News / Asia

Protests Follow Wave of Immolations in Tibetan Areas of China

William Ide

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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid