Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

China Arrests 12 in Tibetan Area over Self-Immolation Protests

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

China Arrests 12 in Tibetan Area over Self-Immolation Protests

Article excerpt

The police in a restive Tibetan area have arrested 12 people and detained dozens more accused of playing a part in self-immolation protests against Chinese rule.

The police in a restive Tibetan area have arrested 12 people and detained dozens more accused of playing a part in self-immolation protests over Chinese rule, the state-run news media said on Thursday, pressing a propaganda campaign to ascribe the acts to a conspiracy inspired by the Dalai Lama.

The announcement of the arrests, in Qinghai Province, in western China, has come while the number of self-immolation protests reported in Tibetan parts over the past four years approach 100, a milestone that has appeared to spur on a campaign by the Chinese police and officials to deter such acts.

Xinhua, the state news agency, said that since November, the police in Huangnan, a heavily Tibetan prefecture of Qinghai, have formally arrested 12 suspects and detained 58 people over self- immolations in the area. The report did not specify who the suspects were, when they were held by the police, or the precise allegations against them.

But like other official Chinese reports on the self-immolations, it presented them as the outcome of plotting inspired by the Dalai Lama and groups outside China seeking to challenge the Communist Party's hold over Tibetan parts. The Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, has not made any explicit statements backing the acts, and his supporters have dismissed the accusations as groundless attempts to divert attention from the failings of Chinese rule.

The Xinhua report said the self-immolations were "incited by the Dalai's clique abroad and then implemented within the country, with photos and other personal information about the self-immolators then sent abroad to stir up attention."

Many of the Tibetan people who doused themselves in flammable liquid that was then ignited were troubled by emotional problems and failed relationships, the report said. "At the same time, a handful have been extreme nationalists who sympathized with the self- immolators, and then carried out self-immolations themselves to follow their example as so-called nationalist heroes," it said, citing the Qinghai police. …

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