News / Asia

Reward Posters Part of Beijing's Immolation Crackdown

A notice in Labrang by the Gannan Prefecture Public Security Department, Gansu Province, China. (Citizen journalist/VOA Tibetan)
A notice in Labrang by the Gannan Prefecture Public Security Department, Gansu Province, China. (Citizen journalist/VOA Tibetan)
Posters are going up in parts of China warning ethnic Tibetans against setting themselves on fire in protest and offering money in exchange for information.
 
The posters say police will pay $8,000 to anyone who provides information "on the people who plan, incite to carry out, control and lure people to commit self-immolation." The announcement promises a reward of about $30,000 to anyone who gives creditable information about the region's four most recent self-immolations.
 
Tibet Self-Immolation Map, October 23, 2012 updateTibet Self-Immolation Map, October 23, 2012 update
x
Tibet Self-Immolation Map, October 23, 2012 update
Tibet Self-Immolation Map, October 23, 2012 update
Authorities, the posters indicate, will keep secret the names of any informants and "be responsible for their security."
 
According to a full translation by the International Campaign for Tibet, the notices also decry self-immolation as "an extreme action against human beings, against society" and warns would-be protesters such actions "are ungrateful of how your parents raised you."
 
China has long-accused Tibetan exiles of self-immolating as part of a separatist struggle, denouncing them as terrorists.
 
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei again accused the Dalai Lama of inciting the deadly protests on Wednesday, saying it "is despicable and deserves the people's condemnation."
 
The Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile say they oppose all violence. According to Britain's The Guardian, Tibet's "government in exile" has recently issued a formal call to end self-immolations.
 
A recent spate of self-immolations
 
At least three Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese policies in the past five days, and six Tibetans have died in self-immolation protests this month.
 
On Tuesday, an older Tibetan man has set himself ablaze outside the military headquarters in Labrang, not far from the highly respected Labrang Monastery in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. His self-immolation came just one day after a 61-year-old farmer set himself on fire near the same monastery, which, located in China's northwestern Gansu province, was the scene of deadly protests against Chinese rule in 2008.
 
On Sept. 26, Gary Locke, U.S. State Department ambassador to China, visited two monasteries in Aba Prefecture of Sichuan Province, which has seen 26 of self-immolations since 2009.
 
At a U.S. State Department briefing Wednesday in Washington, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said she was not aware of the reward offer but expressed concern about the escalating tensions.
 
"We have consistently expressed our concern about the violence in the Tibetan areas, about the continuing pattern of self-immolations, heightened tensions in Tibet in general," she said. "We continue to both publicly and privately urge the Chinese government at all levels to address the underlying policies in Tibet that have created these tensions and which threaten the cultural heritage of the region."
 
Robert Barnett, director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia University in New York, says the immolations are worrisome.
 
"It does suggest that boiling point could be reached as all these things come together," he said, adding that it is difficult to determine the significance of the reward money. "If [Chinese officials] are moving to a stage where they think that the exiles are planning [the self-immolations] rather than just encouraging them, that would be a new development."
 
Barnett says there appears to be an element of fear about how the powerfully symbolic protests are spreading.
 
"I think [the pattern of self-immolations] is conceived as dangerous by the authorities," he said. "The fact that this movement is spreading further to the east, closer to the Chinese borders, into these populations where you have educated Tibetans — students, monks — who have a tradition of thinking for themselves, I think they may be concerned about this."
 
But the motivation to find and stop would-be protesters from setting themselves on fire, he cautions, may be genuinely humane. For all the brutality of the Chinese state, he said, officials honestly want to see an end to the tragic and horrifying suicides.
 
Since February of 2009, at least 58 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese policy in Tibet.  In 48 cases, the protesters have died.  And experts like Barnett note that the tone and tactics used by Chinese officials at a national level is not always reflected on the local level, where authorities tend to be more aggressive.
 
Such aggression has become increasingly visible.  Earlier this month, Chinese police in Nagchu town arrested about 30 people, including the uncle, sister and brother in-law of a 43-year-old man who set himself on fire in protest.
 
Activists have also accused Chinese security forces of killing a man to prevent him from setting himself on fire and bringing attention to Tibet's plight.
 
- VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns contributed to this report.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid