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)
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid