. The prefecture has been one of the most turbulent areas of ethnic Tibetan unrest for the past four years. On March 24, 2008, a monk was shot and killed as police officers fired on a crowd. Anticipating further protests during Tibetan new year celebrations or on the fourth anniversary of violent protests in March 2008, the Chinese government informed travel agencies last week that foreigners would not be allowed to travel in Tibet from Feb. 20 to March 31.
Tibetan Confrontation Spreads in Western Sichuan Tibetan Region
On January 24, 2012, Keith Bradsher wrote in the New York Times, “Deadly showdowns between Chinese security forces and Tibetans in a restive region of western China spread to a second town outside advocacy groups reported. At least two and perhaps as many as five Tibetans were killed by gunfire and many more wounded, the groups said, in what appeared to be the most violent outbreak in the region in nearly four years. [Source: Keith Bradsher, New York Times, January 24, 2012]
The new confrontation, in the town of Seda, known in Tibetan as Serthar, was reported by Free Tibet, a London-based organization that advocates Tibetan autonomy, and by Phayul.com, a Tibetan exile Web portal. Their accounts said that Chinese security forces opened fire on a crowd of Tibetan protesters in Serthar. Free Tibet said that it had confirmed two deaths and an unspecified number with ‘serious wounds,” and that the town was under curfew. “This is the second consecutive day that Chinese forces have opened fire and killed unarmed Tibetan protesters,” said Stephanie Brigden, director of Free Tibet.
The Phayul.com account of the Serthar shooting said that five Tibetan protesters had been killed and more than 40 wounded, that all shops in the town were closed and that Serthar was “under virtual martial law, with large numbers of Chinese security personnel maintaining a strict surveillance.” The Serthar confrontation came one day after a conflict in the neighboring community of Luhuo. Both towns are in Sichuan Province.
On January 27, Sebastien Blanc of AFP wrote: Chinese police shot dead another Tibetan protester in the restive Sichuan province, rights groups, bringing to at least three the number killed in deadly clashes this week. Urgen, a 20-year-old Tibetan, died in Sichuan's Rangtang county when police fired into a crowd trying to stop them from detaining another man, the US-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and India-based TCHRD said. It was the third reported deadly clash this week in western Sichuan. [Source: Sebastien Blanc, AFP News, January 27, 2012]
Chinese Side on the Tibetan Violence in Western Sichuan
In February 2012, AP reported: “Tibetan separatists who attacked police stations with rocks and Molotov cocktails sparked deadly violence in Sichuan, the Chinese government said Wednesday, countering claims by rights groups that police fired on unarmed protesters. The government-run China Daily newspaper quoted extensively from a Sichuan government statement that said two Tibetan rioters were killed and 24 police and firefighters were injured in two clashes. The account differs from those of Tibetan support groups outside the country who say police fired on demonstrators in three separate areas, killing at least six Tibetans. [Source: Alexa Olesen, AP, February 2, 2012]
Independent confirmation of the clashes is difficult due to a heavy security presence and lack of access to outsiders. Repeated calls to Luhuo and Seda, two of the affected counties, would not go through Wednesday and phone companies said there were problems with area land lines and mobile networks. Security in the area has been stepped up since the clashes. The state-run Global Times newspaper said Wednesday that armed police were checking vehicles at checkpoints along roads leading to the remote counties.
According to the China Daily report, the Sichuan government said the first violence broke out Jan. 23 in Luhuo when a group of separatists armed with rocks, batons and blades marched along a street shouting 'Tibetan independence' before trying to storm a police station. It said the rioters attacked police cars, broke the windows of the police station and tried to steal guns from armed police officers. The paper quoted the government as saying “the officers were forced to take actions to defend themselves according to the law.” “No country governed by law would tolerate such violence directed against police and aimed at separating the country,” it said.
By the government's account, 10 officers and firefighters were injured and one rioter was killed in the first incident. The next day in Sichuan's Seda county, it said, another group attacked a police station with Molotov cocktails. It said one rioter was killed “after the police fought back.” The report didn't say if police opened fire. “Evidence shows that the violent attacks ... were long plotted by separatist forces,” the paper quoted the government as saying. The article also said separatists have been trying to stir up unrest in the area and have “asked and encouraged monks to commit suicide by self-immolation.”
Many Tibetans resent Beijing's heavy-handed rule and the large-scale migration of China's ethnic Han majority into Tibetan areas. This is the region's most violent period since 2008, when deadly rioting in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, spread to Tibetan areas in adjoining provinces. China responded by flooding the area with troops.
Protests by Tibetan Students in November 2012
In late November 2012, AP reported: “At least 20 were hospitalized after clashing with police in a protest over a government booklet calling the Tibetan language irrelevant, a report and exile groups said. [Source: AP, Malcolm Moore, The Telegraph, November 27, 2012]
The 20 students were hospitalized after a protest turned violent in Qinghai province's Hainan prefecture, U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Asia said in an emailed statement that cited Tibetan exile sources who were in touch with Hainan residents. London-based exile group Free Tibet said up to 1,000 students took part in the demonstration.
Radio Free Asia said students were angry over a booklet distributed at Tsolho Medical Institute in Hainan that called Tibetan irrelevant and condemned immolation protests by Tibetans as "acts of stupidity." It said students burned the books in their protest.
Malcolm Moore wrote The Telegraph: The circulation of a ten-point questionnaire to students at the Sorig Lobling high school in Chabcha provoked a 1,000-strong protest. The questions put before the students included: "Who is agitating for separatism and causing unrest?" and "What is the reason behind the self-immolation protests?" "The protest was peaceful until around 9am, at which point security forces arrived," said a statement from Free Tibet. "It is unclear what happened next. However, an eyewitness confirms that many students were injured and taken to hospital". The campaign group said 20 people had been admitted to hospital with four needing emergency treatment. It added that school is now under "complete lockdown".
dead Tibetans in Ngaba
Tibetan Man 'Beaten to Death During Police Clash'
In August 2012, AP reported: “A Tibetan man was reportedly beaten to death during a clash with police in west China after two Tibetans set themselves on fire, in the worst flaring of violence in the region in months. The violence occurred in Sichuan province's Aba prefecture, which has emerged as a centre of political activism and the site of dozens of self-immolations in the past few years. The area, home to the influential Kirti Monastery, has been flooded with security forces, but they have been unable to stop the immolation protests. [Source: AP, August 14, 2012]
Radio Free Asia said in an emailed statement that a Kirti monk named Lungtok and another man, identified only as Tashi, set themselves alight Monday evening. It cited a Tibetan in the Aba area who was not identified by name and other unidentified people inside Tibet. The report said a large number of police tried to clear the immolation site and ended up clashing with Tibetans. It said one man was beaten to death, but gave no other details. There was no way to independently confirm the report.
A woman who answered the telephone at the Aba police department said there had been no immolations or confrontations between police and Tibetan locals. "Nothing like that has happened," said the woman, who like many bureaucrats in China refused to give her name. At least 17 were monks or former monks from Kirti have set themselves on fire, according to an earlier tally from the International Campaign for Tibet.
The clash with police marked the worst flaring of violence in Sichuan since a series of protests in January 2012 that Tibetan activist groups say left six Tibetans dead. The Chinese government said at the time that two rioters were killed.
