Security increase reported after Tibet protests

China has ramped up security in Tibetan areas, rights groups and residents said on Friday, after new self-immolation protests belied boasts of national unity at a key Communist Party congress in Beijing.

Six such incidents since Wednesday -- the eve of the gathering where the ruling party names its new leaders -- capped a recent escalation that marks the worst outbreak of Tibetan discontent since massive anti-China rioting in 2008.

Tibetan experts said the latest spate seemed timed to coincide with the congress and could prompt a further spiral of clampdowns and immolations, deepening the divide between Tibetans and authorities.

Armed police in paramilitary vehicles stepped up patrols in Tongren in the northwestern province of Qinghai after "thousands of protesters" took to the streets on Thursday, the UK-based Free Tibet group said in a statement.

"There are lots of police on the streets. They have increased their patrols and they stay out for 24 hours a day," a shop owner in the town centre who refused to give her name told AFP by phone.

Police in Tongren refused to comment when contacted by AFP.

Tibetan anger at Beijing's control has simmered for decades but burst out into violent riots against Chinese rule in the Tibet regional capital Lhasa and adjacent areas in March 2008.

The protests left 20 people dead, according to the government, while exiled Tibetans put the figure at 203, and prompted a massive security clampdown across Tibetan areas of southwestern China that remains to this day.

Tibetans' continued frustration has since been displayed by the immolations, in which 69 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009, with 54 of them dying, according to the India-based Tibetan government in exile.

The situation is now a "vicious cycle" likely to plague China's stability-driven leaders indefinitely, despite Beijing's efforts to win over Tibetans by pushing economic development, said Tsering Shakya, a Tibet expert at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

"No matter how many Tibetans might protest, how many immolations might happen, the new Chinese leadership will not make any concession to the protesters," he said.

"They see that as a central issue of the authority of the Chinese government."

The spokesman for the Tibetan government in exile in India urged China to address Tibetan frustrations even while acknowledging that it would likely maintain its hard line and immolations would persist after this latest spike.

"The immolations are intended at sending out a strong message to the new leadership taking part in the Congress," said Lobsang Choedak, a view Shakya shared.

An 18-year-old man burnt himself to death on Thursday outside a monastery in Huangnan prefecture in Qinghai province, where a 23-year-old woman also died after setting herself alight on Wednesday, the India-based exile government announced.

A trio of young monks also set themselves alight on Wednesday in Aba County in Sichuan province, with one dying of his injuries, while another burning was confirmed in the Tibetan Autonomous Region on the same day.

China's leaders blame the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama -- who is deeply revered among Tibetans in China -- for fomenting unrest, a charge he denies.

"Conspiring to lead others to kill themselves is in and of itself criminal behaviour, and in Chinese law this constitutes the crime of intentional murder," Luosang Jiangcun, a member of the party committee overseeing Tibet and congress delegate, told reporters on Friday.

"The 'Dalai clique' sacrificing others' lives to achieve its own hidden political goals -- we believe this violates humankind's common understanding and morals".

Analysts say they fear that showing any weakness could embolden Tibetan protests and possibly spur other groups such as Muslim Uighurs in the far west region of Xinjiang to step up their demands.

Many Tibetans accuse the government of cultural and religious repression and are angry with the migration of majority Han Chinese to Tibetan areas.

China maintains that Tibetans enjoy religious freedom and improved living standards thanks to government investment in economic development.

Talks between China and representatives of the Dalai Lama broke down in 2010.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • 3 Pinays on Forbes power women list
    3 Pinays on Forbes power women list

    Three Filipina executives, who are all daughters of known business tycoons in the country, made it to Forbes’ list of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in Asia. Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairman of SM Investments and chairman of BDO Universal Bank, was included in the list for the fourth year in a row since its inception. “Under her (Sy-Coson) lead SMIC became the largest listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange by market cap. Also in the 2015 list is 70-year-old Helen Yuchengco-Dee, …

  • China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral
    China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral

    China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top US Navy admiral told US lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR
    Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR

    Malacañang is leaving it up to Congress and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to consider a proposed special tax exemption for boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in his much-awaited fight with Floyd Mayweather. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options