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China intensifies its crackdown in Tibet PDF Print E-mail
[21 January 2013] In recent months, the Chinese government has intensified its crackdown in Tibet in an effort to stop Tibetans from protesting, particularly from self-immolating, and to prevent information of protests from spreading. As well as increased military deployments, restrictions on movement and the blocking of communication channels, regional authorities have announced punishments for those with connections to self-immolators and banned traditional funerals and prayer services for self-immolators. The Chinese government has also intensified its propaganda campaign to denounce the Dalai Lama and to extinguish expressions of Tibetan national identity.

"Increasingly pervasive and punitive security measures in response to protests have exacerbated the situation in Tibetan areas of China."
(Human Rights Watch, 29 November 2012)

Standard measures taken by Chinese authorities to quell unrest in Tibet:
    increased security; involving the deployment of military and/or armed police
    arbitrary arrests of community leaders and intellectuals
    restriction of movement; preventing civilians from leaving or entering certain areas
    blocking communication channels; including phone lines & internet connections
    banning foreign media, independent observers and tourists

Additional measures taken in Tibet in recent months (further details below):
    reinforcement of ban on Dalai Lama photos and separatist materials
    ban on funerals and prayer services for self-immolators
    cash rewards for information on self-immolations
    punishments for families, monasteries and villages of self-immolators
    intensification of propaganda drive denouncing the Dalai Lama
    murder charges for those inciting self-immolations
    ban on "illegal" satellite equipment
    ban on Tibetan language and culture classes

Click here to take action on the current crisis in Tibet

September 2012: Reinforcement of ban on Dalai Lama photos and separatist materials
Rebkong noticeOn 17 September, the authorities in Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren), Malho (Ch: Huangnan) prefecture, Amdo (now incorporated into Chinas Qinghai province), issued notices reinforcing the ban on pictures of the Dalai Lama and materials advocating Tibetan independence.

The notice (pictured right) stated that the ban includes the selling of photos of the Dalai Lama, or videos, pictures, books, writings, hangings and other objects inciting to split the country, publicising Tibetan independence or spreading obscene, pornographic and vulgar messages. The notice also explained that the ban is to create a harmonious and stable social and cultural environment for ensuring the successful convening of the 18th Party Congress.
Further reading: Phayul

October 2012: Ban on funerals and prayer services for self-immolators

Regional and local authorities have banned people from gathering for funerals and prayer services for those who died from self-immolation. Various reports have been received in recent months where local governments have announced the prohibition of traditional rituals for self-immolators. In some cases security officials have confiscated and cremated the body of the self-immolator without the next of kins knowledge and then returned the ashes to the family. Despite such bans, Tibetans continue to undertake traditional rituals, with gatherings of hundreds and thousands of Tibetans reported for the funerals of self-immolators.

Several examples of bans and restrictions on traditional rituals for self-immolators:
►  In October 2012, authorities in Labrang county (Ch: Xiahe), Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) prefecture, Amdo (Gansu province), prevented monks from Labrang monastery from visiting the homes of self-immolators and from holding prayer services for the deceased at the monastery.
►  On 18 November 2012, local government officials held a public meeting in Dokarmo town, Rebkong county where it was announced that Tibetans were barred from visiting the families of self-immolators. The Chinese officials also threatened to shut down monasteries if prayer services and funerals for self-immolators continued. Later the same day, Sangdag Tsering self-immolated in front of the local government office in Dokarmo.
Tsering Tashi
►  On 12 January 2013, the Chinese authorities in Labrang county, prevented traditional rituals being performed for the self-immolator Tsering Tashi (pictured right). Monks were stopped from performing a prayer service and the family were threatened with punishment unless the body was cremated immediately.
Further reading: Tibet Society - 24 Oct, 19 Nov, 14 Jan
ICT - 19 Nov

October & November 2012: Cash rewards for information on self-immolations

Kanlho noticeOn 21 October, the authorities in Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) prefecture, Amdo (Gansu province), announced cash rewards between 50,000 Yuan (US $8,000) and 200,000 Yuan (US $32,000) for information on the sources of scheming, planning, and instigating of self-immolations. The public notices (pictured right), posted across region, called the protests acts against humanity and society, and against the [Chinese] constitution. The announcement came after three self-immolations had taken place in Kanlho in the preceding two weeks.

Malho noticen November, the Malho authorities announced similar cash rewards for those exposing crimes related to the self-immolations The crimes referred to in public notices (pictured right) included inciting self-immolations, unlawfully distributing images of self-immolations, offering condolences to the family members of self-immolators, displaying portraits of the Dalai Lama during funerals of self-immolators, raising separatist slogans and spreading rumours. Rewards were also offered to those who prevent self-immolators from carrying out their protests.
Further reading: RFA I ICT I Phayul

November 2012: Families, monasteries and villages of self-immolators to be punished

On 14 November, as the number of self-immolation protests continued to escalate, the Malho authorities announced collective punishments for those associated with self-immolations. Similar sanctions are also understood to been imposed in Lhasa, where two self-immolations occurred in May 2012.

The public notice, issued in Tibetan and Chinese and addressed to county level officials and police, orders local officials to strictly crack down on [] criminals who despicably manipulate people who do not understand the real situation and incite them to self-immolate and create social grievances and to smash disorder, in order to maintain general harmony and stability in the prefecture.

In particular, the notice states that families of self-immolators and those who offer condolences and prayers to the bereaved family members, including monks, will lose all government aid and benefits. Villages and monasteries where protests take place will not be eligible for development funding for three years and any projects already approved would be cancelled. Monasteries are threatened with closure if they are found to have organised funerals or prayer services for self-immolators.

Local leaders from areas where self-immolations have taken place also come under scrutiny, and face strict punishments and dismissal if found to have failed to take appropriate actions to maintain stability.

The use of collective punishment is contrary to international human rights law, and in these instances also infringe on the rights to freedom of religion and belief.
Further reading: TCHRD I RFA I Phayul I Full translation of notice (by TCHRD)

November 2012: Intensification of propaganda drive denouncing the Dalai Lama

In recent months the Chinese government has intensified its campaign against the Dalai Lama, blaming him for the wave of self-immolations and protests in Tibet.

Several examples of China's recent campaign against the Dalai Lama:
►  In November, Malho officials, whilst announcing their punishments for families, monasteries and villages related to self-immolators (see above), blamed the Dalai Lama and his supporters for the wave of self-immolations and protests, saying, The incidents are clearly a case of the Dalai group, while wearing the cloak of religion, using self-immolation to encourage social grievance and incite unrest among students to create social disturbance in an attempt to split the nation.
Tsolho booklet
►  Authorities in Tsolho (Ch: Hainan) prefecture, Amdo (Qinghai province) published a booklet  (pictured right) in November which denounced the self-immolations and public protests as well as expounding upon government policies on languages, religion, culture and the environment. The Dalai Lama is referred to as "as a political itinerant who wants to split the Chinese Motherland and [is] a political tool of Western opposition against China." Over a thousand students demonstrated in Chabcha following the distribution of the booklet.
Yu Zhengsheng
►  In early January 2013, Yu Zhengsheng (pictured right), one of the seven members of Chinas Politburo, during an official visit to Tibet, called for the continuation of the fight against the Dalai Lama clique to create a favourable social and political environment. Mr Yu also called on monks and nuns to support the government and to be patriotic.
Further reading: Tibet Society (30 Nov), Phayul (9 Jan)

December 2012: Murder charges for those inciting self-immolations

On 5 December, Chinas Supreme Court announced that intentional murder should apply to anyone urging Tibetans to set themselves alight. The statement, published in the Gannan Daily (a state-run newspaper based in Gansu province), said, Those criminals behind the scenes who plan, incite, aide, abet... and help those perpetrating self-immolations will be investigated for criminal liability in the crime of intentional murder.

The article also claimed the self-immolations were organised by separatists and foreign agents. The recent self-immolations in Tibetan areas are mutually linked to hostile forces in and out of China, they are plotted, organised and incited by separatist nations and are seriously odious incidents aimed at destroying ethnic unity and fomenting social disorder.
Further reading: Phayul
Warning: the report contains a graphic image of a self-immolation

December 2012: Ban on "illegal" satellite equipment

Malho officials burning satellite equipmentOn 24 December 2012, the Malho authorities announced a ban on the selling, purchase and use of "illegal satellite equipment". Those failing to remove unregistered satellite dishes face prosecution. Chinese police and security officials have already removed televisions and satellite dishes from 300 monasteries in the region.

Local government officials have stated they are running a campaign to "guide public opinion on the Dalai issue" and "block outside harmful information". Tibetans are being encouraged to buy new equipment which is believed to only carry official, state-approved channels.

Tibetans use illegal satellite equipment to receive foreign radio and TV programmes banned by the Chinese government, such as Radio Free Asia, Voice of America and Voice of Tibet, which are the main source of non-censored news and information.
Further reading: Reuters (via VOA) I RFA I Phayul

January 2013: Ban on Tibetan language and culture classes

Chinese authorities have banned Tibetan language and culture classes in at least one township and several monasteries in eastern Tibet. A volunteer-run programme initiated in 2012 in Muge Norwa township, Zungchu (Ch: Songpan) county, Ngaba (Ch: Aba), Amdo (now part of Sichuan province), was forced to close by the local government. The volunteers attempted to restart the classes in a new location, but these were also shut down. Officials in Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) prefecture, Kham (also now part of Sichuan province), are reported to have shut down similar classes at Beri monastery in Kardze county, and monasteries in Dege county.
Further reading: RFA

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