Around the same time Afp reported: “Hundreds of Tibetans demonstrated in northwest China after police beat four people, an exile group and a US broadcaster said, following a recent string of self-immolations in the region. The London-based Free Tibet said hundreds of people gathered outside police headquarters in Qinghai province's Tongren county after police dragged four ethnic Tibetans from a car, beat them and threatened them with guns. US broadcaster Radio Free Asia quoted witnesses as saying the police appeared to be drunk, and "severely beat" the four men. "Tensions are high as Tibetans are not prepared to sit back and allow Chinese state oppression to continue unchallenged," said Free Tibet director Stephanie Brigden. [Source: AFP, August 16, 2012]
Chinese Police Fire at Tibetan Protesters in 2013
In July 2013, Reuters reported: Police in Ganzi opened fire on a group of monks and others who had gathered to mark Dalai Lama's birthday over the weekend, seriously injuring at least two, the U.S.-based International Campaign for Tibet said. Officials reached by telephone in Ganzi said they had no knowledge of the incident. While Chinese security forces often use heavy-handed tactics to stop protests in Tibetan regions, they rarely use guns.[Source: Ben Blanchard, Reuters, July 9, 2013] In October 2013, Radio Free Asia reported that Chinese security forces fired into a crowd of Tibetan residents who were demanding the release of a fellow villager detained for protesting orders to display the national flag in Biru county in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Chinese police also fired tear gas at those protesting and dozens were injured. The source of the report, was unnamed local and exiled Tibetan sources. [Source: Associated Press, October 8, 2013]
According to Associated Press: “Reports of police using force to disperse protests in China are common, but shooting into crowds is rare and the number of injuries would be unusually high. The International Campaign for Tibet earlier reported that authorities had intensified the security presence in Biru county and nearby areas after residents refused orders to display Chinese flags to commemorate National Day on Oct. 1. The ICT, a Tibetan rights group, said government work teams had been sent to Biru, known as Driru in Tibetan, ahead of the national holiday to compel local Tibetan residents to fly the flag as part of an intensified effort to enforce loyalty to the Communist Party.
Protesters were calling for the release of a local resident, Dorje Draktsel, who was detained last week after participating in demonstrations against the flag order, the Radio Free Asia report said. The self-proclaimed Tibetan government-in-exile based in India said it has received reports of the firing in Driru but had few details to provide. Spokesman Tashi Phuntsok said by phone that the exiled Tibetans had heard that some protesters were injured but did not know how many.
Five Tibetans Die in Protests and In Chinese Police Custody in 2014
In August 2014, the Tibetan government in exile reported that five Tibetans died in police custody in southwestern China after a protest during which residents were shot and wounded. according to the exiled Tibetan government and other groups abroad. The accounts described violence and tensions Ganze, a mountainous area also known as Ganzi where many Tibetans live in Sichuan Province. The reports of deaths and bloodshed were not confirmed by Chinese state news media. [Source: Chris Buckley, New York Times, August 20, 2014 ^\^]
Chris Buckley wrote in the New York Times, “The Tibetan government in exile, in Dharamsala, India, said that five men had died in police custody after being detained following a protest in which the police shot at and used tear gas on an unarmed crowd in Ganzi . The region, known to Tibetans as Kardze or Garze, has long been a center of protest and defiance against the Chinese government. Residents had gathered to demand that the government release a respected leader of the village of Shugpa in Ganzi, who had been detained after he complained “against the mistreatment and harassment of Tibetans by the Chinese authorities,” the Tibetan administration said on its website. ^\^
“One of the detainees, Lo Palsang, killed himself in detention in Luoxu Township, the report said. Additionally, “an unidentified 22-year-old Tibetan youth succumbed to injuries sustained during the police firing,” according to the report. Free Tibet said on its website that the three additional victims were all relatives of the arrested village leader.“It is not known when they died, but their bodies were handed over to their families,” said the report from the exiled administration, which, like the other reports, cited unnamed sources. But information can be difficult to obtain from the tense area, and the reports did not describe how Lo Palsang had taken his life. The reports gave different estimates of how many people had been detained and varied explanations of the complaints that led to the protest. Contradicting the initial reports, the International Campaign for Tibet said that the security forces did not appear to have fired on the protesters with live ammunition. “Some form of anti-riot projectiles were fired,” it said. ^\^
Reuters reported: The protest erupted over the detention of a respected village leader in the Ganzi prefecture. Tsewang Gonpo, 60; Yeshe, 42; and Jinpa Tharchin, 18 died in detention in Ganzi after being denied medical treatment for their injuries, the U.K.-based Free Tibet group said in a statement. "This shooting and the subsequent treatment of detainees exposes the reality of China's so-called 'rule of law' in Tibet," said Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren. The three Tibetans were relatives of Wangdak, the leader taken into custody last week after he disagreed with authorities over the harassment of female community members by officials and a measure outlawing local festivals, the rights group said. Wangdak's detention sparked protests by around 100 Tibetans and security forces opened fire, injuring at least 10 people, it added. [Source: Reuters, August 20, 2014]
“Ganzi has been plagued by violent clashes between Tibetans and Chinese authorities despite tight security. U.S.-based group International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) says two Tibetans were shot in the head and at least eight others seriously wounded after police opened fire on unarmed Tibetans who had gathered to mark the Dalai Lama's birthday in 2013.
The International Campaign for Tibet said police opened fire Aug. 12 on about 100 protesters who were upset about police treatment of people in the region. It said police have also been rounding up young men in the region, which has been site of repeated violence. Barry Sautman, a social science professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology who studies ethnic minorities in China, told Associated Press: "It probably means that Garze continues to be an area where there's the most likelihood of confrontation between the authorities and local people. In the Tibet Autonomous Region, there's nowhere near the level of manifested discontent as there is in Garze." [Source: Associated Press, August 19, 2014]
China Cracks Down on Tibetan Protests
In January 2013, Associated Press reported: “Chinese authorities are responding to an intensified wave of Tibetan self-immolation protests against Chinese rule by clamping down even harder - criminalizing the suicides, arresting protesters' friends and even confiscating thousands of satellite TV dishes.The harsh measures provide an early indication that the country's new leadership is not easing up on Tibet despite the burning protests and international condemnation. Authorities have responded to the self-immolations by sending in security forces to seal off areas and prevent information from getting out, but those efforts did not stop or slow the protests. [Source: Associated Press, January 18, 2013 |~|]
“The self-immolations even accelerated in November 2013 when China's ruling Communist Party held a pivotal leadership transition. Then the government went on the offensive in December, announcing through a state-owned newspaper that the burnings are the work of foreign hostile forces keen on separating Tibet from China and that those who help others self-immolate are liable to be prosecuted for murder. Arrests quickly followed. |~|
"Tibet is getting into the global evening news because of self-immolations and so there's this anxiety to bring it under control," said Michael Davis, a law professor and Tibet expert at the University of Hong Kong. Davis said he expected the government to continue to take a repressive and conservative approach. "The new leadership will be particularly anxious not to have any of these problems blow up in their face." "I think self-immolations and all of this suggest that they are not winning the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people and in fact the more repressive they are, the more resistance they encounter, so it's a kind of vicious circle," Davis said. |~|
In February 2013, Associated Press reported: “China's government says it has detained 70 people in ethnic Tibetan areas as it steps up a crackdown on self-immolations aimed at protesting communist rule. The latest detentions occurred in an ethnic Tibetan area of Qinghai province, which abuts Tibet, the government's Xinhua News Agency reported late Thursday. It said 12 of those detained were formally arrested but gave no details of the charges. "The Dalai Lama clique masterminded and incited the self-immolations," said Xinhua, citing a police official. "Personal information, such as photos of the victims, were sent overseas to promote the self-immolations." [Source: AP, February 7, 2013]
“The burnings have galvanized many Tibetans, who see them as selfless acts of sacrifice, making it hard for authorities to denounce the immolators. The Voice of America, a U.S. government-financed broadcaster, denied accusations by Chinese state television and a government newspaper that it encouraged the burnings. The U.S. State Department expressed concern about the "deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas" and the use of criminal laws against people associated with protesters. "Our concern is that there are deep grievances within the Tibetan population which are not being addressed openly and through dialogue by the Chinese government," said a department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland.
Street Brawl 'Between Chinese and Tibetans' in Beijing
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei on Sunday uploaded this video of a fierce brawl in Beijing's Guijie Street, describing it as a fight between Tibetan and Han Chinese street vendors. Beijing-based Tibetan activist Tsering Woeser commented in a tweet  that she discovered that most Tibetan hawkers belonged to the Qiang ethnic minority from Aba prefecture in Sichuan province. [Source: Patrick Boehler, South China Morning Post, May 13, 2013]
Around 10,000 Tibetans lived in the capital, a 2011 study estimated They make up a tiny minority in the megacity of 19.7 million people.
Image Sources: Tibet Uprising.org
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Last updated July 2015