China

China’s bloody crackdown on Tibetan protesters escalates, as self-immolations continue

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Xeni Jardin (BoingBoing): Ethnic Tibetans throughout Tibet this week held some of the largest demonstrations against Chinese rule in four years. Chinese forces responded by shooting protesters. Up to 5 are said to have been killed and more than 30 wounded, according to Tibetan advocacy groups.

On January 9, a 42-year-old monk became the latest in a continuing string of desperate protesters who burned themselves alive to protest Chinese military rule and cultural repression.

A New York Times report gathered accounts from a number of human rights groups. NPR’s Morning Edition today aired an extensive report on the worsening human rights crisis in Tibet.

Details are hard to confirm, as foreign press access to the areas involved is all but impossible. Free Tibet has more, and Radio Free Asia has compiled various reports.

Dr. Lobsang Sangay of the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India, issued a statement on the conflict, published in video on YouTube (and embedded above). [YouTube account has since been terminated.]

 

I want to tell my dear brothers and sisters inside Tibet that we hear your cries loud and clear. We urge you not to despair and refrain from extreme measures. We feel your pain and will not allow the sacrifices you have made go in vain. You all are in our heart and prayers each and every day. (…)

To demonstrate our solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet, I urge Tibetans and our friends around the world, to participate in a worldwide vigil on Wednesday, February 8, 2012. Let’s send a loud and clear message to the Chinese government that violence and killing of innocent Tibetans is unacceptable! I request everyone to conduct these vigils peacefully, in accordance with the laws of your country, and with dignity.

The Chinese government responded to activist groups’ reports on one recent shooting incident with a statement blaming monks and protesters, saying they attacked stores and a police station, and started a riot.

“The mob, some armed with knives, threw stones at police officers and destroyed two police vehicles and two ambulances,” read the report from China’s official news agency Xinhua.

And there are reports of fresh protests again today, with more shootings. From an item at Phayul.com, posted just three hours ago:

In reports coming out of Tibet, another Tibetan was killed and several others seriously injured in police firings in eastern Tibet earlier today. This is the third bloody incident this week when unarmed Tibetan demonstrators have been fired upon by Chinese security personnel.

At around 12 noon local time, a Tibetan man named Tharpa put up signed flyers around Zu To Bharma Shang, declaring that until the demands of the Tibetans who have self-immolated are met, Tibetans will never abandon their struggle and continue to organise more campaigns.

Since March 2011, 16 Tibetans have set their bodies on fire demanding the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet.

In a release today, the exile base of Kirti monastery said that Tharpa had himself gone around the town putting up the flyers with his name clearly signed on it.

“You, Communist Chinese, come and arrest me,” Tharpa had challenged.

Following the wave of self-immolations, numerous flyers and pamphlets have been reportedly cited in Ngaba and Drango areas, stating that many more Tibetans were ready to set their bodies on fire.

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More monks die by fire in protest

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Sharon LaFraniere, New York Times: Three Tibetan monks in central China set themselves on fire this weekend, raising to 15 the number of suicides in the last year by Buddhist clergy members protesting aspects of Beijing’s rule in Tibet.

The deaths suggest that self-immolation is gaining favor as a form of political protest for Tibetan clergy. And they underscore the challenges the Chinese authorities face in controlling more than five million ethnic Tibetans living in what China calls the Tibet autonomous region and adjacent Sichuan and Qinghai Provinces.

China’s central government has cracked down hard on religious activism in Tibet since ethnic riots in 2008 killed 19 people, many …

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Vietnam’s Falun Gong under pressure

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Ian Timberlake, AFP News: In silent meditation, the Falungong members did not flinch when a shirtless, tattooed man slapped them on the head, or when a burly female security agent dragged a dried palm leaf across their faces.

Vietnamese practitioners of Falungong — a Buddhist-inspired traditional Chinese spiritual discipline practised in more than 70 countries.– say treatment like this has become routine. They say communist authorities in Hanoi have bowed to pressure from China, using police and hired thugs to harass, assault and detain members of the movement.

Their plight has been highlighted with the jailing by a Hanoi court in early November of two Vietnamese Falungong …

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Dalai Lama questions wisdom of self-immolations

BBC News: The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, says he is very worried about the growing number of monks and nuns setting themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet.

He told the BBC he was not encouraging such actions – saying there was no doubt they required courage, but questioning how effective they were.

There have been 11 cases of self-immolation so far this year.

Most have resulted in death – the latest a 35-year-old nun two weeks ago.

The BBC has obtained graphic footage of the moment she set herself alight, prompting horrified cries from onlookers. Later, Chinese security forces flooded …

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Viet Nam: Falun Gong practitioners detained over meditation protest

Mariah Jen: The beating and arrest of at least 30 peaceful Falun Gong demonstrators outside the Chinese embassy in Hanoi yesterday is an unacceptable violation of freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today.

The demonstrators were protesting the trial and mistreatment of two local Falun Gong broadcasters, Vu Duc Trung (right, wearing white shirt)) and Le Van Thanh (behind, center), who had worked for the movement’s radio station The Sound of Hope. The trial of Vu and Le is due to take place on Thursday.

“The repression of these Falun Gong practitioners by the Vietnamese authorities is a violation of their rights to freedom …

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Another Tibetan nun dies by self-immolation in China

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Andrew Jacobs, New York Times: A Buddhist nun in southwest Sichuan Province died Thursday after setting herself on fire, becoming the 11th Tibetan to embrace a grisly protest against Chinese rule and at least the sixth to die doing so.

The death of the nun, Qiu Xiang, 35, was reported by Xinhua, the official news agency, and confirmed by exile groups, who gave her Tibetan name as Palden Choetso. She was the second nun in the predominantly Tibetan region to take her own life by self-immolation.

Like two previous cases, the most recent suicide took place in Ganzi Prefecture, known as Kardze in Tibetan, which is the site …

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Tenth Tibetan reported to self-immolate in anti-China protest

A Tibetan monk in western China’s Sichuan province set himself on fire on Tuesday to express opposition to China’s Tibet policies, becoming the 10th Tibetan this year to self-immolate as a form of political protest, an outside advocacy group reported.

The group, Free Tibet, based in London, said the self-immolation occurred outside a monastery in Garze, which is known as Kandze in Tibetan, and that the monk’s identity, condition and whereabouts were not known. The group did not explain how it had obtained the information.

Garze is about 100 miles south of Aba, or Ngaba, where eight of the other nine self-immolations have taken …

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Study Points to heavy-handed repression of Tibetan area in China

Edward Wong: The rise in anti-Chinese tensions and protests in a restive Tibetan region of Sichuan Province, including a startling wave of monk self-immolations, has taken place in the aftermath of sharp increases in the security budget for the area, which indicates the conflict is partly a result of heavy-handed tactics by the local security forces, according to an assessment by Human Rights Watch.

The Tibetan region, Aba prefecture, has been in the spotlight recently because six of seven self-immolations by monks in Sichuan this year have taken place there, in or around the Kirti Monastery. The monks all set themselves on fire to…

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South Africa denies visa to Dalai Lama

The government of South Africa has refused to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama, who has been forced to cancel a trip there to celebrate the 80th birthday of fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Tibetan leader was supposed to be visiting South Africa this Thursday.

According to the Dalai Lama’s office, visa applications were submitted to the South African High Commission in New Delhi at the end of August and original passports were submitted on 20th September, but nothing was subsequently heard.

According to the New York Times, Cosatu, a powerful coalition of trade unions, criticized the South African government for allowing China to influence South Africa’s foreign policy.

However, the government has denied that it was under pressure from China to block the visit. Beijing regards the Dalai Lama as a “splittist,” although his position is that Tibet should have greater autonomy within China, not that it should gain independence.

The Vancouver Sun points out that China is South Africa’s biggest trading partner.

The Dalai Lama was also to have been awarded the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation. As a young man, Gandhi worked as a lawyer in South Africa, where first employed non-violent civil disobedience as in support of the civil rights movement there.

Additionally, he was to give a talk at the University of the Witwatersrand.

“We would encourage the South African government not to silence the voice of the Dalai Lama. We should welcome the opportunity to host him in South Africa and we should allow all voices to be heard in our democracy – a right for which we have fought with our lives,” Loyiso Nongxa, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University, said in a statement.

The Dalai Lama had previously been refused a visa in 2009, according to Rediff News.

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Two Tibetan monks set themselves on fire in protest

Edward Wong: Two young Tibetan monks set themselves on fire on Monday at an embattled monastery in western China to protest Chinese policies in the area, according to a Tibet advocacy group. The monks were apparently taken to a hospital, and it was unclear what condition they were in on Monday night.

The monastery, Kirti, in a remote area of Sichuan Province, has been the site of at least four recent self-immolations, including the two on Monday.

The latest monks to set themselves on fire were Lobsang Kalsang and Lobsang Konchok, both estimated to be 18 or 19, according to Free Tibet, the advocacy group, which…

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