China cracks down after Tibetan self-immolations

The 33-year-old who died at the sceneis the 35th Tibetan to immolate since March last year

Beijing

Security forces have launched a renewed crackdown in Tibetan-dominated regions after three more people set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule, including a mother of three who self-immolated and died outside a monastery, activists said yesterday.

The 33-year-old women – named only as Rechok – set herself on fire outside the Jonang monastery in the Aba region of Sichuan province, which is dominated by ethnic Tibetans. She died at the scene, the advocacy group Free Tibet said, and her body was due to be cremated at the temple.

Rechok's death followed the self-immolations at the weekend of two men who set themselves alight in front of the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, sparking a massive security crackdown. Lhasa has been heavily guarded by Chinese police and soldiers since deadly anti-government protests in March 2008. Chinese authorities have branded the self-immolators "terrorists".

"We have reports of arbitrary detentions in the vast majority of places where there have been protests and self-immolations, and in many places there have been disappearances," said Harriet Beaumont, a spokesperson for Free Tibet.

Rechok becomes the 35th Tibetan to immolate since March last year to protest at the growing influence of Han China in the Tibetan plateau and to seek the return of the Dalai Lama, who fled in 1959 amid a failed uprising against Chinese rule. At least 27 of those who set themselves on fire have died.

Most of the immolations have taken place outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region, in Sichuan province, which has a sizeable Tibetan population, focused on two prefectures – Aba, which the Tibetans call Ngawa, and Ganzi, or Kardze in Tibetan. About one million Tibetans live in these areas.

Rechok's death adds to rising tensions focused on the month-long Saga Dawa holiday, one of Tibet's most important holidays. The festival itself falls on the 15th day of the fourth month of the Tibetan Calendar, which this year is 4 June, already a tense date as it is also marks the anniversary of the crackdown on Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Locals and many pilgrims from all over the region were rounded up and brought to detention centres around the city, while anyone not from Tibet has been expelled, the broadcaster Radio Free Asia said, estimating the number detained at about 600. Checkpoints manned by Chinese security forces have been set up at key areas near the Jokhang Temple.

Independent verification is difficult, as foreign journalists are not allowed into Tibet without special permission.

Recent developments have prompted Hao Peng, deputy party secretary in the Tibet Autonomous Region, to call on authorities to tighten their grip on communications, including the internet and mobile text messaging.

"Hao Peng stressed that... the trouble caused by the activities of the Dalai clique has persisted, and the situation for stability maintenance is still complicated and grim," the official Tibet Daily newspaper reported.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
News
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
news
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Graduate Recruitment Resourcers - Banking Technologies

£18000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Huxley Associates are looking...

Implementation Engineer

£150 - £200 per day: Orgtel: Implementation Engineer Hampshire / London (Gre...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Pharmacuetical

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Real Staffing, one of the UK'...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform