Tibetan school students carrying out a massive protest rally in Rebkong, eastern Tibet on November 9, 2012 demanding the Dalai Lama's return and freedom in Tibet.
DHARAMSHALA, December 30: The Malho region of eastern Tibet, which has been at the heart of the recent spike in self-immolation protests, continues to suffer further governmental restrictions.
According to the state-run, web-based Qinghai News
, in fresh measures, local Chinese authorities are increasing police and military patrol of public areas, aimed at keeping out foreigners from the Rebkong region, home to the restive Rongwo monastery. This move comes after foreign journalists from two media houses were recently able to gain rare access
to restricted areas in Tibet.
Citing the report, Huffington Post said that Chinese authorities, in order to “discourage” self-immolations, “will thoroughly account for inflammables, monitor residents and organise propaganda teams to condemn self-immolations.”
Authorities further plan to confiscate “illegal satellite dishes that allow local residents to receive anti-China programs from abroad, register every business that sells satellite signal receiving devices, and replace 3,000 television sets in monastery dormitories.”
In a separate report, Reuters noted that Chinese authorities have confiscated televisions from 300 monasteries and dismantled satellite equipment that broadcast "anti-China" programs.
"At this critical moment for maintaining social stability in Huangnan (Ch) prefecture ... (we must) strengthen measures and fully fight the special battle against self-immolations," the report cited the same article as saying.
Last month, Chinese authorities in Malho had announced
cash rewards for those “exposing crimes” related to the self-immolation protests and issued an ultimatum warning those who have “committed fault” to turn themselves in.
In February 2009, Tabey became the first known Tibetan inside Tibet to set himself on fire protesting China’s rule. Since then 95 Tibetans inside Tibet have self-immolated, demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile. The recent escalation in protests witnessed 28 self-immolations in the month of November and massive protests by thousands of Tibetans, including by school students.
Despite repeated international calls for restraint and reconsideration of its policies, China has hardened its stance on the self-immolation protests and announced stricter measures including pressing of murder charges
against anyone caught aiding or inciting self-immolations.