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

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora