News / Asia

Protests Follow Wave of Immolations in Tibetan Areas of China

Tibet analysts and human rights advocates say the spread of protests in Tibetan parts of China are the latest sign of growing dissatisfaction among Tibetans with Chinese government policies. And there is concern now, they say, that the situation could get much worse.

Concern about protests in Tibetan areas of China, particularly in the southwestern province of Sichuan, have been building since March of last year. Since then, at least 16 Tibetan monks and nuns, and some former monks have burned themselves to death to protest China's policies.

Sophie Richardson, the China director at Human Rights Watch in Washington D.C. says that while some may have hoped the immolations were isolated incidents and an aberration, it is clear now that this is not the case.

"The numbers of them (immolations) that we've seen, even just in the past couple of weeks, the fact that they are spreading geographically, the fact that there are now other kinds of protests going on, some of them related to the immolations, some of them not, but all of them clearly expressing unhappiness with Chinese government policies, indicates that this problem is getting worse and not better," she said.

Steve Marshall is a senior advisor for the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, who has spent more than two decades researching human rights violations in Tibetan areas of China. He says that what is happening in Tibetan areas, the protests this week and immolations, is a sign that things have already gotten out of control.

"I think things are already moving farther than Chinese authorities want them to be and they are becoming bigger. And certainly the methods that the Chinese security forces and government are using to deal with these protests are having exactly the opposite effect that the government would like," he said.

In addition to two protests that occurred in Tibetan areas of Sichuan Province on Monday and Tuesday sources tell VOA's Tibetan service that the authorities arrested at least eight men Tuesday in the Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of neighboring Sichuan's Qinghai Province. Sources say hundreds had rallied there to protest, demanding the withdraw of security and military forces that have been deployed around two monasteries in the area.

Earlier Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry played down the reports of protests Monday in Sichuan's Luhuo, but did confirm that one person was killed in the confrontation.

The ministry says reports of more than 30 shooting victims among several thousand Tibetan protesters who participated on Monday in Luhuo were, in his words, "hyped" (exaggerated).   

The U.S. State Department says it is seriously concerned about reports of violence and heightened tensions in Tibetan areas of China.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, "We have repeatedly urged the Chinese government to address its counterproductive policies in the Tibetan areas, which have created tensions and threaten the unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people."

The U.S. is also urging the Chinese government to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives and that they will raise the issue when China's Vice President Xi Jinping visits Washington next month.

China has refused to meet with representatives of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, and routinely blames him for orchestrating unrest in Tibetan areas of China from overseas. It has also branded those who have decided to burn themselves to death as terrorists.

Still, with the March anniversary of last year's first immolation on the horizon and the anniversary of widespread protests in 2008, which also began in March of that year, analysts say that over the next two months we may see dissent continue to grow and spread.

Again, Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch. "I think unfortunately we are going to see more immolations, more protests and more heavy-handed responses. It's up to the Chinese government, at this point, to uphold some very basic obligations under its own laws and under its international commitments to the right to peaceful protest to refraining from using lethal force," she said.

Tibetans who participated in demonstrations on Monday and Tuesday were said to be protesting the earlier arrests of some activists distributing pamphlets calling for Tibetan freedom from Chinese rule.  The pamphlets also warned that more Tibetans were ready to set themselves on fire to protest the Chinese crackdown.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs