'China fails to address Tibetan grievances'

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 01, 2012 00:13 IST

The Chinese government has failed to address Tibetan grievances, a global rights group has said even as two more self-immolations followed by a military lockdown in a Tibetan-populated area were reported.

According to rights groups, two more Tibetans have burned themselves to death in protest against Chinese rule in Tibetan-populated areas in the Gansu province.

London-based Free Tibet said a large number of military vehicles were in Luchu County in the province following the protest of a 31-year-old Tibetan man, Tsering Tashi.

"Tsering Tashi set fire to himself in protest at China's policies in Tibet at approximately 2pm local time today near the government building of Zamtsa Township, Luchu County, Kanlho, Eastern Tibet (2); he died at the scene," the group said in a statement.

It also confirmed the "details of a protest that took place Thursday Tso City. Wande Khar, a Tibetan man in his early 20s, called for freedom in Tibet, for the release of political prisoners, for language and religious rights as he set fire to himself at approximately 7 pm last night."

The toll of self-immolations in Tibetan areas of China is now 89, rights group said.

Reacting to the cases, global human rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the rise in the burning protests highlights the failure of Chinese authorities to address Tibetan grievances.

In a statement, it said that Beijing's increasingly pervasive and punitive security measures in response to the protests have "exacerbated the situation" in Tibetan areas of China. 

"Self-immolation is an act of complete desperation to bring attention to the plight of Tibetans," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"Instead of stepping up repression and driving people to believe there is no hope of change, Beijing needs to take steps to respond to Tibetans' grievances."

The group said Beijing had authorised increasingly aggressive moves against both individual Tibetans and Tibetan communities where the self-immolations had taken place.

It added that since late October, officials have responded to the burning protests by punishing the families and communities of protestors, characterising immolations as criminal offenses, arresting those associated with the self-immolators, and by deploying paramilitary forces and restricting communications and travel in areas where the protests have occurred.

The group asked governments committed to promoting human rights to jointly urge the Chinese government to address Tibetan grievances. It suggested that they form a contact group or issue a joint statement on longstanding human rights problems in Tibet.


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