School and public buildings carry notices of new "crimes"
As 20 year old Lhamo was sentenced to two years in prison in Rebkong, eastern Tibet last week, local authorities posted notices in schools and other locations, specifying activities relating to "Tibetan independence" they will treat as illegal.
"Tearing Chinese flag"
A number of people are reported to have been sentenced for crimes relating to Tibetan freedom in Rebkong but details for all cannot be confirmed. Lhamo was sentenced to 2 years in prison for allegedly tearing the Chinese flag and shouting Tibetan independence slogans during protests in his town.
He is currently held in Tongkor Labour Camp, one of the four largest labour camps in Siling, the provincial capital of Qinghai.
New crimes in Tibet
In the same area, authorities have posted the notices clarifying crimes relating to Tibetan independence. They include:
"To contact foreign separatist forces (groups). Providing videos and photos of the scene of self-immolations, people assembled at the scene, findings in the aftermath of the incident and secret information to the foreign separatist forces."
"To pray for the self-immolators and assist the foreign pro-Tibetan independence group by showing solidarity by burning incense, chanting religious scriptures, releasing animals from killing and lighting candles."
Among other places, the notices have been put up in Tongren County Middle School, whose students protested in 2012 against the replacement of textbooks written in Tibetan with others in Chinese.
Risks to Tibetans
Tibetans have always run grave risks to provide information to Tibetans in exile and organisations like Free Tibet regarding self-immolations. The notice provides further confirmation that even traditional signs of support and respect for the dead can now lead to criminal charges.
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