Clashes feared between Chinese security forces and Tibetan villagers following fifth self-immolation in 48 hours (1). TV announcements threaten to crush those who destroy stability in the region

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Paramilitary forces have been mobilised in Rebkong County to prevent local people from joining a large protest in Rongwo (2). The protest, involving several thousand people calling for freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama, began after an 18-year-old called Jinpa set fire to himself earlier today, at around 5pm local time.

Paramilitary trucks were seen heading towards Jinpa’s township, Dowa (3), as people from the township tried to get to Rongwo. Tamdin Tso, who set fire to herself yesterday (4), also came from Dowa Township. Local people fear that there will be clashes between the Chinese state security forces and the Tibetans.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

“We have grave concerns for the safety of the people of Rebkong County.

“In the days before the Congress, footage of security forces on training exercises has been broadcast across the region. Announcements saying that they are ready to do whatever it takes to crush those who are destroying stability in the region to ensure that the 18th Party Congress is not disrupted accompany the footage.

“Now those same forces are being deployed in Rebkong where thousands of Tibetans are gathered in peaceful protest. As Congress opens, China must be held accountable for its actions in Tibet.”

There are also reports from Rongwo that people have been threatened with two years’ imprisonment for receiving or making international calls. This would be consistent with the many state measures in place to prevent information about protests spreading inside Tibet or beyond its borders, including sentences of up to seven years for sharing information (5).

In a separate protest, students in Dowa Township pulled down the Chinese flag at their school and then went to the local government office where they took down another Chinese flag. Teachers have been unable to control the students and have asked their parents to collect them. The students are aged between 11 and 13.

Ends

Notes to Editors

1) Three teenage boys in self-immolation protest: http://freetibet.org/news-media/pr/first-triple-self-immolation-protest-tibet-15-and-16-year-old-boys-set-themselves-fire

Tibetan woman self-immolates on eve of Party Congress: http://freetibet.org/news-media/pr/tibetan-nomadic-woman-sets-fire-herself

2) Chinese: Tongren, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province.

3) Dong Nge Village, Dowa Township.

4) Tibetan woman self-immolates on eve of Party Congress: http://freetibet.org/news-media/pr/tibetan-nomadic-woman-sets-fire-herself

5) Seven year sentence for sharing information: http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/na/seven-year-sentence-sharing-information

6) Free Tibet press releases detailing recent protests: http://freetibet.org/news-media/press-releases

7) Full list of Tibetan self-immolations: http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/na/full-list-self-immolations-tibet

Free Tibet is an international campaigning organisation that stands for the right of Tibetans to determine their own future. We campaign for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for the fundamental human rights of Tibetans to be respected.

For interviews and further information please contact Free Tibet’s Director Stephanie Brigden:

E: stephanie@freetibet.org

M: +44 7951 479 515

S: stephaniefreetibet